fifteen ways our members are safely celebrating thanksgiving this year graphic

One of the lessons we teach at Stronger U is the value of planning. Planning our food, planning our workouts, and more. But with planning also comes learning how to adjust when a plan falls through. After all, we all know that old saying about best-laid plans. Never has that felt more true than 2020. This year has asked a lot of us. Many of us have been forced to adapt on the fly and think up new and creative ways to make the best of a less-than-ideal situation. Kind of like having to adapt to one long unplanned meal at a buffet! 

That’s why we turned to our members to see how they are incorporating some of the lessons they’ve learned around adaptation to Thanksgiving this year. 

Here’s how 15 Stronger U Members plan to be creative and adapt on the fly when Thanksgiving plans go awry. 


Melissa Copeland: We normally do a huge meal with 20+ people where everyone makes something that was a traditional dish for their family (so when the friend from Maine makes stuffing, it has oysters in it, or someone makes a dish you don’t even normally associate with Thanksgiving.) Since we can’t do that this year we’re doing the mobile potluck. Everyone is prepping like they normally would and then dropping off portions at each other’s houses. This way we all get to share the same meal and have the things we enjoy without all the leftovers.


Jennifer Vestuto Hubbartt: I’m cooking the Thanksgiving meal for the first time ever. It’s going to be fun trying new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen. Plus I’ll know every single macro I’m putting together.


Amy Dean: I entered my homemade rolls and sweet potato casserole recipes in MFP for tracking and awareness! Some recipes you can’t change!! Now I have a few days to plan the rest. Thinking part of the plan will be a longer workout on Thursday!!


Hilary Lefko: We are planning the day around a hike instead of the meal. Just having a “normal” fall-themed dinner when we get back from the hike (pork tenderloin with roasted with cranberries and apples, shaved Brussels and pomegranate salad, and mashed cauliflower and potatoes).


Rebekah Subit: Met an 82-year old Navy Veteran eating alone at Bob Evans last week. He lost his wife of 60 years just two months ago. My husband, kids and I are meeting him at Bob Evans on Thanksgiving day!


Molly Brown Hart: We are doing closet purges! The largest purge wins $50. (May have to award multiple winners because children are contesting volume over percentage…) Out with the old! Donate! Shedding old habits! (They don’t know it yet, but December is a pantry challenge. I need junk foods and orphan ingredients used up or donated.) wayyyyyyy too much clutter!


Nicole Siener Lowman: I finally get to participate in a Turkey trot since we are not hosting festivities this year. Instead of 1000s of people, it will just be my sis, my niece, and her BF.


Holli Rahmings: I will continue my tradition of waking up at 4 am to make homemade cinnamon rolls that we share with nearby neighbors and friends. We are having our traditional Cuban/southern dinner and using the MyIntent bracelet set to find our powerful message to help remind ourselves of our strengths. I thought it was a cool idea to make this year memorable.


Taylor Ann: One of our daughters was diagnosed with celiac disease this year, and her older brother took up gluten-free cooking classes immediately afterward and has prepared himself for thanksgiving all year. We will be indulging in gluten-free alternatives to our favorite meals, getting our hands messy, and baking all day long! Lead by our sweet oldest boy who has the menu all planned out. Just us this year but it feels pretty special!


Molly Eloise: I’ll be cooking with my eight-year-old daughter, starting new traditions with foods my kids can call theirs.


Deb Hannah: We’re going to celebrate as our little family of four and eat food we actually like! No wasting calories on dry turkey and gross casseroles! The menu is filet, crab legs, broccoli, and dinner rolls, with sourdough brownies for dessert. Throw in some Peloton in the morning, a movie in the afternoon, and I’m so excited for the day!


Amanda Glaser: We are going to take a break from cooking and let a local restaurant prepare it this year so we can just enjoy the day with low fuss and no leftovers to wrangle. I can easily plan for one indulgent meal without making it my whole week. Also looking forward to staying active over the long weekend and connecting with family via video chat.


Keirsten Littlefield: Spending five days in an oceanfront cottage completely by myself. I will be reflecting on my year, what I’m thankful for, what I’m aiming for in 2021, and enjoying “me” time.


Vicki Ferreira: Thanksgiving weekend with Hubby in Lake Luzerne at an Airbnb. Lots of hiking and exploring. Coffee on the rocks as the house is on the gorge, it isn’t a traditional family food fest this year. I look forward to spending time away within NY. Will miss my kids and family though but making the best out of this crazy situation!!


Kayla Beasley: I’m looking forward to my first year preparing a Thanksgiving meal at my own home and not traveling. We normally drive 4 hours to my hometown and then bounce from house to house to house until we’ve seen every member of our combined family, feasting at each place. This year, however, we’ll be able to take our time and enjoy our home, our decorations, and the work of our own hands. I won’t be tracking for Thanksgiving, but the last few weeks of SU has helped me to get out of the habit of eating until I feel stuffed. I look forward to enjoying my food and also enjoying the feeling of being satisfied but not overfull. We’ll miss everyone this year, but I am so looking forward to the change.

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