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Ezra Klein Explains Thanksgiving For You

By Lady Bird November 25, 2009

My pretend boyfriend, Ezra Klein, has a smart piece today about—stick with me here—the behavioral economics of Thanksgiving.

Basically, Klein argues that we can control what we eat at Thanksgiving—and how much—by planning for our (predictable) irrationality beforehand, while we're still feeling rational. Start with a soup course (what economists refer to as a "default"), limit the total number of courses ("variety stimulates appetite"), and make all the food at home (economists attribute the obesity epidemic, in part, to the rise in food we don't make for ourselves).
What you eat, of course, is also important. Studies show that people aren't very consistent in the amount of calories they eat each day, but they're very consistent in the volume of food they eat each day. Thanksgiving is an exception to that consistency, but probably not to the underlying rule. Satisfaction doesn't depend on caloric intake; low-calorie, high-fiber foods and foods high in water content are filling. Thus, the more broccoli rabe there is at the table, the better.

Read the whole thing here.
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