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I grew up in England, and coming to the United States my first Thanksgiving was a little overwhelming. I knew something of the history of Thanksgiving, but was unprepared for the Thanksgiving feast. My husband’s family was very large, whereas I came from a small family and growing up in England meal times, including the seasonal celebrations — Christmas, New Year — were very quiet and traditional for the most part.
When I experienced my first Thanksgiving in the United States, I was amazed at the amount of food that was being prepared and served, and how much was eaten and how quickly it was eaten! I find that at Thanksgiving people love to eat, to the point where they may feel cheated if they don’t feel stuffed at the end of the meal. Indulgence, even gluttony, is a good descriptor. Naturally, along with all that food comes a lot of calories — and on goes the weight.
I want to offer my suggestions for enjoying Thanksgiving, without the extra weight:
Set a clear intention, first thing in the morning, that you will enjoy your Thanksgiving meal but not over eat. Dust off your favorite journal.
Write out your plan in the morning — or night before. Having a game plan to follow can be very helpful. Consider including any or all of the points below.
Eat a good, healthy breakfast in the morning and a healthy but lighter lunch before the evening Thanksgiving meal. This way you will not go into the festive thanksgiving meal feeling so hungry that you are tempted to eat everything on the table.
Plan to exercise in the beginning part of the day, either after breakfast or lunch. Unless you are like Michael Phelps, who swims for 8 hours a day and consumes 12,000 calories, those extra calories are going to come with extra weight. Exercising will not only consume some of those extra calories, it can also leave you feeling healthier and more masterful — more in charge of what you put on your plate, and how much.
WATER AND ALCOHOL
Drink plenty of water during the day. Staying hydrated can help, especially if you are planning on drinking alcohol.
Be mindful of alcohol consumption. Plan to enjoy your favorite wine or cocktail but keep in mind that alcohol can increase calorie intake very quickly.
As you think about your game plan, consider where you might do with a little less.
Example: Perhaps 1 bread roll, instead of 3, That’s a lot of calories saved! And get your fill with salad, and any steamed vegetables — hopefully there will be some on the table. To be sure, consider bringing some of these foods yourself — a salad with lots of vegetables. Or a platter of seed crackers, with a variety of olives, hummus and Tomato-Olive Tapenade. See recipes below.
Hummm… the good stuff – just a little.
Dessert can be the hardest to resist! Decide ahead of time how much of that chocolate cake ice cream or pie you are going to serve yourself. Two smaller servings of two different pies or cake ? Or a slightly larger serving of your favorite cake or pie?
Take 10 minutes or so before heading back for that additional serving. You might realize then, that you don’t need it.
The COVID 19 epidemic has greatly disrupted our lives and our connections with
special people, and Thanksgiving this year will be an especially joyous time for many of us. Having said this, think about what being safe and supporting loved ones in being safe will mean on this occasion. Each member of our family has agreed to have a COVID test before we get together — an added protection for us all.
May you all have a safe and a happy thanksgiving, and share the joy.