Let’s Practice Moderation This Thanksgiving

I’m writing this post at the risk of sounding unAmerican. Why do we eat until we can barely walk at Thanksgiving? Really. Does it make sense? It’s unhealthy. It’s gluttonous. It’s a waste. You can have a good meal without going overboard. Too much is too much, even for Thanksgiving.

I like my Thanksgiving dinner as much as anybody: turkey, mashed potato, gravy, the works. I just wonder if we go too far. Last year my mother came over to visit Annie and me for the holidays. I decided to do something I’d never done. I was going to treat her to a big traditional dinner.

Most years I’ve either been invited to relatives or friend’s homes. When I have made Thanksgiving dinner, I’ve kept it simple. Last year, I discovered a few things about preparing a big traditional dinner.

When is too much too much?

We Overdo Thanksgiving

  1. Too much cost: My first attempt at preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner for four cost me more than $50. According to The Atlantic, this year’s cost is $49.41. I also had to spend an extra $30 on kitchen supplies needed for cooking a large meal. If we keep the dinner simple, we save money.
  2. Too much time: Preparing the dinner was an all-day event. Now I’m extra thankful for all those who’ve prepared dinner for me over the years.
  3. Too much effort: Preparing a traditional Thanksgiving dinner takes effort. There’s the shopping. There’s the pre-cooking phase. There’s the baking. There’s the cooking. There’s the cleaning. It’s too much. It creates stress.
  4. Too much travel: It’s nice that we want to be with our family for the holidays, but costs for travel are high. According to ABC News, the average price to fly home for Thanksgiving is $307.52. AAA says that American families spend more than $500 to travel by car. Much of the time that travel is in unsafe conditions. (Note: these numbers are now a couple of years old. It’s likely increased about 10–20%.)
  5. Too many leftovers: Last year after mom left, I still had enough leftovers for a week. In the end, some of the food was wasted. It seems I’m not alone. Statistics show that we waste thousands of pounds of food every year.

Too Much Food Is Unhealthy

No sense beating around the bush. Eating too much is bad for you. According to an article in the NY Times, eating too much can produce these negative effects:

  • Indigestion
  • Flatulence
  • Drowsiness
  • Obesity
  • Gallstones
  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack

Have you had enough? Is Thanksgiving becoming too much? I think so.

Keep it simple this holiday season. I often cook Cornish game hens along with a few trimmings and a simple desert. Why do you need any more than that?

Take a walk after you eat. Walking is excellent exercise and a good way to burn off a few calories.

Ideas For A More Simple Thanksgiving

  • Keep your meal simple.
  • Get a partial turkey.
  • Use an alternative main course.
  • Limit side dishes to three.
  • Make one simple desert.
  • Spend time with your family.
  • Play games together.
  • Talk to one another.
  • Drink tea and coffee.
  • Spend time outside.
  • Break bread together.
  • Call your loved ones.

Thanksgiving provides great opportunities to bond. Eating does not have to be the main activity. Thanksgiving is about being thankful. We don’t have to eat too much in order to celebrate thankfulness.