I love celebrating with family and friends. But often, holidays means eating lots of food. When I was younger, we'd gather at my Grandmother Stacy's house for Thanksgiving. Everyday we ate at Grandmama's house which was 2 or 3 times a week, she cooked like it was Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving just meant a bigger crowd and a few more sides and desserts. We'd have pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and coconut cake. The sides weren't any healthier: mashed potatoes with sour cream and cheddar cheese, candied sweet potatoes, and yeast rolls. Our Alabama cousins introduced the Spratt girls to the rivalry between Auburn and Alabama while my grandmother and Aunt Linda hosted the Stacy's Garden Center open house which was the day after Thanksgiving. This meant cooking batches of mints-- a concoction of sugar and butter-- and even more cookies and goodies. Even though I never mastered the art of pulling mints, memories of cooking in Grandmama's kitchen will always bring a smile to my face.
On Christmas Eve, because my father had not even started his holiday shopping, my father and I would go to Charlotte to shop and spend time with his sister. One year I tried to take him 3 days before Christmas, but we came home empty handed. He couldn't make up his mind unless it was the very last minute. Aunt Jane always had delicious food that people had given her and Dad loved visiting with her and eating that food. Then we'd head home for the Christmas eve service in York, S.C. where we met old friends and Sunday school teachers and sang Christmas songs.
On Christmas day, Dad started a tradition of making belgium waffles with whipped cream and fruit.
When I married my husband, I added Jewish holidays to celebrate -- a whole other repetoire of recipes -- potato latkes, bagels, and jelly cookies! We are all surrounded by food. How can you stay healthy and celebrate at the same time?
Remeber the following tips:
1. Plan what you want to eat ahead of time.
2. Don't go into a meal hungry.
3. Bring foods you know you can eat.
4. Remember the plate method -- eat lots of greens, a little , a little carb and a little protein.
5. If you really want to eat dessert, don't eat the potatoes, rice, and bread, too.
6. Don't drink a lot of alcohol. It has calories and it will dull your will power!