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Best way to prepare stomach and self for huge evening meal?

I've been thinking about this issue because the time of year where we are endlessly assaulted with gargantuan celebratory meals is almost upon us.

If you have a big meal coming up that evening, conventional wisdom would dictate that you eat very sparingly during the day, right?

So it's weird when one reads about competitive eaters doing anything BUT fasting before taking on 60+ hot dogs...

Personally, I feel it's better to eat normally during the day, otherwise, for whatever reason, your stomach shrinks and you get full after the first few bites. Anything afterwards is torture.

The period in my life when I was really taking down the vastest quantities of food was when I was living in Burgundy and making frequent trips to Alsace. I would be served these 8-course Sunday lunches that lasted nearly 5 hours, and miraculously be able to have several slices of pizza for dinner - and being in France, we were often eating cream/bacon/potato pizzas (some kind of Tarte Flambee/Pizza abberation, I guess). I guess the long, slow, heavy meal prepared my stomach for more than I ever thought I could eat in one day.

So, what are your tricks for prepping your stomach for the holiday season? To fast or not to fast?

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  1. I find when I eat breakfast (something I do rarely), I'm hungrier come lunchtime. Stimulating the metabolism, I guess.

    I don't plan to starve myself Thursday -- I think we're eating at 2:30, so I'll have a light lunch/brunch around 11ish, maybe sandwiches or eggs.

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      1. Not to fast. Definitely. I find when I eat a lot less than normal in anticipation for a big meal, I just end up overcompensating when the meal comes and end up being way too full. And if I really cut back, sometimes I will end up feeling a little sick because my blood sugar has dropped too low. So that's no way to prep for a big meal.

        I try to eat sensibly (but just little lighter than normal) during the day and avoid anything too fatty/sugary/rich. With an evening meal, I'll have something like oatmeal or cereal for breakfast (with perhaps some turkey bacon for protein) and a sandwich for lunch. Between lunch and dinner I'll have something like an apple or granola bar - or even a bowl of cereal - so I'm not completely starving before dinner.

        I've found this approach has kept me full enough throughout the day but not so much that I've gone overboard with calories so I have plenty of room to indulge.

        1. yes eat a light, preferably whole grain based breakfast. you can also munch on candied ginger & make sure you are well-hydrated BEFORE you eat the meal-- i always eat more meat during family holidays & it helps my system deal with richer-than-normal foods that otherwise might make me sick

          1. "being in France, we were often eating cream/bacon/potato pizzas (some kind of Tarte Flambee/Pizza abberation, I guess)."

            I forget the name, but isn't that also a Swiss thing, or maybe from the Rhone-Alpes region?

            3 Replies
            1. re: Peter Cherches

              it's hardly an aberration. in germany and alsace they call it "flammekuchen", and when well-made it is delicious.

              1. re: hotoynoodle

                Flammekuchen IS tarte flambee (note the cognates).

                I'm saying the combination is an abberation - it was on pizza dough, with tomato sauce and mozarella IN ADDITION to the classic tarte flambee stuff, as well as potatoes, which I don't think are traditional on flammekuchen at all.

                1. re: frenetica

                  lol, ok, that IS an aberration. sounds like drunk food. :)