By Elsa Chu:
Everyone has been in this situation: unbuttoning his or her jeans after a huge Thanksgiving meal, wondering if the delicious food was worth two days of feeling like an over-blown balloon. Thus, I decided that this year, I would expand my food repertoire to include healthier alternatives such as steamed veggies, mixed nuts and fruit salads. I also wanted to cut back on the gravy, cheese and chocolate mousse that, while deliciously enticing and satisfying, always sends me into a groaning food coma and the gruesome “I-feel-so-fat” mindset.
[pullquote]I decided that this year, I would expand my food repertoire to include healthier alternatives such as steamed veggies, mixed nuts and fruit salads.[/pullquote]
Despite these lovely incentives, trying to convince my French parents, who live off of cheese, wine, marinated red meats, baguettes and pastries, to allow me to make my own healthy alternative Thanksgiving meal did not “fly” with them. My mom gave me a look that told me to shut up and eat, so I sat down to a dinner of Raclette and sparkling apple cider.
Raclette is a French tradition that involves a giant plate of slices of Raclette cheese that is melted in a miniature pan over a little stove in the center of the table. After melting the cheese, it can be poured over cured meats and potatoes. However, after countless pieces of melted cheese and two slices of a hearty, red-fruit tiramisu, I spent the rest of the evening in my largest pair of pajama pants, slumped in front of the TV, navigating my way through Mario Galaxy with my brother.
Altogether, the meal and after-effects (bloating, groaning and sleeping) were not my ideal version of a healthy, happy Thanksgiving dinner. That’s the catch with attempting to do good for yourself and your family around the holidays: the taste alone can entice you to break a decision, and if that doesn’t, your parents, who cook for you, will.
Fortunately, you can always sit down and talk to your parents in order to convince them of the need for healthy food. Trust me, there are many convincing arguments. If you do succeed in getting the ball rolling, try starting with small adjustments to recipes, or limiting yourself to 75 percent of what you usually eat. All these can do the trick, but the single most important and influencing change to make is to convince family to help you in your healthy eating. When Christmas rolls around, as it will soon, I’ll be taking a second swing at making my own healthy dinner and going running the day after. Try talking to family and cooking something healthier together, or even getting exercise the day of. Happy eating!