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    How to have a healthier Thanksgiving feast

    It’s not the turkey that makes you sleepy—it’s the calories. Experts share how to get the most nutrition out of your meal.

    Published November 21, 2022

    10 min read

    For many people, the Thanksgiving feast is marked by overindulgence, with the goal being to eat, drink, and be merry; the downside is that gluttonous feeling that sets in shortly after. But that isn’t because the featured foods are inherently unhealthy. On the contrary, many are loaded with health-promoting nutrients. It’s what people add—fat, sugar, salt, and cream—that tips them into the less-healthy zone. After all, consuming these ingredients in excess can clog the arteries, raise blood pressure, and send blood sugar soaring.

    Plus, the sheer number of dishes typically included can set the stage for overeating. “People think it’s the tryptophan from the turkey that makes them sleepy, but it’s the 4,000 calories you consumed in 30 minutes that puts you in that food coma,” says Keith Ayoob, a registered dietitian-nutritionist at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. “It doesn’t have to be a gargantuan meal.”

    Indeed, there are lots of ways you can maximize the meal’s nutritional value and enjoyment—without ending the day feeling overstuffed. Here’s how to navigate the mainstays of the meal.

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