‘Tis the season for being merry and bright. Dashing through the snow. Roasting chestnuts on an open fire. And … over-eating?
In some quadrants, the fear of packing on extra pounds over the holidays, typically Thanksgiving through New Year’s, has all but overtaken the season. I’m reading all kinds of posts screeching about The Dreaded Holiday Flab Factor. How we’re all gonna die from the Thanksgiving Day feast wherein otherwise responsible adults suddenly throw common sense to the wind and over-indulge like there’s no tomorrow.
Hate to rain on anyone’s stuffing here, but I’m pretty sure there is a tomorrow. So be responsible. While you’re at it, relax. Savor the sights, smells and tastes of the season. Cherish time with family and friends. Have fun and Enjoy. The. Meal. Put calorie-counting on hold this once. Add a few more laps or some additional time in the gym next week.
Kindly note that I’m not talking about using Thanksgiving as an excuse to go all Porky Pig. Wanton over-eating just because It’s There. Or wholesale gluttony. I’m talking about focus. Perspective.
Why? Because Thanksgiving is about a whole lot more than counting calories! It’s a day for remembering. Counting blessings. Sharing memories. Laughter. Good food. Connecting.
Thanksgiving is best when it’s shared. Like around a table filled with family and/or friends, groaning with goodness. Mom’s secret stuffing add-ins. Grandma’s homemade dinner rolls or cranberry sauce. A turkey roasted to a delectable golden brown. Pies that would give Marie Callendar a run for her money.
If you’re fixated on gaining a few extra pounds this Thursday, you’re missing the point.
Meanwhile, there are ways you can eat sensibly on Thanksgiving Day and still enjoy your meal. Most are easy and common sense:
- Using lemon juice instead of butter to baste your turkey
- Steaming vegetables rather than frying or sautéing in butter
- Drinking low fat egg nog instead of the “fully leaded” variety
- Replacing sour cream or mayo as a base for your dip with non-fat plain yogurt.
- Serving fruit and/or veggie platters instead of chips as appetizers or snacks
We prefer Martinelli’s non-alcoholic sparkling cider as our beverage of choice for Thanksgiving. It comes in a variety of flavors, including traditional apple, white grape, apple cranberry, and even strawberry daiquiri.
Again, please note that I am not encouraging pigging out from November through New Year’s. Cuz frankly, that’s just silly. Go that route and your jeans will kick you when the apple drops on January 1. The point here is perspective, okay? Like:
If a loved one feels s/he has to leave early because s/he is worried about “eating too much,” they’re missing the point. If the light goes out of grandma’s eyes when you refuse her homemade rolls because you’re more worried about your carb intake than her feelings, you’re still missing the point.
When it’s all said and done, how many people reach the end of their life and say, “I wish I hadn’t had that last slice of pie with grandma the Thanksgiving before she passed away. But I saved at least 500 calories!” Or, “We should’ve served arugula instead of roast turkey for Thanksgiving. Sure, the kids hated it, but think of how many pounds we avoided!”
Thanksgiving Day is meant to be enjoyed, not endured. So keep food in proper perspective. As in, make it play second fiddle to your relationships and loved ones. Hold hands around the table. Give thanks. Remember. And if you want an extra slice of grandma’s pumpkin pie, go for it.
When it comes to Thanksgiving, a little perspective can go a long way. Be sensible. Make healthy choices. But don’t miss the goodness and grace of a shared Thanksgiving feast because you’re worried about a few extra pounds. In other words, let’s not put higher premiums on counting calories than on counting blessings. Agreed?