With Thanksgiving kicking off the holiday season, it's time to gather with family and friends, give thanks, and just enjoy the company and the food ... right? Not according to the three broadcast networks. ABC, CBS, and NBC have been counting down to Thanksgiving by counting calories.
In the past week, from Nov. 18-24, five network stories have bashed traditional Thanksgiving food because it's not "healthy." With the nation in a recession and the unemployment rate above 10 percent, the media want Americans to worry about their waistlines too. Each of the networks offered tips on how to avoid the "most gut-busting holiday of the year," as Harry Smith of CBS's "Early Show" put it Nov. 19.
Their first advice to viewers was to paint their dining rooms blue. (Quick, you have less than 24 hours!) Allegedly, people eat 33 percent less than if they ate in a yellow or red room. Viewers also need to toss that beautiful flower centerpiece out the window and replace it with a bowl of apples, bananas or after-dinner mints. The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation claimed that overweight individuals that inhaled those scents before a meal ate less.
And forget about the soft, festive glow of candles. People tend to linger around the table when there's not a lot of lighting and - other than the fact that that strengthens important relationships, it also leads to overeating. Last but not least, throw out those glass dishes. There's one study (yes, one) that found that women ate less food out of opaque dishes.
We haven't even gotten to the food yet, folks.
No stuffing. Period. David Zinczenko, editor-in-chief of Men's Health defined stuffing on NBC's "Today" as "a lot of croutons that are moistened with fat and sodium." But luckily you can replace that stuffing with cream spinach. Of course when making the spinach, you must substitute True Lemon for salt, skip the butter, and use only evaporated skim milk.
You also need to heat up all of the really bad foods, whether or not that particular food needs to be heated.
"We know when we heat something up," said dietitian Keri Glassman on ABC's "Good Morning America," "there's a better aroma, and a recent study found that people that smelled high caloric foods actually were reminded to curb their consumption."
And when viewers aren't heating up food, they need to be throwing it away. Toss the marshmallow on the sweet potatoes and save 30 calories. Cut the crust off a piece of pie and save 70 calories. Oh, and if it's pecan pie, pick off five nuts too - and save 100 calories. As far as salad goes, absolutely no croutons and no fatty dressing.
"Food marketers love to take innocent little salad greens and corrupt them with calories and fat and salt," said Zinczenko to NBC's Lester Holt. "Why stuff yourself with calories and fat when you can be stuffing yourself with vitamins, minerals, and fiber?"