Our Favorite Thanksgiving Traditions

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liz sanders

Loving Those Leftovers
“Leftovers are almost my favorite part of Thanksgiving. I love the opportunity to get creative. My family has a real knack for creating unexpected delicacies out of leftover turkey, cranberry sauce and stuffing. The real upside of our leftover creations: They reduce the amount of food from our meal that goes to waste, which saves us money and helps us eat more sustainably. One of our favorites is a simple turkey leftover sandwich, with stuffing, cranberry sauce and gravy. This leftover sandwich might not be that creative, but adding some soft (preferably pungent) cheese takes it to the next level.” –Liz Sanders


silviaNon-Traditional Tradition
“Thanksgiving is one of my favorite times of the year! Gathering with loved ones is grounding and heartwarming. I start my day with a charity-donation yoga class to get my body and mind ready for the celebrations. Later, the feast begins, but the turkey is pardoned every year (not my favorite meat) and replaced with other types of food. I alternate Indian and Japanese themes, and I’m thankful that in Washington, D.C., these are easy to find. If it’s Indian food, I like chicken tikka masala and lamb vindaloo, paired with dal makhani (lentils) and baingan masala (eggplant). For Japanese food, edamame (soybeans), sushi, and shrimp tempura soba (buckwheat noodles) are always present. Eating in moderation is always a challenge, but this year I’ll be using the IFIC Foundation “eat-mojis” and so can you!” –Silvia Dumitrescu


It’s All About the Sides
“I like to begin my Thanksgiving by working up a sweat. Whether it’s going on a family run, taking a yoga class, or spinning my heart out, getting in a workout centers me and is a great way to start my day. Plus, burning a few extra calories before feasting on a delicious spread is always a good thing! While my family loves the traditional mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie, we are rather unconventional for other sides and the main dish. Instead of the standard turkey, we usually opt for a roasted pork shoulder or leg of lamb. These meats are some of my favorite proteins, and their cuts give us tons of tasty leftovers to enjoy the rest of the weekend. We sometimes will get really creative with the leftovers. Lamb tacos, anyone?” –Megan Meyer


geraldine mcann
Vegetarian Feast
“Thanksgiving is that special time when you can indulge in family, fun and food!  It’s the Perfect Storm of happiness. I’m a vegetarian, but that doesn’t stop me from enjoying Thanksgiving foods.  I love all the veggies and salads and fruits. I’ll add walnuts and sneak in some beans and eggs to the salads. Nothing beats roasted Brussels sprouts and roasted potatoes with a touch of olive oil. And as Raj from The Big Bang Theory often says,’I ate all my broccoli today, so I can have dessert.’”  –Geraldine McCann


laura kubitz
Turkey Trotting 
“For the past five years, I have gone for a run on Thanksgiving morning. Whether that is an organized Turkey Trot or a solo run on the beach when I visit my folks in Florida, I like to start the day reflecting on everything I am thankful for. It helps me clear my mind and really appreciate the opportunity of being with loved ones on the holiday. Another one of my favorite traditions is to encourage my family to eat more veggies during Thanksgiving. I am usually put in charge of finding a tasty salad recipe to go along with the turkey, stuffing, potatoes and pies. I like to incorporate seasonal items like apples, walnuts and dried cranberries to keep the Thanksgiving theme going!” –Laura Kubitz


kimberly reed
Practicing Precision
“My favorite food traditions were Mommers’ (my grandmother) mashed potatoes, which were purposely lumpy and topped with a very tasty brown, peppery gravy, and her cranberry salad with walnuts.  Mommers’ ‘tradition’ for me was to perfectly set our family’s Thanksgiving table. I had to make sure that every utensil, glass, plate, and napkin fold was placed to her exact specifications.  She’d say ‘anything worth doing is worth doing right.’ But my most favorite Thanksgiving tradition above all was personally devouring all of the leftover turkey skin after the turkey was carved. I’d gross my dad out as I’d eat the crispy, salty, and savory skin. I’m glad no one else ever wanted it. It still is my favorite Thanksgiving tradition!” –Kimberly Reed