Why You Shouldn’t Fast Before Thanksgiving Dinner

This is how to set yourself up for success, according to science.

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Everyone knows that Thanksgiving can be a major (did we say major?) calorie splurge. The average American eats around 4,500 calories throughout the entire day. (Here are tips to make your Thanksgiving dinner a little healthier.)

With that big meal on the horizon, you might be tempted to prepare by fasting all morning. Sure, you’ll skip out on your breakfast calories, but the math on this is not quite so simple.

Studies show that eating breakfast actually results in fewer calories eaten throughout the day.

What kind of breakfast should you grab on Turkey Day to keep your calorie budget in line? The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends a high-fiber breakfast full of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. This not only keeps you full, but also keeps calories on the low side. (Learn more about the amazing benefits of fiber here.)

A 2015 study by researchers at Columbia University Medical Center found that participants who ate oatmeal in the morning (a high-fiber, low-calorie breakfast) ate fewer calories at lunch than those who ate corn flakes for breakfast (a high-carb, low-fiber option).

The goal is to avoid going into your Thanksgiving meal feeling ravenous, which can lead to overeating. It might even be a psychological trick: By skipping breakfast, you’re basically accepting and giving yourself permission to feast.

A simple option would be an apple or banana with peanut butter (which is perfect if you’re in a hurry to get that pumpkin pie whipped up). But you can also try green smoothies, veggie-packed omelets, or an easy fruit salad. Here’s a low-calorie green smoothie that’s just right.