Written by By Poppy Elworthy, CNN
Is Thanksgiving really the biggest day of the year for restaurants?
It was recently explored in a publicity stunt staged by Campus Foodfight , an organization which encourages college students to “eat less, work less and fight against the power of restaurants.”
In conjunction with the University of Michigan Health System and Snapchat , the event dangled a 40-pound food-dinner challenge before college students across the US. Students were asked to “eat as much of the sponsored feast as they could” by accumulating a certain number of calories and step counts.
Six key facts about Thanksgiving (that will actually keep you from overeating)
When in doubt, opt for dairy
The challenge came at a tough time for students preparing for the actual Thanksgiving celebration, when so many of us indulge in a smorgasbord of side dishes, desserts and alcohol.
The solution: eat as much fruit and vegetables as possible.
Watch out for pile of multigrain rolls
A lot of students won’t have heard of food orgainzes before, as Campus Foodfight was on target with this campaign. Colleges are especially popular foodie destinations — the University of Michigan Food Fight is part of an annual food event on campus.
In its first year, the event drew 2,000 participants and 15,000 steps in total, according to organizers.
Scholl’s ice cream latte contains a hefty 1,500 calories (and more!)
Raising awareness of healthy food choices at college festivals is a good strategy, according to a statement from Susan Birch, registered dietitian and associate director of Health Services at the University of Michigan Health System.
“It’s just having an awareness about the importance of eating right at a time when people can eat as much as they want,” Birch said.
Whether or not the campaigns will have an impact remains to be seen, but a recent survey commissioned by Campus Foodfight indicates there are some underlying causes to the apparent national holiday overeating problem.
82% of surveyed students consider the holiday to be a long holiday
More than a third of college students describe Thanksgiving as the day they eat most of their typical Thanksgiving meal
Nearly 50% consume 10 or more kinds of food to feed their friends and family
1 / 15 Credit: Charles MacnicolThe upside of all that eating — we have single-serving bags of pretzels.
Two-thirds of the people questioned described the turkey as their main holiday food
57% said they did something during the day to “reward themselves” for eating healthy
70% of the students surveyed say they plan to eat a similar meal this year as last year — but the gap between white and Hispanic students grows
Americans are also unwittingly taking advantage of pumpkin spice — 91% of respondents said they are aware of the trend. “However, only 55% of students (are) able to make pumpkin a part of their holiday traditions,” the survey found.