Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday of the year — we take a week off from classes to feast on turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and the likes. It’s a chance to eat as much homemade food as possible. But don’t let the sweet temptation of a home-cooked meal trick you into overeating. A stomach ache is nothing to be thankful for. If you don’t want to end Thanksgiving night throwing back Tums and feeling as stuffed as a turkey, follow these tips:

1. Eat a Healthy Breakfast

Think starving yourself all day prior to a huge Thanksgiving dinner is necessary? Think again. Obviously everything tastes much better when you’re really hungry, but this will slow down your metabolism throughout the day and lead to a Thanksgiving binge. If you start the day with a healthy, satisfying breakfast, you will have more control over your appetite when dinner rolls around. Have something with protein and fiber, like egg whites with veggies and a slice of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Not an egg fan? Stick with a bowl of whole grain cereal and a side of fresh fruit.

Turkey Day

Photo by Hannah Lin

2. Exercise

Go for a run before dinner to burn a few extra calories. The shot of endorphins will make your indulgent meal even better. After you work out, your body will be ready to tackle that turkey, and your metabolism will be powered up. If there is a Turkey Day 5k in a nearby city, sign up to run with some friends or family.

Turkey Day

By Danny Schuleman

3. Portion Control

If you can’t decide whether you want pumpkin or pecan pie, have both. But instead of having two average slices opt for a sliver of each. This rule applies to more than just dessert — if you put the correct portions of food on your plate at the beginning of the meal, you can better control the amount you eat. A 4-ounce portion of turkey, which is equivalent in size to a deck of cards, contains more than half of the recommended daily amount of protein. A portion of stuffing, a Thanksgiving staple, should be the size of a bar of soap. Although cranberry sauce is one of the sweetest parts of Thanksgiving dinner, don’t exceed a 1/2-cup serving, which is the amount that would fit in the palm of your hand.

Turkey Day

Photo courtesy of

4. Cut Food into Small Bites

According to a study conducted by researchers at Arizona State University, chopping food into tiny pieces will slow down your eating and make you feel fuller faster. Plus, the extra time will allow you to really savor each bite.

Turkey Day

Photo by Maddy Shannon

5. Pace Yourself

What’s the rush? Your food is not going anywhere (unless a pesky cousin tries to take a forkful off your plate). According to nutritionist and author Keri Glassman, your body needs about twenty minutes to realize it’s full. If you eat too quickly, your brain may not have enough time to receive signals that your stomach has had enough. A recent study found that people who slowed down while eating felt more satisfied earlier on in the meal. So don’t scarf down your food (side note: it’s not very attractive either) and put your fork down while you chew.

If you follow these 5 tips, I promise you will be extra thankful in the morning!