This week is Thanksgiving and you know what that means … lots of delicious food and time with family and friends. I love the holidays and the next month is filled with fun activities, birthdays and celebrations. Thanksgiving is a great time to kick off this festive time of year and enjoy some amazing food along the way.
I have posted in previous years about tips and tricks to help make healthier choices this holiday season. Last year’s post was focused around an article that I read in the New York Post about Thanksgiving favorites. The year before that I read a handout from MyPlate and put together some Healthier Holiday Options blog post. It did a similar topic in 2015 as well and enjoyed providing some recommendations on how to stay on track on Thanksgiving. So if any of those topics sound interesting check out those previous posts!
Lots of years I feel like the mantra around the holidays and trying to be healthy is negative. Lots of time I feel like we hear what to avoid and what not to do. I don’t love that message. I think that we should focus on what Thanksgiving is about - being grateful for what we have and getting to celebrate those blessings with our loved ones.
A Grateful Look at Eating Healthy this Thanksgiving
So much food! This is often what people find the most overwhelming and as the main stumbling block starting here in November with Thanksgiving …. there is so much food that we love to eat. I say we celebrate that fact. We have lots of food. That is such a blessing. Lots of people all over the world and even in our country struggle with food insecurity. They don’t know where their next meal will come from. On this day, we sit down to a huge table, filled with food and we celebrate having plenty. This tradition has been passed down from the pilgrims. This one day we take what we have and we share it and we enjoy it. I think we focus on the fact that we enjoy this day and all that comes with it. This isn’t to say that you stuck yourself to bursting, but enjoy your holiday favorites. If you really enjoy pumpkin pie or homemade mash potatoes, then get a serving of those favorite foods and savor every, single bite. The other amazing part to Thanksgiving is the left overs. This is another opportunity to share the bounty that we all have with others. If you know of a family or individual who would benefit from a home cooked meal, take some of those left overs to them. That is a great way to get to show others some love and demonstrate the mantra of the holiday.
Mandatory family time. Some times the pressure to see family and friends or the disappointment of missing that opportunity is stressful for people. Instead of focusing on how much of an inconvenience it is to see family or travel to a different city, take this chance to appreciate the fact that you have loved ones who want to see you and spend time with you. There are lots of people who don’t have those special people in their lives and having this expectation to see family and friends should be celebrated and looked at as a positive thing. Yes, it means giving up something, traveling and taking time away from what you might want to do, but it is means so much to see those people who you love and care for.
Chance to give back. I love working to give back during the holidays and it all starts with Thanksgiving. There are so many different ways to volunteer at a food pantry, serve a Thanksgiving meal, participate in a run/walk event where the proceeds goes to a food pantry or homeless shelter. There are countless ways to share some of the blessings you have with others. I think we sometimes question if there is still good people wanting to help one another in the world and I think the answer if yes. Take this Thanksgiving as an opportunity to show others how you care and want to help and support your community. We have so much and being able to share a small piece or part of that with others is a great experience. One of the traditions that my family has done for the last 5 years is participating in the Broad Ripple Drumstick Dash. My parents and I have been going and we love being able to exercise in the morning and then encourage our feast later in the day. We have enjoyed being able to involve our other family members (my husband, our son, my cousin and other friends). This is a great way to exercise, be active and then support a local food pantry.
Enjoy your Thanksgiving and the start to the holiday season. Try not to stress about all the food, but embrace the day and enjoy, in moderation these amazing foods. Find some ways to give back to your community and show love to your neighbor. Being thankful for all the the blessings of the season.