Re-Thinking the Thanksgiving Feast
November is a time to celebrate thankfulness; however the holiday has turned into more of a gluttonous feast of food at times. Butter, cream, salt, and sugar do not have to be the centerpieces of your Thanksgiving meal. Try some healthier twists on traditional Thanksgiving food.
- Use a turkey breast rather than the whole bird if you’re hosting a smaller gathering.
- Stuff the turkey cavity with halved onions, halved apples, and herbs such as sage, thyme, and/or rosemary.
- Spray the outside of the turkey with nonstick oil spray rather than rubbing with butter.
- Cook the turkey with the breast down to keep it moist so you can limit the gravy.
- Remove the outer skin before eating, and choose the white meat over the dark, if possible.
- Use some of the starchy water, from boiling the potatoes, to mash with the potatoes along with a small amount of butter and skim milk.
- Add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, fat-free sour cream, roasted garlic, and/or herbs to the potatoes as you mash them for added flavor.
- Add some pureed, cooked cauliflower, parsnips, or turnips for more tasty nutrition.
- Make mashed sweet potatoes alongside the mashed potatoes, and serve them in a bowl together so each scoop gets some of each type of potato.
- Roast a variety of root vegetables (i.e. turnips, parsnips, etc.) and glaze them with apple cider and cinnamon, and top with chopped walnuts for a uniquely sweet flavor.
- To avoid soaking up the fat drippings, bake stuffing in a casserole dish separate from the turkey.
- Use recipes that include rice and other grains as the base of the stuffing, in place of sausage or bacon.
Green Bean Casserole:
- Use lighter versions of the ingredients, such as reduced-fat and/or lower-sodium cream of mushroom soup, frozen green beans, reduced-fat cheese, and a smaller amount of french-fried onions.
- Make green beans almandine for an elegant, yet lighter twist on the casserole.
- Make your own cranberry sauce rather than using the high-sugar canned version.
- Use whole cranberries, and simmer with fruit juice and/or applesauce.
- Instead of the traditional cranberry sauce, consider roasting apples, pears, and cranberries with cinnamon and a small amount of brown sugar.
- Use a reduced-fat graham cracker crust rather than the traditional pie crust.
- Opt for a different pumpkin dessert, such as light pumpkin mousse or pumpkin muffins.
- Try a lightened pumpkin cream cheese dip with apple slices on the side.