Thanksgiving is a Time For Stress-Free Gratitude


Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful and grateful, but it can be a stressful time as well. Getting as much as possible planned and set ahead of time will make Thanksgiving far less stressful. When inviting people over for Thanksgiving share that the day is going to be about feeling blessed and sharing time together around a wonderful colorful table of food.

Planning out the menu will help to minimize the last-minute runs to the store. Before shopping, take each recipe and make a list of all ingredients needed for the menu. This will limit the stress while others are running around the store. A few days before Thanksgiving, make a cooking schedule. This will help to make sure every item on the menu is cooked on time without rushing and ease the stress of other food not getting done.

What is on the menu? Traditionally, it is turkey and all the trimmings. However, keep in mind that it contains somewhere around 4,500 calories. Brian Wansink, a Director of the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab recently published a book called, Slim by Design. Wansink talks about practical ways to help people maintain a healthy weight. He suggests for Thanksgiving to keep the focus on feeling grateful for the day and making the food secondary. It is not bad to keep the traditional foods, but there are ways to help to limit the amount of food consumed and experiencing the stuffed feeling by mid afternoon.

To help keep the food secondary, think about using smaller plates. Wansink suggests using 9 inch plates instead of a full-size dinner plates that are 12 inches. Serve Thanksgiving dinner buffet style. Research shows that people eat about 20 percent less when they need to get up away from the table to get second helpings.

Is there wine being served with Thanksgiving dinner? Alcohol accounts for about 10 percent of all the calories consumed at dinner during the Holiday meal. Place the water glass at each place setting filled with water ahead of time, then in the center of the table have a couple glass, elegant pitchers filled with water for each person to refill their glasses. Another way to slow wine consummation is to use narrow, tall wine glasses for serving either white or red wine.

Decorating can be stress-free and fun. One important key is to use what is available both in the home, as well as thinking outside of the box while in the grocery store. While getting your groceries, pick up some small pumpkins and gourds for the centerpiece place them down the middle of the table and place them in between some small to keep things simple.

If limited on table space, consider using sawhorses with a piece of plywood on top from the basement or garage cover it with a lovely tablecloth, creating extra seating space. If plates, stemware or silverware does not match, do not stress it is very trendy to have a table that is mismatched.

Consider using place cards for the table to ease the stress of family members who do not get along. No matter what size the group of people at the Holiday table steer the conversation away from politics and current events whenever possible.

Do not forget dessert, but make it stress-free by having only one and not a whole table full. Cut the dessert in the kitchen ahead of time. This way it will also limit the possible over consumption for everyone.

By taking just a little time ahead to plan and organize, it will relieve the stress from Thanksgiving. This will make for a joyous, blessed day with friends and family around the table enjoying good food.

By Patricia ZelmEmmart


The New York Times
The New York Times

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