A guilt-free Thanksgiving? I can hear you now. You’re probably thinking I’m going to recommend you swap out that big bird for tofurkey and eat raw pumpkin instead of pie. But NO! Surprise! Instead, I’m going to recommend the opposite – You should savor your traditional Thanksgiving recipes and eat up!
Sometimes people get stressed out at Thanksgiving time worrying about all of the extra pounds they will gain from that great food – Grandma’s special green bean casserole or aunt Betty’s pumpkin pie. But, I think we’re feeling guilty over the wrong thing. In fact, Thanksgiving is maybe the one day when most people get it right! Think about it, making real food from scratch! What a great event! Even the pies (the bad stuff) are made from real ingredients. If we ate whole foods made from scratch on a regular basis, we would be much better off!
Making food from scratch allows us to be real about our food. When you think about it, if you had to make your desert from scratch every time, how often do you think you would have it? Probably not that often. Now compare that to having desert from a bag of cookies or a gallon of ice-cream every night. This takes about zero effort to get and has a huge negative nutritional ramification on your body, compared to something you might make from scratch.
Now, obviously, there are portion control issues during this most wonderful holiday, but that aside, eating a little too much wholesome food made from scratch one day a year is not why we are carrying a few extra pounds. It is all the things that we eat the REST of the year that are the problem! We live in a fast-paced world and fast-paced food is not serving our waist line or our health well.
Extra weight is not put on in one day, and it is not removed in a day. Long lasting weight loss happens over time and it happens in the kitchen, not the gym!
Do you want to get a head start on your 2012 resolution? If you do, all you need to do is this. Next year, have Thanksgiving every night of the week! Okay, not the full-on Thanksgiving meal – that would be too much food and too much work, but make it a goal to eat a fresh, home-made meal from whole food ingredients every day.
When you cook from scratch, you have control of what goes in your food. You can control the sodium, oils, fats, and you know exactly what is going into your food. If you cooked dinners 5 times per week for all of 2012, I guarantee you and your family would feel better, look better, weigh less and would most likely be a lot more healthy.
Okay, I know what you are thinking (because I was there). You are thinking, that’s crazy! I’m already too busy. I will be lucky to get 6 or 7 corn dogs into the oven and on the table before we have to go to soccer practice, or piano lessons, or dance, or football, or cheer, or (insert your activity of choice here). How to you expect me to cook a meal from scratch?! I can barely handle it once a year on Thanksgiving – forget about 5 times/week!
Well, when you are accustomed to tossing a corn dog in the oven, or adding something to boiling water and topping it with butter, milk and some yellow powder of chemicals, the idea of meal planning and cooking is a overwhelming challenge. But, once you get the hang of it, it is no big deal. I promise! Seriously – I’ve been there! Today, I can make a healthy pizza from scratch and have it prepped, cooked, eaten and dishes put away in less than 45 minutes. (I bet you I can get all of this done before Pizza Hut or Domino’s shows up with a pizza full of greasy cheese!)
The point is, making your food from scratch does not have to take a lot of time. All it takes is a little planning AHEAD of time. And, yes, that’s the real challenge!
I have had the privilege to work with many clients this last year on improving their food choices. I would say the number one challenge people have is being able to plan ahead for these healthy meals. The cooking is not the issue. It is figuring out what to cook and to have the stuff ready so that come 5 o’clock when you get that dreaded question, “What’s for dinner?” – you can just point to the refrigerator door and say, “There’s the menu kid (or spouse). It’ll be ready in 30 minutes. Want to help?” (Okay, maybe you won’t get any help, but you get the idea!)
It’s taken me four years to create a system that simplifies the process of incorporating whole foods back into my family’s diet – from meal planning to grocery shopping to cooking & eating! And, instead of you having to go through that whole process, I’m going to pass along the tools & strategies I’ve developed to make it CRAZY EASY to shop, cook and eat healthy, real, fresh, whole foods. And, that’s my goal for 2012 – to help as many people as I can to incorporate more healthy, whole foods into their busy family lifestyle.
If you want to ‘join the club’ – check out www.thekitchenskinny.com. We are going to have a great time taking the pain out of eating healthier. Imagine – no more meal planning, no more grocery lists, no more trying to figure out what’s healthy and what’s not. Just healthy, good meals, easy shopping, and not having to think about it all!
Meanwhile, this Thanksgiving, stop with the guilt and instead enjoy your friends, family and, most importantly, good wholesome food. Then, I challenge you to spend 2012 focusing on eating more Thanksgiving-like meals every day (meals made from real whole food ingredients). See if you are not in a completely different place at this time next year. If you stick to it, I bet you will be.