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How can I make healthy Thanksgiving dishes?

Marjorie Nolan Cohn
Nutrition & Dietetics
Try preparing this year’s Thanksgiving feast with these cooking tips to reduce the fat, calories, and sodium.
  • Cook veggies quickly by steaming or stir-frying to preserve the vitamins and minerals.
  • Use different herbs, vinegar, tomatoes, onions and/or fat-free or low-fat sauces or salad dressings in lieu of oil and butter.
  • Replace salt with herbs and spices or some of the salt-free seasoning mixes. Use lemon juice, citrus zest or hot chilies to add flavor.
  • Canned, processed and preserved vegetables often have very high sodium content. Look for “low-sodium” veggies or try the frozen varieties. Compare the sodium content on the Nutrition Facts label of similar products (for example, different brands of tomato sauce) and choose the products with less sodium. If you buy canned, rinse veggies under cold water to reduce the level of sodium.
  • Choose whole grain for part of your ingredients instead of highly refined products. Use whole-wheat flour, oatmeal and whole cornmeal. Whole-wheat flour can be substituted for up to half of all-purpose flour. For example, if a recipe calls for 2 cups of flour, try 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup minus 1 tablespoon whole-wheat flour.
  • In baking, use plain fat-free or low-fat yogurt or fat-free or low-fat sour cream.
  • Another way to decrease the amount of fat and calories in your holiday recipes is to use fat-free milk or 1% milk instead of whole or reduced-fat (2%) milk. For extra richness, try fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk.
Holiday Stuffing Serves 1
Counts as one optional snack and three optional condiments.

1 packet Medifast Multi-Grain Crackers
1 cube chicken or vegetable bouillon
4-5 oz boiling water
1 Tbsp onion, chopped
2 Tbsp celery, chopped
1⁄4 tsp poultry seasoning, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste

Crush the packet of Medifast Multi-Grain Crackers in a small mixing bowl. In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, crush bouillon cube and mix with water, onions, and celery; cook this mixture in microwave 1–2 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add poultry seasoning to taste (up to 1⁄4 tsp). Mix well, adding additional water to achieve desired consistency. Blend bouillon and vegetables with Medifast Crackers.

Cal 79 | Fat 1g | Chol 1.0mg | Carb 15g | Pro 2.5g
Ximena Jimenez
Nutrition & Dietetics
The first strategy to have healthy Thanksgiving dishes is to make a list.
  • Make most of your dishes baked, broiled or roasted
  • Limit your number of desserts; have a fruit salad and a pumpkin pie
  • Use whole grain bread or rice for the stuffing
  • Have a variety of vegetable as side dishes and prepare them with olive oil and your favorite spices.
  • Don't forget to enjoy your family, friends and food!
As you plan your Thanksgiving-day grocery list, keep in mind healthy ingredients can make your family's favorite recipes tasty and good for you, too:
  • For dips, sauces and pie toppings, consider options like salsa, plain yogurt or lite whipped topping.
  • Substitute Greek yogurt or applesauce for oil in baked goods.
  • Try fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
  • Use low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth in your mashed potatoes to add flavor and lighten holiday fat content.
  • Top casseroles with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
  • Choose reduced-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.
  • Use whole-grain bread for stuffing or wild rice as a side dish.
  • Pack your shopping cart with plenty of fresh vegetables such as sweet potatoes, winter squash, broccoli, carrots and green beans. Apples, cranberries and pears combine easily for a tasty salad, fruit crisp or as a turkey topping.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.