I don’t think I eat very healthy during the holidays. In addition, I don’t think I try to avoid not eating healthy. But I think about eating healthy. That’s got to count for something, right?
I was doing a little research on eating healthy during the holidays for this post, and there is a lot of good information out there. Over at http://family.samhsa.gov/be/holidayeat.aspx you’ll find lots of applicable tips, and one of my favorite magazines, Eating Well, has some mouth watering recipes that are healthy too. It’s worth a look: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/holiday_collection_1. And if you’re looking for motivation, then go to Better Health USA http://www.pivotaladvisor.com/public/273.cfm and read the article titled “12 Healthy Ways to Survive a Holiday Eating Frenzy.” You’ll learn that, “According to a recent Weight Watchers Report, the average American gains around 7-10 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.” 7-10 pounds?!?!? That’s like a newborn!
Here’s the thing, though. When I was reading one of those articles, I started thinking about the coffee cake my Grandma made when we visited her at Christmas. My husband called it “little pieces of buttery heaven.” She made it while we were still asleep, and I can’t think of a better way to wake up then to the whiff of that coffee cake baking in the oven.
And then I thought of the cookies my Aunt Lucy made every Christmas. She made three kinds: gingerbread men with red hots for buttons, frosted sugar cookies in the shape of candy canes, bells, and stars, and chocolate cookies with Andes mints melted in the middle. I can see the cookies on the platter she’d put them on sitting next to her red coffee mugs. My cousins and I went back and forth eating the different kinds and playing ping pong or pool, our parents playing Trivial Pursuit at a table upstairs.
Both my Grandma and my Aunt Lucy are gone now. There are many things that are terribly sad about them no longer being with us. They don’t know my children, I can’t hear their laughter, I miss my Grandma’s stories and really scary hugs. But my memories of them, and especially seeing them at Christmastime, don’t revolve around how many calories I was consuming, or whether or not I should eat a banana with my red hot-studded gingerbread man.
I think it’s good to eat healthy, and to keep in mind the things that go into our bodies. I think working out is hugely important. But if I am so concerned about when my next workout will be, or how healthy I am going to eat over the holidays, then I am missing the reason I’m getting together with my family in the first place.
Like most families when they get together, my family is loud. There’s always a lot going on: voices are louder, laughter is heartier, little feet stomp quickly everywhere. My favorite holiday memory? One Christmas my cousins and I tried to make a music video to “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” There was lots of jumping around and flinging of the hair. I don’t think you could really hear the song over the chaos that the seven of us were creating. I remember we played the song over and over to get the routine “just right.” My cousin Tara and I were the back-up girls, and we moved our hips from side to side, and tried to get into the Motown mood as best as any white girl could.
Well, maybe it’s not my favorite memory. Maybe it’s the time we decided to pretend the elevator in my Grandma’s apartment building was a rocket ship. Or, maybe it’s the time we left church on Christmas Eve and drove around the neighborhoods looking at the luminaries that lined the streets. I guess I can’t decide. One thing I know for sure, however, in each of these memories, I believe I was holding one of my Aunt Lucy’s cookies in my hand.