To gobble or not to gobble? That is the question. With the friendly reminder above pointing out just how much the average person ingests in one sitting, I’m beginning to wonder if all the fancy fatty stuff is really worth the tradition of feeling like a hung over bloated blob?

More than half of an average person’s caloric intake on Thanksgiving day is due to the overwhelming heaps of food that get served or piled on to the dinner plate. That’s roughly 3,000 calories that don’t include the T-day breakfast, the pre-meal snack of cheese cubes and martini’s, and the midnight open-faced turkey sandwiches. Oh yes, we are ALL guilty of consuming more food than necessary on this day of feast and tradition. But Thanksgiving only comes once a year so is it really THAT bad if I want to have it all – and seconds, too?

According to Kentz Willis, an assistant for nutrition and food safety at the University of Wyoming, “over doing one meal physiologically isn’t going to have long-term effects.” I personally like to hear such good news because I feel that Thanksgiving is not a time to worry about calories. An extra helping of stuffing or slice of pie isn’t going to make that big of a difference in the grand scheme of things. However, taking into consideration that the entire holiday season is garnished with cookies, cakes, and creams, I feel that it is the incremental eating throughout the holidays that gives to the bloated-blob feeling. And as a result, we are blessed with an abundance of unwanted pounds.

Cutting back on holiday eating is a challenge but I’m not about to take any extreme fat-fighting measures to ensure my cartwheels are kick-ass post turkey feast. Sure there are plenty of low-fat and low sodium ingredients available but those options tend to be low in taste and take the excitement out of any mother’s Thanksgiving staples. Rather than reducing my caloric intake this Thanksgiving, I am going to work with my mom in the kitchen to revamp her famous side dishes into something a little more decadent but equally delicious. Move over canned creamed mushrooms and oily onion ring casserole! I’m using fresh French green beans with real bacon pieces tossed in a vinaigrette and topped with crushed walnuts. Yum!

So try a new take on an old favorite and remember that Thanksgiving comes but once a year. Let your holiday food consumption be mindful, let your time be cherished, and your smiles sincere.