The Dark Side of Thanksgiving

Learn about the effects of overeating on Thanksgiving, and how to prevent these or get some yummy, healthy alternatives to Thanksgiving classics.


Zoe Sauger, Editor-In-Chief

Thanksgiving has been an American tradition since the Plymouth pilgrims and the Indians shared an autumn feast in 1621. They spent three days celebrating the first successful harvest. This feast soon became a tradition for all Americans. Although Thanksgiving has changed from what the pilgrims and Indians celebrated, it now represents a plethora of food and, for many people, a cheat day. It is quite fitting that Thanksgiving is the most popular holiday in America since it is all about FOOD. Thanksgiving foods are extremely unhealthy, however,  and most people end up overeating. This large amount of food has most people in a food coma by the end of the big day. However, there might be some ways to prevent the food baby and still enjoy an amazing dinner.

It is common to overeat, especially in the average American diet. However, on Thanksgiving, the overeating goes to the extreme and almost everyone becomes a victim. But, what exactly happens to your body when you eat too much? First of all, your stomach has special muscles that tell your brain to stop eating. The only problem is that your brain can over rule what your stomach is telling you and tell your mouth to keep eating. This is because your taste buds send messages to your brain about how good the food is and your body wants the taste to never stop, hence you keep eating. This is even worse on Thanksgiving because there’s so much food on the table to eat and all of it looks delicious (mostly). When you don’t listen to the muscles telling you to stop eating, your stomach begins to stretch to make the room for the extra food. You could also call this ‘the forming of the food baby.’ However, most doctors say that if you do this only a couple times a year you should be fine and it shouldn’t have any long term effect on your body.

Even if you still plan to overeat this Thanksgiving, there might be some healthy alternatives to prevent the tiredness and heaviness you feel after eating the grand dinner. One trick is to put more vegetables on the table, but don’t over season them with butter and salt. Leave them natural and maybe put a little bit of pepper on them. When your mind sees more vegetables you’re more likely to eat them and it would actually benefit you from getting all the extra nutrients. I know frying the Turkey is a big ordeal that has become a tradition for many families, but try to just cook it the classic way. It would still be as good, especially if you make herb roasted turkey. What about the appetizers? Try some butternut squash soup or, my personal favorite, sweet potato soup. I made this soup myself and it came out absolutely delicious. It not only makes the perfect Thanksgiving soup but also a perfect fall soup (I will have the recipe at the end of the article). Although, there may still be some things you have to keep classic like the mashed potatoes and bread rolls.

Overall when I asked people how they felt about eating healthier alternatives to the Thanksgiving classics, most of them said they would prefer the Thanksgiving classics. Lizzie Sleight (grade 9) said, “I would prefer to have the normal Thanksgiving classics over a healthier option.” For most people, Thanksgiving is a holiday spent on giving thanks to people and having amazing food whether it’s healthy or not. Haley Longfellow (grade 9) said, “Personally I enjoy eating healthy foods and I find them just as yummy as the other foods. However, for Thanksgiving I think that it is important to stick with classic things to continue traditions.” I think Thanksgiving will always be a cheat day, but we should try to put healthier choices on the table and try not to overeat too much.. However, we should remember what Thanksgiving is about and be thankful we can have food on the table and for family and friends.

Sweet Potato soup recipe-


1 yellow onion

3 yams

2 tsp chilli powder

1 tsp italian seasoning

1 can chicken broth

1 can corn

1 can black beans

1 can pinto beans

2 cans diced tomatoes


Dice onions and yams

Sauté onions with a little bit of broth and add cilli powder and italian seasoning

In a large pot put diced yams and rest of chicken broth and enough water to cover the yams

Let boil till yams are soft

Add corn/beans/tomatoes

Let sauté together and marinate until finished (about 30 mins)