8 Expert Tips to Beat the Thanksgiving Bloat

Enjoy the best family dinner of the year, but avoid the common side effect of swollen abdomen


Bloating is a common problem for adults as well as children. The condition often prevents people from engaging in fun activities or even be “good at life,” even though it is not permanent. A lot of times the culprit is your diet, and Thanksgiving is the day when everyone feels the pain.

For foods nutritionists will never eat on Thanksgiving, click here

The uncomfortable state of excess gas building up in the digestive tract is sometimes goes away when you wake up the next morning and your belly is flat again. Stomach gas is more than an inconvenience when you can’t zip your jeans; it is often painful.  

If you don’t want to feel sick for hours or even days, it’s important to keep a few tips in mind.

Put food on a smaller plate

“One of the ways to not overeat is to eat from a smaller plate,” Certified Nutrition Consultant Diane Sanfilippo and bestselling author of Practical Paleo says.

For 20 surprising ways to eat healthy, click here

“We tend to fill whatever bowl or platter we have with food.” If that item is smaller, you’ll be putting, and consuming, less food.

Eat a salad before the meal

The other way you can prevent yourself from eating more than you should is by having a salad or some vegetables before the turkey and mashed potatoes, Sanfilippo says. You will be half-full with “the good stuff” before you consume anything else. Eating more vegetables will help you increase your intake of both unsaturated fats and fiber, nutrients that support better overall health and even weight loss.

Avoid gluten

Some people need to always avoid gluten. Even people who don’t have food allergies should reconsider eating bread, rolls, or cake, Sanfilippo adds. Distension doesn’t always mean big belly. It can also be excessive burping, flatulence (too much gas) or gurgles. Gluten sensitivity can be the reason for the problem.

Skip the soda

“What I really like to do is get sparkling water and add a splash of cranberry juice for a bit of color,” Sanfilippo says.

For what happens to your body when you stop drinking soda, click here

This mix doesn’t have a lot of sugar, keeps you hydrated, and has a sweet taste as opposed to plain ol’ water.

Consider probiotics

They can be really helpful, Sanfilippo says, but don’t take them if you’ve never tried them before. Natural probiotics are found in the body. Probiotics help balance the good and bad bacteria in the body. The good bacteria are essential for many bodily functions, including the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients.

Try ginger or mint tea

Studies have found that ginger, peppermint and fennel tea really help with digestion, Sanfilippo adds. They can also help with preventing cravings (like the dessert you’re inevitable are going to want to have).

For 12 ways to eat dessert and not gain weight, click here

Peppermint has menthol, which suppresses the muscles of the digestive tract. Ginger has gingerols and shogaols, two chemicals that relax the intestinal track and ease any irritation.

Watch the sodium intake

The best way to consume less salt on Thanksgiving is by eating homemade food, Sanfilippo says. Sodium leads to fluid retention (because it’s trying to prevent dehydration) and a desire to drink more water – bad combination for a swollen belly.

For foods that are surprisingly high in salt, click here

Whatever came from a can or a box is going to have a lot more sodium because that’s what preserves the food for a long time. Even the stuffing is often packaged.

Avoid carbs before the big meal

Some people have trouble digesting carbs. Pasta, cereal, white rice and bread are rich on carbs. Because of that, eating more of them causes your body to store more water, leading to the uncomfortably full belly, Sanfilippo says. Stay away from crackers, chips, and pre-packaged food, she adds.

More readings:

The 15 Worst Drinks for Your Body

14 Foods That Are Aging You

Best and Worst Foods for Brain Health