Tis the Season to Eat

Cue the carols on the radio — it’s the holiday season. If you’ve been in a store in the past 10 days, you’ll know retailers are not letting us dig to the bottom of our kids’ Halloween bags for those last few Milk Duds before they start tempting us with candy canes and tinned popcorn.

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot Thanksgiving. When the average person manages to cram away between 3,000 and 7,000 calories. In one day.

There are strategies galore for avoiding holiday weight gain. Try a walking calculator to see how far you’ll have to go to burn off the turkey and stuffing. Have a couple big glasses of water half an hour before the feast, then start the meal with a small bowl of hot soup. Instead of pecan pie, indulge in fresh blueberries and yogurt for dessert.

Yes, that last one an actual suggestion from an actual online article, which just goes to shows that some “experts” are living in la-la-land. Or else their moms are really bad cooks.

A vastly more realistic strategy is to take into account that our normal weekly eating patterns fluctuate — most of us eat more on weekends, for example, or have an occasional splurge at the all-you-can-eat buffet. The trick is that we scale down in calories leading up to and after big events like those. Some experts take this a step further and propose that we learn to count calories weekly instead of daily. For those of us who are math-challenged, adding all the way to a recommendation of 16,800 may be as unrealistic as blueberries and yogurt at Thanksgiving dinner, but the point is a good one: Balance over time.

And instead of looking at holiday meals as the enemy, think about their positives. Turkey is a healthy, lean meat. Cranberries are full of nutrients like vitamin C. The various vegetable-rich dishes that we trot out once a year — sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, green beans, pumpkin pie — can all be cooked in variations with less fat and fewer calories than the traditional versions. Who knows, we might even start to eat them regularly.

My favorite site for modified recipes is Eating Well, which has a full menu of Thanksgiving side dishes that shaves 1,200 calories off the same servings of traditional fare.

Simply being conscious of our eating patterns this holiday season can go a long way toward keeping us in those skinny jeans my colleague Nicole blogged about a few days ago. I have a pair too, and I intend to still fit into them come Jan. 1, 2011.

By Amy De La Hunt, Health Blogger for SmartParenting

Share This Story

Amy De La Hunt is a journalist and editor who lives in the St. Louis metro area and works across the country as a writer, copy editor, project manager and editorial consultant on everything from fiction books to monthly magazines to blog posts. When she's not chauffeuring her teenage sons to activities, Amy is an enthusiastic amateur cook, landscaper, Latin dancer and traveler. Follow Amy on Instagram @amy_in_words

Our Daily Things to Do email is the easiest way to plan your day.
Follow Us
Want daily ideas of things to do? How about special offers & giveaways? Sign up and we’ll handle the rest.
Things to Do

Toddler Tinker Time
Thursday, February 25, 2021

Bring your little ones to Toddler Tinker Time at The Magic House for special experiences designed especially for preschoolers. Weekday mornings, families will enjoy hands-on activities in the Art Studio, plus private playtime featuring limited capacity in Wonder Works and Wonder Why.

View this event »
Snow Town at The Magic House

Plan your visit to Snow Town, an outdoor adventure at The Magic House complete with a Snowball Carnival, featuring whimsical winter outdoor games, a variety of snowball-themed carnival booths, snowball putt putt and lots more! This completely outdoor experience is SNOW much fun!



View this event »
Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym
Friday, February 26, 2021

Kids can work on existing gym skills, learn new skills or just play around during Open Gym at Miss Kelly's Gym. Space is limited to 10 kids per session. Reservations are strongly encouraged.

View this event »
You Might Also Like...

From Our Sponsors
Popular Stories

How to Lessen the Impact of Social Isolation on Your Child's Mental Health

This need for regular socialization all comes down to nature – we are biologically human wolf packs who need to connect with each other, especially in our early years. We asked local experts how to help kids handle the isolation resulting from the pandemic and remote learning, and how it may impact their futures.

Continue reading »
Spring Break Camps Offer a Variety of Activities for Kids and Teens in St. Louis

Welcome 2021's much-awaited springtime with a variety of fun Spring Break camps for kids as young as Pre-K. From rocketry to wildlife, science to arts & crafts, sports to healthcare, in-person or virtual Spring Break camps offer kids a way to meet up with their peers, learn a new skill, or return to favorite fun activities. Here is a roundup of Spring Break camps available in the St. Louis area:

Continue reading »
How Are You Holding Up? Here's What Experts Say About Coping With Anxiety, Stress and Uncertainty

Telling children they shouldn’t worry about something doesn’t make that worry go away. Instead, we want to help them develop skills to manage worries so they can feel empowered to cope with future worries.

Continue reading »
The College School Announces Diversity Scholarship

The College School, an independent school for grades Pre-K through grade 8, has launched a new Upper Division Diversity Scholarship for students of color who are entering fourth through seventh grades. The scholarship award will include up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for the student's time enrolled at the school.

Continue reading »
SLSO's Soundlab for Families Offers an Exploration of the Power of Music

Families are invited to explore the science and emotion of music during the SLSO SoundLab, a month-long, free virtual experience from the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. Every Saturday in February, families can tune in to Soundlab host Alicia, who will lead them on a journey that begins with how sound can be heard, felt and seen.

Continue reading »
Follow Us