Stay Healthy This Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the most beloved holidays of the year, and as with most things in 2020, the celebrations around the table will look a little different this holiday season. 

As we get ready to give thanks amidst a global pandemic, coupled with the onset of cold and flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put together several guidelines for holiday celebrations to help us navigate a safe and festive Thanksgiving. Once you've assessed the risk and planned your table, you'll find some delicious and nutritious dishes to help you plan your feast. 

Think Locally

Start by assessing what kind of gathering is safe for you and check the levels of COVID-19 in your area. Use this as a guidepost to determine what type of activities might be safe or low-risk and which should be canceled, postponed, or limited. 

If the infection rates in your area are high, the guidelines recommend limiting or canceling gatherings. However, changing up your gathering strategy doesn't need to get in the way of celebrating with loved ones. Consider choosing one of these low to moderate-risk activities to make your holiday both meaningful and memorable.

Safety First

The absolute safest way to enjoy the holidays this season is to celebrate in your home with members of your immediate household. This strategy will limit the virus's spread and protect you and your loved ones from contracting COVID-19. Any additional members of your family and friends can be included virtually. 

A virtual celebration may not seem quite as good as the real thing, but with all the online gathering tools out there, you can still break bread together and catch up around the metaphorical table. Most importantly, an online gathering means you can feel confident that everyone is safe. In trying times where we've already traded hugs for elbow bumps, a virtual toast can bring the warmth and happiness of connection without the added risk.

If you'll miss the bustle of preparing a large meal, feel free to extend your holiday table by preparing food for non-household loved ones, and do a contact-free drop-off. This is especially helpful for those at higher risk of contracting the virus and anyone else who might be feeling extra lonely this year. 

Moderate Your Risk

If you plan to host a dinner with family and friends, fire up the cookout gear and organize an outdoor rather than indoor event (weather and location permitting, of course). Gatherings that allow you to take preventative measures and avoid close contact by staying outdoors, wearing a mask, and maintaining social distancing pose less risk than a traditional indoor dinner around a large table. It also should go without saying that the before-dinner hand-washing ritual should be extended to multiple times throughout the day. 

A visit to the pumpkin patch is another festive activity that is only moderately risky. While enjoying the wide-open outdoor spaces of the patch, remember to sanitize hands before touching pumpkins. Be sure to wear your mask and keep your distance, too. 

Large, indoor gatherings still carry the highest level of risk for contracting and spreading coronavirus, especially those where the guestlist extends beyond your immediate family. Time is also a factor, so extended indoor events can increase your risk as well. 

Crowds are not our friends right now, and crowded spaces such as malls or public events carry an increased risk. Consider having your groceries delivered instead of heading to the busy grocery stores to further help decrease your risk over the holidays.

Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes

While we’re focused on lowering the coronavirus risk around the table, we haven’t forgotten about the food! 

In case you’re still menu-planning, we’ve rounded up some fantastic dishes on the TRANSCEND recipe blog, including Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts, Stuffed Acorn Squash, and Spiced Roasted Apples

We may be socially distancing, but there’s no reason not to enjoy dishes that will tantalize the senses and reduce the adverse health risks associated with over-indulging.

Stay Home for the Holidays

Travel, including planes and public transportation, carries a higher degree of risk for contracting coronavirus. The best and safest thing you can do this holiday season is to stay home. Travel is strongly discouraged—if we're going to get this pandemic under control, we all have a part to play.

Though many of us can't go home for the holidays this year, we can still connect with each other in meaningful and safe ways. For that, we give thanks.

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