What a year! As 2020 continues to unfold in dramatic and often personal ways, the Holidays are greatly affected in size, scope, planning and preparation.

One thing that will NOT change for us is our “Thankful Walk.”  From our first Thanksgiving as a married couple in 1984 through the present crazy 2020, it’s a cherished tradition that you can easily start.  At some point during the day, we take a walk around the neighborhood and each person, no matter how small, takes a turn sharing something they are thankful for.  The only rule is that expressing gratitude is the only conversation! From the early years of our own babies and toddlers to our present status as empty-nester grandparents, it’s something to really look forward to!

There is no denying, however, that many things HAVE changed this year with the Pandemic.  2020 is truly a year to approach with prayer, patience, respect and even forgiveness as immediate and extended family and friends manage life and holiday events in the best way they can. There’s no “one-size-fits-all” for planning and managing holiday gatherings this year and much of it is extremely frustrating!  If approached in the spirit of Thanksgiving gratitude, the disappointments and truly annoying challenges can become a tremendous opportunity for personal growth to be more Christlike and to give everyone, including ourselves, a break.

The way we do NOT want to grow this year is in clothing size and weight!!!!

Here’s another opportunity for personal growth: As you look towards your own Thanksgiving this week, it’s very possible that your Thanksgiving group will be very small.  Thanksgiving 2020 is the PERFECT time to test out small quantities of new and healthier recipes and/or discover healthier substitutes for old faves!

After all, what could matter more in this precarious year than proactively managing our health as we launch the holiday season?  Think about it!!!  I’ve included some of our favorite websites and Thanksgiving recipe links below.

To get us started, here’s a thought and 10 tips for a healthier Thanksgiving and launch to our holiday season health.

“It’s Just One Day!”
Ten Tips For A Healthier Thanksgiving

I well remember my years as a Weight Watcher Leader as we approached the holiday season with lots of encouragement, mental strategies, tactics and recipes! One woman, who was well on her way to ultimately losing 45 pounds, wisely said in mid-November, “Thanksgiving is ONE day. A little indulging will not sink the boat or rock it very much. But only if you treat it as ONE DAY, rather than the first day of continual holiday feasting until January 1 and the New Year finally arrives.”

I liked that so much then and still do.  In those happy years, I often worked at the Weight Watcher weigh-in desk the day AFTER Thanksgiving. It was very rewarding to see so many people come to weigh in and get RIGHT ON TRACK the very next day.

In fact, it was the Monday after a very out-of-control Thanksgiving weekend in 1998 that I returned to Weight Watchers and got myself in control for the rest of the year. That bend in the river turned into eventually becoming a Weight Watchers Leader in 1999 and to ALL of what I do now with Meridian Magazine and My Miracle Detox, Meridian’s popular online herbal detox. Isn’t that something? God bless Thanksgiving!

Well, we can make the “It’s One Day” our plan this year, too!  Here are my Ten Best Tips For A Healthy Thanksgiving Day, which to l launch a very healthy holiday season!

1.  Eat Breakfast – it’ll take the edge off your appetite, which will allow you to make better food choices at feast time.  

2.  Wear a fitted outfit/slacks as a reminder to stop before you overeat.

3.  Lighten up and use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey, for gravy and potatoes.

4.  Use sugar substitutes in place of sugar and/or fruit purees instead of oil in baked goods.

5.  Reduce oil and butter wherever you can

6.  Use bouillon cubes and skim milk for mashed potatoes.  (We’ve been doing this for years … no one cares or notices!

7.  Go for the white turkey meat, if eating meat.

8.  Enjoy plain veggies seasoned with salt and pepper, and fruit or more fruit salad for dessert with just a little pie :0)

9.  Choose roasted sweet potatoes instead of sweet potato casseroles

10.  Take a walk in the morning and after the meal to count your blessings and relax.

Best Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Links

Who doesn’t love looking at new recipes online?  Since many of us will be having much smaller gatherings, if at all, this year is the PERFECT time to experiment with a few new recipes for the holidays!  Here’s a good starter for healthier Thanksgiving recipes.

1.  THE GREEN LOOT THANKSGIVING RECIPES

At the end of the summer, we discovered Kate at  “www.thegreenloot.com“.  Her website is excellent and loaded with really fantastic recipes and ideas that are simple to make.

She’s got an awesome collection for Thanksgiving, including a recipe for  “Stuffing Muffins with Gravy” that looks delicious. We will definitely try it!  Even if you don’t do it with muffin tins, it includes instructions for both healthy stuffing and mashed potatoes.  Really! What’s not to love?!

Please note:  She does lots of photos and descriptions making it a little difficult to find the recipe itself, but use the recipe title that has a green underscoring that looks like a highlighter. That’s the link to the recipe itself.

2.  FORKS OVER KNIVES THANKSGIVING RECIPES

https://www.forksoverknives.com/vegan-thanksgiving-recipes/

This is the gold-star standard for great whole-food plant-based recipes and a complete lifestyle.  This powerful, free website just may change your health and life as it has thousands of others. We’ve made oh-so-many of their recipes and will continue to!  Their Thanksgiving spread starts with appetizers, then on to their delicious salads!  How about Pear-Barley chopped salad? Or Pomegranate and Wild Rice Salad? YUM!

Click HERE for the link to the Forks Over Knives Thanksgiving spread for 2020.

3. DR. T COLIN CAMPBELL THANKSGIVING RECIPES 

Dr. Campbell (a medical doctor, now 86 and still extremely healthy and active) was one of the original movers and shakers in developing the whole-food plant-based lifestyle. His international research and documentation is astonishing, practical and fascinating! 

He writes:

“When it comes to side dishes, you may have already noticed that the most popular Thanksgiving foods have always been plant-based anyway: yams, mashed potatoes, green beans, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and so on.” 

How very true! And how very excellent his information and recipes are. I hope you’ll take a look and give them some consideration.

Click HERE for the link to Dr. T Colin Campbell Thanksgiving Recipes

In conclusion, I  love you and express gratitude for the tremendous blessing of being a part of your life through the Meridian community! I  hope you’ll have a wonderful week preparing for Thanksgiving, enjoying the season, the delicious food and growing personally in ways we never expected to this year with forgiveness, patience and perspective – but not in clothing size and weight!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Carolyn Allen is the Author of 60 Seconds to Weight Loss Success, One Minute Inspirations to Change Your Thinking, Your Weight and Your Life. She has been a columnist for Meridian Magazine since 2007. She loves to provide mental and spiritual approaches for weight loss success and happy living both online and in the Washington, DC community since 1999.  She has presented for Weight Watchers, First Class, Fairfax County Adult Education and other community groups. She and her husband, Bob, are the parents of five children and grandparents of a growing number of darling little ones. They are now happy empty nesters in Sandy, Utah they center their online business for an amazing herbal detox. 
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