There are just two months left in the year. These last two months of the year traditionally involve lots of “food” events, with people gathering for holiday celebrations. Most families have favorite dishes that they prepare for these events. After all, food tends to evoke memories.
Once again this year, there may be fewer large holiday gatherings and many families may not be getting together at all. Regardless of your situation, take some time to reflect on the upcoming holidays and the positive food memories you’d like to share or create this year.
When asked, most families say spending time together is the most important part of the holidays. Can you do this without spending hours in the kitchen? So many people lament that their holiday meals “took eight hours to cook and 20 minutes to eat.” Is it worth it? What can you do to simplify and still enjoy a meal and enjoy time with the family?
Think about your holiday priorities.
Don’t get stuck with old traditions. Maybe these traditions are not that important to others. There may be blended families or “new” families and maybe it’s time to start something new. Memory foods don’t always need to be high-fat, high-sugar or low-nutrient-density foods.
Consider those in your family that have special food needs. Perhaps they are vegetarians or vegans. What foods could be prepared for those with allergies or must eat gluten-free? Remembering these needs may create a food memory for them (and new tradition for everyone else).
If cooking is an important part of your holiday, encourage the “little ones” to help. This is a great way to spend time together and teach some cooking skills at the same time.
Can you make modifications to some “must-have” foods that will make them more healthful? Is there a way to reduce the sugar, change the fat or add a whole gran? Look for recipes that can help to lighten up your holiday fare.
Be the one that takes a fruit or a vegetable to the holiday gathering. Others may be looking for more healthful fare, too. Raw veggies and fruit salads make great choices.
Whether you can be together or not, share a food memory on Thanksgiving. Ask everyone to share around the table or on Facetime or a Zoom call. Often these memories will remind us of friends and family living far away.
Create a family cookbook and add your memories about each recipe in the headnotes. Recipes aren’t always just for cooking. They’re also for reading and sharing the “stories” behind them.
While the goal for this month is to make some food memories, what else could you do to establish some “non-food” holiday memories? Go dancing or on a winter hike, help the community, try craft projects, start a family game night, or go to a holiday concert.
DISCLAIMER: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The information is for informational purposes and is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure any illness. Consult a physician before taking any action.
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