Girl Planting seeds

This Thanksgiving Give More, Eat Less

gathering_Thanksgiving_Table_shutterstock_747976561As Thanksgiving sneaks up on us once again and we reflect on how grateful we are for good family, good friends, and good food, let us always be mindful of those who are less fortunate. It’s easy to get lost in the planning of this annual pig-out, when we all undoubtedly eat more than we should, complain about having to travel long distances, and argue with loved ones with whom we do not agree. There are countless people out there who would do anything for these luxuries.

The polarities of Thanksgiving feel ever more striking to me with each passing year. We tend to turn inward and focus on our own little worlds, when really we should be opening ourselves up to the world around us. An easy way to do this is by donating to a local food drive, or volunteering to help serve a Thanksgiving meal at a nearby shelter.

Many organizations around the country hold Turkey Trots, where supplies for a festive family meal are delivered to people who may not be able to afford it themselves. SKIP of NY, a nonprofit dear to my heart, has been doing this for more than 30 years, after founder Margaret Mikol realized that many of the families SKIP served did not have the resources to celebrate Thanksgiving. To participate in their annual Turkey Trot this year and to learn more about SKIP, click here.

Another sort of Turkey Trot many people take this time of year is to run in an organized race, usually a 5K or 10K. Not only can you raise money for a good cause by soliciting donations from friends and family, but you can also give people – and at the very least yourself – a good excuse to get out of bed and off the couch on Thanksgiving morning. A little bit of exercise will go a long way on this day of indulgence!

After your good deeds have been completed, treat yourself by making a healthy alternative to some old standbys. How about quinoa-stuffed bell peppers, my own version of homemade mac & cheese, or my favorite vegan mini pecan pies? All of these recipes should be made using organic, non-GMO products when possible, and will leave your family feeling satisfied and not stuffed.

You can also forget the food coma this year by enjoying little bites throughout the day. It’ll keep your metabolism working, and will make you less likely to gorge on one big meal, and fall into a turkey-induced haze.

Don’t fall prey to Thanksgiving’s alluring siren song of gluttony. Think about the example you want to set for your kids and for other family members, and remember how many people in this world would give just about anything to have a roof over their head and a warm meal on the table, today and any day.

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