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Emily Vaughn

As a college student, Katy Milkman played tennis and loved going to the gym. But when she started graduate school, her exercise routine started to flunk.

"At the end of a long day of classes, I was exhausted," Milkman says. "Frankly, the last thing I wanted to do was drag myself to the gym. What I really wanted to do was watch TV or read Harry Potter."

Out of all the Thanksgiving dishes Kim Yates has helped prepare for her large family over the years, one batch of mashed potatoes stands out clearly in her memory.

About 30 guests were gathered that year, at her sister's home in Palo Alto, Calif., and Yates had made a point of taking on responsibility for the mashed potatoes so that her young daughter Tessa (who was dealing with extreme food allergies to eggs, dairy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts and shellfish) would have at least one safe side dish to eat.