The countdown to the long-awaited Thanksgiving Day meal has started.
Don’t fret. You still have time to plan your menu and shopping list. Use a folder or notebook to organize your recipes, coupons and to-do/shopping lists.
And it’s not too early to call, text or email friends and relatives to start confirming arrival times and who’s bringing certain menu items or supplies.
By the way, it’s a good idea to check area grocery store holiday hours. This will save time and gasoline if you forget an item on your shopping list or run out of something. Instead of driving from store to store, you will already know which location is open.
Also, the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line will be available again this year. The number is 1-800-BUTTERBALL or (800) 288-8372.
Dates and hours are:
* 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Nov. 1–22
* 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 23–24
* 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Nov. 25–26
* 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Nov. 27
* 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thanksgiving
* 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Nov. 29 to Dec. 2
* 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Christmas Eve
Be sure to glance at food safety guidelines on www.fightbac.org, too. It doesn’t hurt to review safety tips, even if you have a lot of experience with cooking and meal preparation.
Plus, you can find games and activities for children. It’s a great way to keep them busy and educate them at the same time.
If children need something to munch on before the meal is ready, carrot and celery sticks, sliced strawberries and other fruits and veggies are great nutritious snack options.
If you’re concerned about maintaining a healthy weight during this season, free help is available. The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension “Zero Weight Gain Holiday Challenge” is Nov. 18 through Jan. 3.
How can this help? The seven-week challenge offers tips on how to prevent weight gain and stay fit during the busy holiday season.
During the challenge, participants will receive two messages and a lower-calorie recipe each week. The tips are designed to help people survive and thrive in spite of all the temptations to overeat and be inactive.
The challenge covers general topics on:
* Managing your environment to reduce overeating and promote physical activity
* Choosing better food when eating
* Making physical activity easier
Register by visiting: http://blog.extension.uga.edu/zeroweightgain. Information from last year’s challenge is also available on the website.
Sandra Stringer is a nutrition educator with the UGA Cooperative Extension office in Hall County. She may be contacted at 770-535-8290. Her column appears biweekly on Wednesdays and on gainesvilletimes.com/life.