home / Health
In my boots
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
When my son was young, he and I volunteered at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. I had been volunteering for the organization that ran the soup kitchen, so it seemed like a great way to spend Thanksgiving.
After we arrived, we were asked to deliver food to a large family who had no way to get to the dinner. We were given two turkeys plus the trimmings to bring to the family. Their home was a long walk away on a cold, northeastern day.
My son and I loaded the car, amazed at the enormous amount of food needed to feed nine people. When we pulled up to the house, a barefoot, 12-year-old boy with no coat greeted us and helped us bring in the food, which was still warm.
As we placed the packages on a table in the front room, we saw that their radiator was broken, a puddle of water frozen on the bare, wooden floor. Several of the children were shoeless, but everyone seemed in good spirits. We wished them a happy holiday and headed back to the soup kitchen. My son was very quiet on our drive back.
Should we be counting our calories – and our blessings?
The soup kitchen experience serves as a strong contrast to most holiday festivities.
During the holidays we become engulfed in non-stop celebrations that usually involve an abundance of food. Do we need it all? Of course not!
More healthful approaches to eating during the holidays could benefit us, as well as our loved ones. Cut back? If that seems impossible, these simple ideas might help you lessen the after-feast regret.
Ask yourself: Do you really want that extra helping? Two kinds of potatoes? Three desserts? Would a smaller serving or just a taste suffice, since there is so much to try?
It’s a matter of scale – and what we see on our scale may make us very regretful! So, how can we counteract all of that stuffing -- both the bready kind and our tendency to eat too much?
Suggestion: Take a walk – or a hike! Hike in the morning before the feast preparations to get your metabolism humming. Walk after the feast to burn some of the calories.
Donate some food to those less fortunate (food banks can always use more food) and bring the kids along. Give the kids a perspective on more than just the electronic gadgetry they think is essential to life.
Take a walk with the kids and tell them about your childhood, changes in the neighborhood, and family stories. Jump rope! Show them a game of hopscotch. And, if you dare, do cartwheels in a grassy area! (But not right after eating!)
Along with setting the plates on the table, set a good example for the children. Show them the right example and they will be less likely to overeat. Provide nutritious foods that offer variety and they will get used to new experiences.
Stimulate children’s minds and get them to exercise their bodies, not just their taste buds!
Set an example of generosity. When you include your children as you help others who are less fortunate, kids can be more appreciative of the abundance they do have.
And, when you give, those less fortunate will have a happier, healthier holiday, too!
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
Shelley Gillespie, an ANA award winning staff writer of The Communicator and CopaNews.com, is the author of Hiking for the Couch Potato: A Guide for the Exercise-Challenged (www.hiking.forthecouchpotato.com). “In my boots” will discuss health, hiking, happiness, and ways to enjoy and improve our lives.
Shelley Gillespie / CopaNews.com
In my boots is a new column on health, happiness, and hiking!