Okay so as I was brainstorming things to write about that relate to this upcoming holiday I initially thought I would post several healthy appetizer recipes. I realized quickly that I have never actually contributed to Thanksgiving cooking. My parents have always hosted and my mom has it covered, and she has it well covered. There is no reason for me to mess with her system. Instead I thought I would reflect on why this holiday is so challenging for those trying to live a healthy lifestyle.
1. The Obvious
The whole purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks and the way we celebrate is by EATING. Turkey, potatoes, stuffing, casserole, desserts galore. You are surrounded by delicious food all day. Some of us are required to partake in multiple Thanksgiving dinners in order to make sure you celebrate with the extension of your family. If this is the case, well you can’t be rude and not eat at location number two, right? Now, you can plan ahead here so that you don’t go overboard with the food, however, that rarely seems to work out.
2. Booze, Part 1
Like most holidays, Thanksgiving is not only celebrated with food, but also with booze. Lots of booze. If you are a young adult, you are most likely getting a head start with the drinking on Thanksgiving eve. You will get together with your hometown friends, catch up, drink, potentially run into people you have not seen since last Thanksgiving eve, and end up drinking more than you initially planned because you are just too awkward to have a mature conversation with your peers without some liquid confidence. So those 2-3 beers turned into 7-8 and you are already off track before the holiday begins.
3. Booze, Part 2
Okay so things got a little out of hand last night, it’s Thanksgiving day and it’s a new day. No big deal you have a fresh start to the day. You quickly come to the realization that you are no longer 20 years old and hangovers are no joke. The only thing that could possibly nurse this hangover is a large plate of food, or more booze. If you were a responsible adult last night then you still have a chance. You just need to dodge challenge #1 with some portion control, then you are in good shape! That is, until you remember “that relative” or “those in-laws” that you have to entertain and if only you had a bottle of wine to get you through. If you don’t have “that relative” or “those in-laws”, but simply a family that likes to celebrate hard, well, you can’t not live up to the family name right? Okay so maybe you do stay in on Thanksgiving eve, wake up feeling great and get through Thanksgiving day without eating yourself into a food coma. You are in the clear. That is, until you remember that your favorite NFL team is playing a big game tonight and you don’t have work tomorrow. Sure, you can watch the game cozied up on the couch with your tea (which is totally something I would do), or you can respond to your friends text with a “yes I will come over for the Pats game and help you finish your leftover food and drinks”. After all, aren’t we all thankful for the existence of football? So realistically, this challenge could easily be broken out to booze part 3 and 4 to round out my 5 reasons.
So how does one stay on track through this celebratory holiday full of food and drinks? That is up to you. It is definitely possible with a little portion control and taking it easy or avoiding booze all together. Perhaps get a workout in that morning, or later that night depending on your gym’s holiday hours. For me, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and I am choosing to enjoy the festivities and all that it entails without putting myself into a food coma. I’ll give portion control a shot and not really stress about it. It is one day out of 365 days in a year and I am sure that those potatoes will be great fuel for my Friday squats. Thanksgiving is a day to be thankful, so enjoy the things that make you thankful! However you choose to express thanks, just do simply that, and do it well.