How to Have a Healthy and Relaxed Thanksgiving
First of all, Happy Veteran’s Day! Plastic Jungle would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all military service men and women. We don’t even want to consider what our world would be like without your dedication and sacrifice.
Now, to the business — oops, we mean pleasure of — Thanksgiving, but maybe that wasn’t such a stretch. Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year, a time to remember all the things we are grateful for. However, it can be awfully hectic for the host if he/she is not prepared and organized. Then there is that little fact of the big pounds you can pile on, preparing and eating those delectable dishes your mom and grandma used to make.
The typically American family runs themselves ragged getting ready for Thanksgiving, then gorges on fattening foods, and once this feat is accomplished, everyone piles in front of the TV for the big game and moans in misery, or falls fast asleep, knocked out by the turkey and fatigue.
Thanksgiving does not have to be this way. If you are hosting Thanksgiving for your family and/or friends, you can ensure yourself and those you love a healthy and relaxed Thanksgiving. Below we have gathered advice from the experts on how to do both:
- Shop sooner. Compose your shopping list in advance, then head to the store. “I like to start at least seven days ahead,” says David Tutera, author of The Party Planner and host of WE TV series “My Fair Wedding. “Thanksgiving generally kicks off the holiday entertaining season, so you need to be prepared since many stores require you to pre-order turkey or ham.”
- Don’t tax yourself by trying to serve everything that might be offered at a larger gathering, says Cooking Light contributing editor Maureen Callahan, R.D. “Balance your meal by choosing one starch — for example, sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes — and choose turkey parts, like legs and breasts, instead of buying a whole bird.” Or you could serve ham rather than turkey. ”Precooked ham is a good substitute for turkey when feeding a large crowd. Since it only needs to be warmed before serving, you’re free to focus on side dishes and desserts,” says Cooking Light test kitchens professional SaBrina Bone.
- Set a timetable. Create a game plan for the day, and know exactly how long it takes to prep and cook each item. “Consider when the dishes will be in and out of the oven, and determine whether you have enough room for everything,” Callahan says. If you’re cooking several items in one oven, keep pans spaced so that none touch. Doing so maintains the airflow inside the oven required to ensure thorough cooking,” Bone says.
- Use healthy recipes. This post from Eating Well.com could be all you need to prepare a healthy Thanksgiving meal and do it with minimum stress. There are some great recipes and tips for healthy eating and stress-free entertaining on Thanksgiving.
- Leave the fancy decorations to Martha Stewart. Don’t try to compete with Martha when you decorate for Thanksgiving. Simple, frugal decorations work just as well. Here are several of those from Midwest Living.
- Choose an alternative Thanksgiving. This article from Suite 101 offers some great suggestions for a non-traditional Thanksgiving, like eating out instead of cooking, and spreading Thanksgiving around. Plastic Jungle also has some ideas for how to change up your typical Thanksgiving. For instance, you could buy a gift card at the current rate of 17% off * to Morton’s Steakhouse and treat your whole bunch without the hassle of cooking and serving. Also, instead of hanging out after your Thanksgiving meal and watching the guys watch the game, you and your girlfriends could catch a movie with your AMC Theater gift card, which is currently selling for 16% off.*
Thanksgiving does not have to be a hectic, rushed, and tiring time of year. You really can relax and enjoy your family and friends on this most grateful of holidays.
What are your plans for Thanksgiving? Do you have extra tips for our readers on how to have a healthy and relaxing Thanksgiving? Then share, oh share!
* Check site for current rates.