I have seen, for a few Novembers now, a trend of gratitude journals circulating on social media. I think it is important to take time out to express gratitude to those around you and for the things you have been blessed with. Thanksgiving is a time when most of us reflect on these things with our family and friends. Sometimes it is hard to find the words or actions to express gratitude to those around us. Here are some ways you can do that this season:
Bake something or cook something: This is my personal favorite (of course). Whether it is a parent, friend, coworker, or neighbor, a home cooked meal or fresh baked goods is such a great way to express your gratitude. And don’t worry, if you don’t do very well in the kitchen, stopping by a local bakery or ordering out is never frowned upon!
Bring someone a hot treat: If a co-worker, spouse or friend has a favorite drink at a local coffee shop, liven up their day and show them some appreciation by bringing it to them first thing in the morning. If you don’t know how they take their coffee (or tea), a gift card is a perfect substitute.
Bring Flowers: Flowers brighten up any space. Whether it’s a hand-picked bouquet from your garden, a delivered surprise to a loved one or friend in another state, or some beautiful stems from local grocery store, flowers are always a wonderful way to show appreciation and will bring a smile to the recipient.
Roll up your sleeves: Sometimes the best way you can show your appreciation is simply to roll up your sleeves and do something for someone that they need help with. This could be cleaning their house, taking out the trash, going grocery shopping, watching the kids, etc. If you don’t know how you can help – ask!
Write a thank you card: Thank you cards aren’t just made for gifts. You can write one to anyone who has influenced your life in a positive way. A friend you are grateful for, a parent, or someone you simply want to tell you love them and want to tell them you appreciate them being in your life. Words can be super powerful; don’t underestimate the impact they have!
At the end of this month, most families will get together and have a feast with their families and loved ones. A typical Thanksgiving meal will have turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, rolls and enough leftovers to feed another family! But what about those who don’t have the means to buy food for a Thanksgiving meal?
No one should have to worry about whether they will have food on their plate or a roof over their head. But the reality is that hunger and homelessness are widespread problems that affect far too many people.
The fact is that many Americans are living on the edge, forced to choose between basic necessities like purchasing food, paying rent, or going to the doctor. 43.1 million Americans live below the poverty level. 549,000 Americans are homeless on a typical night. 42 Americans are at risk of suffering from hunger, and 1 in 5 children in the U.S. live in poverty.
You can help! This month, as we are doing things to express our gratitude, think about adding giving back to your community to your November activities. Here are some things to consider:
Give to a local food bank. Food banks need more than canned goods. Feeding America did an article earlier this year about three items you may not know food banks distribute. You can read that here. If you don’t know where your local food bank is, you can find one here.
Teach your kids about hunger. Talk about how you can help as a family like starting a donation jar or planting a family garden and donating the food. Read more ideas for discussion here.
Help urge Members of Congress to prioritize fighting hunger. As them to visit a food bank in their district to see how programs are making an impact in your community. Send them a message.
Be an advocate! You can learn how to advocate for a hunger-free America here.
Volunteer locally. How awesome would it be if your family pledged to volunteer every year together? You can volunteer with a group volunteer experience, or research local charity organizations in need of help. Feeding America has resources to search for volunteer opportunities in your area here.
As I mentioned above, there are usually so many leftovers on Thanksgiving. Sometimes it is hard to figure out what to do with all that Turkey. You don’t have to settle for a week of turkey sandwiches, I’ve got you covered! You could also take your leftovers and give them to a family that may not be as fortunate, or better yet – invite them over to celebrate with you!
Gobble Up These Turkey Wraps
- 3 Slices turkey
- 1 tablespoon cream cheese
- 1 handful baby spinach leaves
- 2 Slices tomato
- 1 Slice red onion
- 1 whole wheat tortilla
- 1 Small orange
After the holidays, you want to eat something pure, healthy and fresh so you can recover as you venture out into the cold and shop your heart out. And there’s still no better feel-good meal than a homemade soup to warm you up.
Low in fat and high in nutrients, perfect for detoxing from a food hangover. Add some toasted sourdough bread for the perfect PC Combo (if you don’t know what a PC Combo is, check out my book Skinny Chicks Don’t Eat Salads).
Day-After Detox (Chipotle Mushroom) Turkey Soup with Rice
- 32oz chicken stock or broth
- 4 cups water
- 1 onion, diced
- 10oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 1 cup carrots, diced
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon thyme, chopped
- 2 teaspoons sea salt
- 2 teaspoons chipotles in adobo
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1lb roasted turkey, or rotisserie chicken
- 1 cup brown rice, cooked
- 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
- lemon wedges for garnish
Here is a bonus recipe! Instead of the same pumpkin pie recipe, or the frozen store-bought pie, try this! I made over this fantastic Thanksgiving treat. Now it is super-quick and delicious. For this high-protein, healthy alternative I use the fantastic honey vanilla bean flavored Greek yogurt from Voskos (available in most grocery stores). It actually stands alone as a balanced, healthy half-meal on its own! So prepare this in advance and store it in the refrigerator. Then a few hours after the turkey dinner you can whip this one out and never interrupt your healthy eating plan. Your guests will love it.
Pumpkin Ginger Parfait
- 1 Small 0% Voskos Greek Yogurt, Honey Vanilla Bean Flavor
- 2 tablespoons Canned pumpkin
- 1 Ginger Snap, crumbled
- 1 Individual Weight Watchers carrot cake
- Nonfat whipped topping, spray can
May you be blessed this Thanksgiving season!
“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau