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Cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time because of the pandemic? Here are some tips

But, wait. What if you really don’t know how to cook? We spoke with nutritionist, Bekah Dewitt, who gives tips to all the first-time chefs.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — With all the risks that come with traveling and large family gatherings this year during the pandemic, some of you might find yourselves cooking a Thanksgiving dinner for the first time as you stay at home.

Our Sydney Stallworth tells us some tips to make it through this year. 


Our reporter says, "I don’t know about you, but I’m used to pulling up to eat at my family’s house during the holidays. Sure, I might bring along a side or two to share. But, preparing a full holiday meal is something I’m definitely new to. During the pandemic, a lot of people are going to be in this same position. I spoke with a nutritionist to get some tips on how to make it work."

We met with Bekah DeWitt, a dietitian and nutritionist with Nutrition LLC. in Huntsville. She tells our reporter, “Don’t give up if it doesn’t turn out right-- you've got to keep at it!” 

But, wait. What if you really don’t know how to cook? Bekah DeWitt says,“ For those first time chefs out there, a lot of us are staying home… I would say be adventurous and don’t be scared. Don’t be scared to make mistakes either.”  

Consider making a few adjustments to be sure your meal is tasty and healthy. 

DeWitt says, “Healthy holiday cooking-- anything that’s loaded with vegetables... You know using less butter, switching to olive oil. Or adding a few nuts on top of the sweet potatoes, instead of marshmallows. There’s all kinds of tricks you can do.”

It’s important to know this year might involve some trial and error. But, Bekah DeWitt says not to try to ‘go it alone’. The best way to get through it is to invite your immediate family to join you in the kitchen. She adds, “This would be a perfect time to do it, when you aren’t traveling and everyone is staying home. But, yes involving the kids, giving them things they can do. There are some recipes that call for putting a food in a bag and mashing it up. Kids really like to do that.” 

You can use this time to teach your older kids about kitchen safety. DeWitt  says, “Peeling potatoes or carrots and making sure you away from yourself.” She adds, “Food borne pathogens and things like that. What temperature to cook meat, how to store food correctly… That’s another life skill you can teach them as well.” 

Good luck and remember it’s more about the time spent together, rather than the meal itself! 

Still need help?

If you'd like to connect with Bekah DeWitt, you can get in touch with her and Nutrition LLC. on her website and Facebook page.

Bekah DeWitt also suggests people in need of professional dieting and nutritional advice reach out to some of her colleagues. 

Julie Satterfeal works with 'chronic dieters' and can help you learn how to change your eating habits in a healthy and effective way. 

Tracy Roberts enjoys working with mothers and assisting them with healthy meal-prep options. Roberts can be reached at (256) 479-3925. 

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