Thankful Thanksgiving

Thankful Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving 2018: Giving Thanks

            We are quickly approaching one of my most favorite holidays: Thanksgiving! I love it for 2 reasons. First, I love food. Secondly, I love to give thanks. While reason #1 can often overshadow reason #2, I believe giving thanks is something we should all consider as we approach what can otherwise be quite a glutinous holiday. At the very least, humor me.

Scientific research has proven the benefits of expressing gratitude! Reflecting upon and expressing our gratitude can actually make us happier and better people. Specifically, here are some scientifically proven benefits of gratitude:

  1. Be happier, less depressed. People who give thanks tend to report less depression and being overall happier individuals.
  2. Strengthen your relationships. Individuals who express gratitude tend to be more attractive and individuals that others want to be around.
  3. Sleep better (!). Yes, really. Individuals who jot down what they are grateful for tend to report improved sleep.
  4. Improved mental strength. Expressing gratitude can actually help to make us more resilient when dealing with stress and trauma.
  5. Improves self-esteem.

Giving thanks and gratitude can be quite simple. Some individuals take 10 to 15 minutes each night to jot down in a notebook/journal something from the day for which they are grateful. Others may reflect upon the day in their drive home to think about positives of the day. In our family, every night at the dinner table we go around and say what we are grateful for that happened during the day. This doesn’t have to be a long or exhaustive process, but just taking some simplest steps to express our gratitude can truly make a difference in our quality of lives.

Now, onto the food! I recommend checking out 2 previous blogs I have written that address making a game plan for the Thanksgiving Holiday which can be found in the Nutrition Vault: (1) Tips for Surviving the Thanksgiving Holiday, and (2) The Holidays 2017 – there are some great, practical and helpful tips for maintaining your health goals over the holiday season. Check them out! In the meantime, here are some of my favorite healthier sides recipes for the Thanksgiving holiday that can literally save hundreds of calories. After all, did you know the average American consumes about 4,500 calories for the meal (including drinks and apps)?! Yikes! Here are some ways to cut down on some of the unnecessary calories while still enjoying some delicious food:

  1. Healthier sweet potato casserole: https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ellie-krieger/sweet-potato-pecan-casserole-recipe-1973555
  2. Garlic parmesan green beans: https://www.asweetpeachef.com/garlic-parmesan-green-beans/
  3. Creamy cauliflower puree (instead of mashed potatoes) – you have to trust me on this one!: https://www.skinnytaste.com/creamy-cauliflower-puree/
  4. Wild mushroom stuffing: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipe/249974/wild-mushroom-stuffing/
  5. Oven roasted parmesan Brussels sprouts: https://togetherasfamily.com/oven-roasted-parmesan-brussel-sprouts/
  6. Skinny Pumpkin Pie: https://www.skinnytaste.com/skinny-pumpkin-pie/
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