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What are some recipe and food tips for a healthier Thanksgiving?

Here are some easy tips that allow you to enjoy a nutritious, delicious and calorie savvy holiday meal celebration:
  • Consider stuffing the turkey with citrus, like oranges, lemons and limes
  • Create a wild rice and vegetable stuffing rich in nutrients and fiber
  • Use healthier oils like olive oil and vegetable oils in lieu of butter, margarine
  • Swap out the cream ingredient in recipes, and use evaporated skim milk and Greek low-fat yogurt in recipes
  • Start the meal with a healthy soup made from root vegetables, and a salad dressed with a balsamic/olive oil dressing
  • Only serve salad, vegetables and fruit family style on the table
  • Use mini marshmallows spaced out on top of the sweet potato casserole instead of large ones and add apple butter or unsweetened applesauce to reduce butter and fat in the recipe
  • Replace the typical rich green bean casserole topped with fried onions, with string beans steamed over garlic
  • Poach pears or bake apples for dessert and create “mini” desserts with dark chocolate for portion-controlled, healthier treats  
  • Use smaller utensils, plates and tall skinny glasses to create visual food presentations that seem larger
  • Make low calorie hot chocolate with pure cocoa and powdered non fat milk
  • Serve tea and flavored waters instead of alcoholic beverages
Vandana  R. Sheth
Nutrition & Dietetics

Healthy Tips for Thanksgiving:

  • Just because you are busy all day preparing for the big holiday meal does not mean that you skip other meals. Enjoy a good breakfast and eat throughout the day to keep your energy level up and avoid overeating
  • Pace yourself through the holiday gatherings and focus on quality time spent with family/friends rather than on the food alone
  • Use the "Choose My Plate" icon as a visual cue as to types of foods and portions everyday including the holidays. For instance, fill half your plate with colorful fall fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of your plate turkey/lean protein and 1/4 of your plate with carbohydrates (bread, potato, etc.)
  • Be creative and tweak traditional recipes to make them healthier
  • Plan an activity that is physically active such as a family walk after the holiday meal
  • Remember that all foods can fit into a healthy diet. The key is enjoy a variety, balance and practice portion control

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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.