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Two years ago I did a bit of research on how to eat responsibly at Thanksgiving thanks to a writing assignment for the Health Journal of “Ladies’ Home Journal.” After interviewing Ruth Frechman, Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, and Joy Bauer of Joy Bauer Nutrition, here’s what I wrote:

Did the food coma from last year’s Thanksgiving feast have you too tired to help with the dishes afterward? That’s not your imagination. According to Ruth Frechman, Spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, gorging yourself during the holidays can have physiological and psychological effects. “After you eat a large meal, less blood goes to your brain and more blood goes to your stomach to start the digestion process,” she says.

As a result you feel more tired, especially if you’ve eaten more than usual. Loaded plates and excess calories can also trigger acid reflex problems and can cause insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. Psychologically, a person who overeats at the start of the holiday could easily abandon all dietary discipline, starting the new year in a size bigger than before the turkey feast. “Once you start overeating for special occasions, it’s harder to get used to eating less later,” says Frechman.

However, with a little planning, you can avoid the holiday bulge without feeling deprived of your favorite foods. Joy Bauer, Founder of Joy Bauer Nutrition (www.joybauernutrition.com) offers these helpful hints:

1) Forgo the appetizers and munch on crudités.

2) Load your plate with white meat turkey and vegetables.

3) Pick one to two heaping tablespoons of a yummy, decadent side dish (mashed potatoes, candied sweet potatoes, or whatever else is your favorite). Meals that are heavy on carbohydrates tend to leave you feeling super bloated.

4) Pick one dessert, or go half on two. Or, if you’re strong enough, stop at a taste and pile on the fruit.

5) Always have a club soda in hand (alcoholic beverages can put on the pounds).

6) Hang out with the talkers, not the eaters.

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