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Menu for a Healthy Thanksgiving

by Rosanne Ullman | November 22, 2015
 Daniel Troutman Photography for Getty Images
Daniel Troutman Photography for Getty Images

This is the week that ruins you for the rest of the year, right? That isn't necessary. You know you’re going to have the pumpkin pie, so slice a small piece and forgive yourself. For the rest of the meal, try these tips for keeping the calorie count under control.

Salad. Any mix of leafy greens is a great first course to fill you up a little before you dig into the main attraction. Throw in some raw carrots, yellow peppers, onion, cucumber and red cabbage, and leave out the cheese and croutons.

Soup. If you’re able to resist pumpkin pie, reward yourself with pumpkin soup! Mix a can of pumpkin puree with 2 cups of vegetable broth, 1 cup fat-free milk, 1/2 cup water, some onion and a little cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat to a boil and then simmer.

Turkey. Instead of using butter, you can save fat and calories by rubbing herbs mixed with a little olive oil under and over the skin. For moisture and a fruity twist, slice an orange in half and stuff it inside the bird or baste the turkey with orange juice.

Stuffing. Consider preparing your stuffing outside the turkey to avoid the fat drippings; you can make it the night before to save time on Thanksgiving Day. Keep it healthy with whole grain rice instead of bread chunks. Cook 18 ounces of whole grain rice in 5 cups of water combined with some chopped onion, garlic and celery heated in 1/2 cup chicken broth. When rice is cooked, toss with 1 cup dried fruit mix blended into 1/4 cup orange juice and 1 cup slivered almonds heated in a little olive oil until crisp.

Gravy. For a low-calorie gravy you can include in your “sensible eating” plan, stir 2 cups of unsalted turkey stock into your pan drippings on the stovetop for 5 minutes on medium heat. Pour the mixture through a strainer, and add 2 more cups of stock plus a little sage and thyme and bring the mixture to a simmer until you’ve reduced it to 3 cups. Blend 1 cup of fat-free milk with 1/4 cup cornstarch, and pour this mixture into your stock mixture. Bring gravy to a boil and stir until desired thickness.

Sweet potatoes. Swap out ordinary sweet potatoes for a tasty casserole. Whip 3.5 pounds of steamed, tender sweet potatoes with an egg, honey, nutmeg, ginger and salt—no need for butter to make them creamy. Top with crunchy pecans mixed with a little brown sugar, and bake for 40 minutes.

Creamed corn. Coconut will give your corn a creamy texture without caloric overload. Simmer 2 cups frozen corn combined with a can of coconut milk. Season with salt and pepper, and continue to cook for 15 minutes. Once the mixture has reached the desired consistency, mix in some parsley, red pepper flakes and scallions.

Asparagus. Drizzle lemon juice onto your steamed asparagus (or green beans) and place the veggies on your plate right next to the creamed corn. Then you won’t need Hollandaise sauce and can apply those saved calories to dessert. 

Bread. Instead of buttery biscuits, grab a loaf of whole grain bread, warm and slice!

Dessert. Can you be satisfied with a bowl of melon? Berries with yogurt? If so, great. But this is Thanksgiving, and indulging in a piece of pie or a few cookies is something to be thankful for ;). 

Happy Thanksgiving to our U.S. Healthy Hairdressers!

Sources: MayoClinic,com, Greatist.com, SparkPeople.com, BodyBuilding.com

 

 

 

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