First of all, it should be called Hanugiving, or Thanukkah. Thanksgivukkah just has too many syllables. The word feels as indulgent as the week-long turkey and latke festival is likely to become. This once in a lifetime collision of holidays is absolutely a Judeo-American culinary adventure but the memories need not sit on your hips all year!
All of the holidays can become overwhelming, more so if you have dietary restriction or want to keep an eye on the waistline. Large gatherings with Aunt Dolly and Cousin Berel who take pleasure in shoving their half eaten turkey-stuffed-thanksgivikkah-donut into your mouth while they excitedly squeal “oh, you must just taste this” can take their toll, on even the most patient or disciplined of people.
I am not going to suggest you celebrate Thanksgiving alone or combine your celebration with Shabbat dinner to keep the meal count to a minimum. That’s no fun. This isn’t an “eat this not that” adventure either. It’s a collection of realistic thoughts to navigate the holiday and still enjoy a Sufgani-tini or two!
Honor the oil
That whole frying thing has gotten a little out of control and how many of you are frying your latkes in olive oil anyway? Are we remembering the miracle of the olive oil or canola oil? Resist the urge to deep fry the turkey and smoke it instead. Consider drizzling some extra virgin olive oil on your turkey, brussels sprouts or latkes, it’s only going to make things taste better. Baked latkes are actually pretty good too.
Last Hanukkah we snacked on Garlic, Za’atar and Olive Oil Popcorn. Now I am wondering if pumpkin spice popcorn would be popular or not.
Be the dreidel
I’m not suggesting a costume, but stay active, especially if you are making a long weekend out of the festivities. Rather than grazing through the kitchen throughout the day, take a walk. Not only will you get a little exercise, but you’ll get out of the kitchen and away from the temptations. You’ll also get an awesome waft of all those Thanksgiving AND Hanukkah smells as you walk back in the door.
Indulge in the turkey
Turkey breast is actually pretty lean, many people will choose turkey as their protein of choice if they are trying to manage healthy weight loss. Fill up on turkey meat or vegetables rather than latkes or gelt.
Allow yourself to eat what you want
If you give yourself a day off from counting points or calories, you may find yourself making good food choices. Even if you don’t and you wake from a turkey-coma with your face in a plate of stuffing muffins, you can avoid feeling like you failed. If you haven’t failed, there’s no guilty feeling or regret about what you ate for days or weeks at a time, and tomorrow you can get right back to your healthy lifestyle.
Phone a friend
If it all gets to be too much, call a buddy. Sometimes we eat because we are stressed out or bored, not because we are hungry. Reach out to a close friend if you need to vent or think of some friends you haven’t spoken to in a while and call to wish them a happy Chanukah.