Lori Murchie, RDN, LRD
Over the past several months, many of us have recognized that spending time with other people who are important in our lives is an essential part of life and well-being. We may be considering how to do this safely for Thanksgiving this year. This annual holiday often involves getting together with family or friends and sharing in a meal or many meals together. Holiday meals may offer challenges to people who want to make healthy choices.
Thanksgiving and moderation are two words that usually are not used in the same sentence. Often it is found that many overeat at Thanksgiving. We are presented with so many choices of foods that we may not prepare or be served on a regular basis. Many of the items are family favorites that have become traditional and nostalgic. We want to experience the pleasure of eating these foods that have become synonymous with a Thanksgiving meal. Whether it is turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, pie, or other favorites, we all have foods that we have come to expect at Thanksgiving.
Many of these menu items will meet the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and in fact are nutritious foods. Turkey, for example, is a low-fat protein source. Sweet potatoes are low fat (unless fat is added in cooking) and a great source of vitamin A. Other items may not meet the guideline that calls for limiting foods high in added sugars, fat or sodium. It would be wise to consider those items such as desserts, gravy, creamy salads, high fat appetizers and dips, punch, ciders and other beverages that are high in calories and not nutrient dense. Staying within individual calorie limits becomes challenging when presented with several tempting choices. If a high calorie or high fat item is chosen to be consumed, you may want to have a smaller serving size of that item.
The Dietary Guidelines advise to Make Every Bite count. It is suggested that you eat a light, low calorie meal or snacks prior to the main meal that offers so many wonderful choices. It may be a good time to set out a vegetable and/or fruit platter for you or your guests to increase the number of fruit and vegetable servings in the day. This will fill you up on lower calorie foods and you will not feel so hungry when the meal is served. In turn, you will likely not fill your plate as full. Drinking larger amounts of water in advance of the meal is also filling and will also aid in digestion after you enjoy the meal. You get the idea. You can enjoy your favorite holiday foods, just lighter versions of them or less of them.
I would encourage giving moderate serving sizes more thought to enable you to maintain or improve a healthy lifestyle. Conscious decisions that you make today will affect your long-term health. Foremost, enjoy the company that you are with. Remain thankful for what you have, as the Thanksgiving holiday calls on us to do. You may also want to consider sharing with others that are hungry or have food insecurity.
Healthy Alternative Side Dishes
Slow-Cooker Sausage & Apple Stuffing
This sausage and apple stuffing is extra-moist and full of classic fall flavors. Using a slow cooker makes this side dish even easier and saves on oven space. Nutrition Facts: heart healthy, low calorie, high fiber, dairy free, diabetes appropriate, egg free, low sodium, nut-free, low added sugars.
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 c. chopped celery
8 oz. sweet Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled
1 ¼ tsp. poultry seasoning
½ tsp. ground pepper
¼ tsp. salt
1 lb. stale whole-grain bread, cubed (about 8 cups)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and chopped
1 c. low-sodium chicken broth
Step 1: Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring, until soft, about 10 minutes. Add sausage, poultry seasoning, pepper and salt; cook, stirring, until no pink is visible, 6 to 8 minutes more.
Step 2: Transfer to a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add bread, apple and broth; stir to coat well. Cover and cook on High for 2 hours.
Nutrition Facts: Serving Size: 1/2 cup; Per Serving: 136 calories; protein 6.6g; carbohydrates
15.9g; dietary fiber 2.8g; sugars 3.6g; fat 5.2g; saturated fat 1.1g; cholesterol 4.3mg; vitamin a
iu 73.5IU; vitamin c 1.2mg; folate 28.7mcg; calcium 42.7mg; iron 1mg; magnesium 27.3mg;
potassium 169.3mg; sodium 240.3mg; thiamin 0.1mg; added sugar 2g.
Recipe provided by eatingwell.com
Skinny Loaded Mashed Potatoes
This mashed potato recipe is amazingly delicious! Probably one of the best low-calorie ones you’ll ever taste and the perfect substitute for a healthy Thanksgiving meal.
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 15 minutes
Makes 6 cups total (12-½ cup servings)
• 1½ pounds baking potatoes, washed, peeled
and chopped into chunks
• 6 slices bacon
• ¾ c. your favorite light ranch dressing
• ½ c. light cheddar cheese, shredded
• 1 tbsp. chives, chopped, or scallions (green part only)
• Fresh ground black pepper and salt, to taste
1. Add potatoes to a medium saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and cook until soft (10-15 minutes). Do not overcook. Drain potatoes into a colander and place drained potatoes back in saucepan.
2. In the meantime, cook bacon: Line a plate with several paper towels. Place six bacon strips on paper. Cover with several paper towels. Cook in microwave for 4-5 minutes, until crispy. Add cooked bacon strips to clean paper towels and blot. Crumble bacon and set aside.
3. To hot cooked potatoes, add ranch dressing and smash potatoes with a fork. Mix well. Stir in crumbled bacon, cheese, chives and a little salt and black pepper, to taste. Turn flame to medium-low and continue to stir and mash potatoes. Heat until all ingredients are hot. Add more salt and pepper, if desired.
4. Recipe can be doubled, tripled or cut in half.
5. Store in refrigerator until ready to use. Will keep for a few days. When ready to eat, heat in microwave until warmed.
Healthy Benefits: Potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates that can supply energy. They’re low in calories and contain no fat. They contain more potassium than any other fresh vegetable, even more than bananas! Potatoes also contain vitamins C and B6.
Skinny Facts – ½ cup serving: 84 calories, 3g fat, 1g sat. fat, 4g protein, 11g carbs, 1g fiber, 220mg sodium, 1g sugar.
This recipe was printed from The Skinny Kitchen.