As a nutritionist, I love food – the healthier, the better (90% of the time, at least). That being said, I also think it’s unhealthy to think about food constantly, to the point where cooking, shopping, and eating become chores and are no longer fun. So, right before the biggest food holiday of the year, I thought it would be an appropriate time to help you think about focusing on something other than food!
Yes, Thanksgiving does mark the start of a month-long period of get-togethers that center mainly around eating. And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, I encourage you to attend these get-togethers and eat the foods you enjoy there. What I don’t want you to do is obsess over everything that you eat, or feel like your whole world revolves around food for a month straight. While the holidays are a great excuse to gather together over a big meal, they’re also the perfect time to engage in non-food-related activities with your family and friends. Like most families, mine chooses to celebrate holidays with lots of turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie; this year, however, we’ll also be creating some new traditions that don’t involve food. Here’s what’s in store for my family this holiday season; maybe you can try some of these ideas with your own family or friends to make holiday gatherings a little less food-centric:
- Turkey Trots and Holiday Hustles. My husband has recently gotten into distance running, and he’s already signed up for a few holiday-themed races. On Thanksgiving morning, the first thing on his mind won’t be turkey and pie; rather, he’ll be thinking about the five miles he’s about to run in the Feaster Five road race. Not a runner? Most local races allow walkers to participate as well. It doesn’t matter how fast you run or walk; all that matters is you’re moving, and enjoying a holiday event that actually burns calories!
- Getting Crafty. Dessert is a big part of holiday celebrations in my family. And while we’ll still be enjoying dessert after our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, we won’t be making a big deal of it. This year, instead of gathering together for a full day of cookie-baking, the women in my family will be harnessing our creativity to make our own Christmas wreaths. Getting the family involved in a holiday craft is a great way to get in the spirit, foster togetherness, and create something that won’t have an effect on your waistline.
- Giving Back. My sister is passionate about volunteering, and she is looking forward to helping out at a local food pantry this holiday season. While serving those in need does involve food, it’s in the most selfless sense. Taking the time to think about what others don’t have, and all of things that you do have, is a great reminder of what the holiday season is really about.