8 Tips for a Heartburn-Free Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, a joyous time when families come together to give thanks and celebrate the coming year. But it's also a time when food temptations are at their peak.

According to the Calorie Control Council (an organization representing the makers of low-calorie foods), the average American will consume a whopping 4,500 calories—nearly three times the daily amount recommended for most adults—and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day.

Because every bite of food touches off a simultaneous release of hormones, chemicals, and digestive juices, eating large meals at one sitting causes the body to work harder. For example, the average meal takes between one and three hours to leave the stomach, but a large meal can take as many as eight to twelve hours.

Those generous helpings of turkey, stuffing, gravy, candied sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie can all conspire to set up a constellation of gastric problems.

By following these smart strategies you'll still enjoy the day, but you'll be much less likely to feel the bloat:

  • Eat a small, healthy breakfast and lunch. You'll feel more satisfied, so you'll be less tempted to overeat at dinner.
  • Limit your portion size. This is especially helpful to avoid heartburn, particularly with foods that have high fat content.
  • Remove the skin from your turkey portion before eating.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Chew your food slowly. This will help you to realize when you're full. 
  • Use smaller serving spoons and plates. One research study found that the bigger the bowl and serving spoon, the more ice cream people ate. Using a smaller sized plate will give the illusion of eating more than you actually are, and you'll be less likely to overeat,
  • Rather than deny yourself your favorite foods, limit the amount of each item to a spoonful or two instead. You'll feel satisfied without being stuffed.
  • If you do have a bout of indigestion, drinking a cup of ginger tea can help soothe your symptoms.

Following these tips will not only help you enjoy Thanksgiving Day, they'll keep you from packing on holiday pounds.