I love everything Thanksgiving! From the menu planning, the turkey roasting, the guests gathering and right through to the final bite of pumpkin pie, it’s my favourite holiday.
When the aromas of a roasting turkey start to fill the house, it conjures up memories of years of Thanksgiving celebrations gone by – all the way back to my childhood. Turkey dinner is truly is the ultimate comfort food.
Oh, and let’s not forget the gravy! Along with homemade orange cranberry sauce, a steamy pot of rich gravy is the perfect accompaniment for pouring over roasted turkey.
Wait? What! A dietitian is talking about pouring gravy?
Yes, you read that correctly.
Since I'm a dietitian, you might expect me to tell you how to lighten up your side dishes, skip the stuffing, make your mashed potatoes "skinny", and bake a "guilt-fee" pumpkin pie. (Just to be clear...I despise "skinny" and "guilt-free" as descriptors of food. That's food-shaming language and it's not okay.)
And you most likely expect me to tell you to skip the gravy. Nope!
Don't get me wrong... it IS important for your health to eat more vegetables every day. And you can lighten up traditional veggie dishes without sacrificing great taste, but only if you prefer them that way. And gravy is clearly not an everyday food that promotes optimal health. Neither is pumpkin pie.
BUT…this Thanksgiving, I’m sharing a different message.
I’m sharing with you a message about celebrating traditions and enjoying the pleasures of food because eating well is so much more than nutrients. Sitting down to a nourishing meal with turkey and all the fixings is doing more than feeding your body. It's feeding your soul.
Eating well is also about sharing a meal with family and friends. It’s about cooking family favourites with your kids, maybe using grandma’s recipes. It’s about cherished, long-lasting traditions. Connecting with your family is so much more important to your health than cutting out the butter from the mashed potatoes on your holiday table.
Eating well also includes allowing yourself to indulge.
That is, to allow yourself the pleasure of enjoying all the glorious foods that grace your table on holidays. No regrets. No guilt. Because food should never be served with a side of guilt, but instead with a big heaping of love.
So, go ahead, pour a little gravy on that tasty roast turkey. Take a spoonful of buttery mashed potatoes. Savour the pumpkin pie. This meal is but a pebble in your lifelong journey.