With Thanksgiving approaching, surely you have given some thought to your holiday menu. Whether you are dining in or dining out, food seems to be the main reason we even celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. Menus exist everywhere you turn. From Martha Stewart to your internet home page, recipes and holiday tips abound, trying to either overdo or lighten your holiday food consumption.
When traditional Thanksgiving menus include all the favorites like turkey, sweet potato casserole, rolls, stuffing, potatoes, butter, gravy and pie, it is hard to fit in anything else – especially that chestnut butternut squash stuffing or broccoli cheese casserole which you found the recipes for just yesterday. Grocery stores are filled to the brim with all the trimmings, too. Holiday displays make them all the more enticing, encouraging you to buy more items.
But, taking a minute to step back and remember what Thanksgiving is all about does not hurt. Sure, it sounds a bit cheesy, but taking the time to be thankful for all the foods we have available to us would not hurt. And, what about the rest of the season? After all, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations take up a good two to three months out of the year. We do not have to overstuff ourselves this Thanksgiving and on December 25, simply to “fit in” all of the delicious foods the season has to offer. Why not try one or two new recipes per week, knowing that what you do not eat today will still be around tomorrow.
As for Thanksgiving Day, remind yourself that small samples of a variety of foods are just fine and can fit into a balanced diet. Our bodies will do a great job managing the food we eat, so long as we are healthy and remember the importance of moderation. The bonus is that you can have lots of leftovers after Thanksgiving to enjoy the following weekend, thus saving on cooking time for guests and allowing your body to enjoy the flavors of the season without becoming so full that you feel ill.
So, try new recipes this Thanksgiving or stick to your traditional fare. You may even wish to find ways to lighten your favorite recipes, making them more healthful. Whichever route you take, balance the table and plate with a color of foods, just as you should the rest of the year. If you enjoy the excitement of a table full of variety, then go for it. Just remember to keep your hunger and satiety in check so as to avoid becoming uncomfortably full. And, know that increasing the emphasis on the importance of gathering with family and friends may be more beneficial to the happiness of your loved ones than whether the turkey came out too dry or whether you had room on the table for another pecan pie.