Making the Rounds on Thanksgiving

Time management is key to a successful Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving no longer serves as a time families can peacefully get together, sit down at a table, and give thanks. Nowadays, it's more like competing in the food Olympics.

We've got divorced parents and grandparents, we've got significant others, and we've even got close friends who we all want to spend time with on this food-filled holiday. Unfortunately, there aren't enough hours in the day to hit each and every household with equal attention.

Two years in a row I hit up three different houses for food feasts. While it sounds fabulous in theory, it's actually time consuming and utterly exhausting. One Thanksgiving crawler, Florida International University Senior Charlie Grau, is planning a three-round feast on T-Day. Grau, 24, is visiting his girlfriend's house at 2 p.m., his Dad at 5 p.m., and his Mom at 8 p.m. Why all three?

"My parents are divorced, so I wanted to spend time with both of them," he said. "I also want to be able to spend time with my girlfriend, so this was the only way possible to spend time with them all."

Spending extra time doesn't necessarily mean expanding the stomach past all limitations. How does he do it?

"The more meals you have throughout the day speeds up your metabolism," he says. "I'm going to be eating full meals, just not a lot at each meal."

That's a convenient strategy. We all know that by house three, you'll be barely be crawling, let alone able to comprehend what to put in your mouth. Portion control is the absolute key to successfully conquering the Thanksgiving crawl. Take that into consideration and these tips if you're house-hopping this turkey day.

1. Who's got the goods? Not every household makes everything spectacular. Think of what is good at each place, and eat small or medium-sized portions. Does your Grandma make amazing stuffing? Does your girlfriend's Dad kick ass at deep-frying a turkey? Does your Mom make the best pumpkin pie? Weigh your options (literally) and don't take everything from the first place. You'll not only insult houses two and three, but you'll also be waddling like an Oompa Loompa.

2. Walking is not for the weak. In fact, it may be good for your mental state, too. While the day is made for spending time with your family, you may want to take a 15-20 minute stroll around the block after each meal. Take a buddy with you. Grau says he may not head around the block, but he will stretch and exercise the limbs. "You can't just sit around afterwards, it's not good for you." You'll ease the digestion and prepare yourself for extra rounds.

3. Do the Dessert. And you don't have to wait until the end of the meal. In my family, dessert is anticipated more than the turkey because there's only one bird, but six different desserts. If your first household is the dessert destiny, take advantage of it. Grau says one of his favorite parts of the holiday is pumpkin pie. Keep in mind that it's not always about turkey and stuffing.

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