There’s a heavenly smell of autumn in the air. If you are a pumkinphile, you are pureeing and tossing the guts of the portly, fall gourd into decadent delights like pies, pudding, pancakes, muffins, smoothies, cheesecake, and cookies.
This is also the time of the year that dietitians amp up their social media blogs to share tips on how to survive the holidays. Eating a light snack before going to a party, using smaller plates, and moderating portions while wandering up and down the buffet table are popular tweets. I had assumed that most people knew the tricks to stay strong, but last week a few patients confessed that they purposely don’t eat anything on Thanksgiving Day until they arrive at their destination. That way, they can eat more at the dinner table. Watch out! Arriving in a hungry state, and being greeted by heavenly wafts of home cooking at the door, only gets stomachs rumbling more!
And really; unlike bears and squirrels, we do not need to store up calories for a long winter’s rest. Thanksgiving Day can turn into a marathon feast that can add upwards of 3,000 calories (that’s almost one pound of fat) to one’s waistline, if you’re not careful.
This season, I am sharing only one idea. Simple and realistic just makes life easier at this time of the year. For every extra trip to the buffet table or plate that you fill, make a pact with yourself to walk fifteen minutes afterwards. Not hard to do, right?
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a day to share good food with family and friends, but it’s also the perfect time to reflect on gratitude. Children’s books are full of learning opportunities for kids. One of my favorite books growing up was the Winnie the Pooh series. A.A. Milne could not have said it better: “Piglet noticed that even though he has a very small heart, it could hold a rather large amount of gratitude.”
This year, consider starting a new holiday tradition at your house. Give each of your guests a slip of paper and ask them to jot down one thing that they are grateful for and have them put it in a basket. Include the kids! At some point during the day, gather around and pass the basket for everyone to pick a message and read it aloud. This simple act of sharing gratitude, and not just food, truly defines the spirit of the season.