Happy almost Thanksgiving! If you are reading this, congratulations on your efforts to get through Thanksgiving with your health goals in mind! All of your efforts will add up, so take some of these suggestions to heart and your heart (and thighs and stomach and immune system) will thank you for it.
1. Be a Wo/Man with a Plan. Before you embark on your Thanksgiving day, take a minute to decide what you are going to eat, indulge in or taste. If you take a few moments before you begin to really think and plan, you will set yourself up to be successful. Sometimes a little planning is all you need to get you through the day enjoying your meal and feeling good too!
2. Take Control with Portion Control. Remember to load up on steamed vegetables, salad and turkey breast. Limit the sides and desserts. Choose 2 tablespoons of 2 decadent sides to indulge in; keep the rest of your plate green and lean! Of course, you should enjoy your meal, but get leftovers out of the house or don’t take a doggie bag. Removing tempting indulgences will help you get back to your Nutritious Life on Friday!
3. Drink Up Up Up! Unwanted calories from beverages can undermine your work. Have a full glass of water or seltzer (with lemon) before the meal and match each glass of wine with a glass of water. Avoid the eggnog and fancy coffee drinks – those calories take the worst revenge and can plump you up, well…like a Thanksgiving turkey!
4. Heed the Need for Nutrient Density. Roasted chestnuts, a tablespoon of cranberries, roasted root vegetables, turkey breast, and a spoonful of winter squash are loaded with nutrition! Make sure you are getting these powerhouses in, in place of the stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn bread, which may be less healthful. Making these nutritious choices on Thursday will have you feeling proud and inspired to make better choices for the rest of the long weekend!
5. Get Up and Go. Rally the family for a 30 minute walk around the neighborhood, a game of touch football or a shake- your-tail-feathers dance-a-thon. Do the best you can to move during the day!
Remember: Listen to your body! Stop eating when you are slightly satisfied even if it seems to go against the spirit of “stuffing” on Thanksgiving. ENJOY your Thanksgiving — It is one meal that should be celebrated. Keep your nutritious life in the forefront of your mind and best of luck with your holiday efforts!
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon agave or honey
- 1 head endive, trimmed and sliced into half moon pieces
- 1 large head frisee, trimmed and torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 tablespoons dried cranberries
- 2 tablespoons raw pecan pieces
1. In a medium bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, and agave or honey. Add endive and frisee, toss to coat. Top with cranberries and pecans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 6.
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- 1 pound Brussels sprouts
- 3 – 4 shallots
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Trim the stem ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves, cut them in half, lengthwise. Peel shallots and quarter. Then toss Brussels sprouts and shallots in a large bowl with oil.
2. Transfer sprouts to a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until deep golden brown, crisp outside and tender inside, 40 to 45 minutes. Toss the pan half way through.
3. Transfer sprouts to a serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4.
Garlic and Lemon Haricots Verts
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 pound haricots verts or green beans, cleaned, ends removed
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
1. In a small saucepan, heat olive oil and garlic over low heat. Cook for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and allow garlic to sit in oil for an additional 5 minutes.
2. Bring a large saucepan filled with 1 inch of water to a boil. Lower a steamer basket filled with haricots verts or green beans into it, tightly cover pan, and steam for 4-5 minutes, until beans are crisp tender. Drain beans.
3. Remove garlic from butter and discard. Toss steamed beans with garlic-infused oil, lemon zest, and sea salt; serve hot. Serves 6.
Whipped Sweet Potato Casserole
- 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1 inch pieces
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 ½ teaspoons fleur de sel or sea salt
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup chopped pecans, divided
- 2 cups miniature marshmallows
1. Preheat oven to 375°. Place sweet potatoes in a pot, and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes or until very tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and let cool.
2. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Add sugar, butter, salt and vanilla. Mash sweet potato mixture with a potato masher. Fold in 1/4 cup pecans. Scrape potato mixture into an even layer in an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 20 minutes, top with remaining pecans and marshmallows and bake another 5 minutes or until golden. Serves 8.
- 1 16 to 18 pound turkey
- 1 tablespoon dried rosemary, crumbled
- 2 teaspoons ground sage
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme, crumbled
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- 1 ½ teaspoons pepper
- Kosher salt
- 1 can broth, for basting
1. Combine rosemary, sage, thyme, salt and pepper in small bowl. Rub all over turkey.
2. Roast turkey, uncovered, at 375°F, basting frequently with turkey or chicken broth. After 1 hour, baste and sprinkle with seasonings again, then make a tent with aluminum foil and cover breast loosely. Reduce heat to 325°F and continue roasting for another hour, basting occasionally.
3. Uncover breast and continue roasting until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest portion of the thigh registers 165°F. This will take about 90 to 110 minutes longer, depending upon the size of turkey and oven being used.
4. When turkey is golden brown and done, allow it to sit for 20 minutes to rest before carving. Don’t wait for the little plastic “pop-up” devices to pop, or it’s likely that the bird will be overdone and dry.
5. If you don’t own an instant read thermometer, test to see if turkey is cooked by inserting the tines of a large fork into the upper thigh. If juice is not pink, then turkey is done.
Wild Rice & Bulgur Stuffing
- 1 ½ teaspoons canola oil
- 3 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 onions, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 cup wild rice
- 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup bulgur
- 2 cups water
- ½ cup pecans
- ½ cup chopped fresh parsley
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Preparation: Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onions and garlic; sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in wild rice. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until rice is tender and liquid has been absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, place bulgur and water in a bowl. Let soak for 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350°F.
3. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool and chop coarsely.
4. Place raisins in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
5. Stir the soaked bulgur, pecans, raisins and parsley into the cooked wild rice. Season with salt and pepper. Serves 8.
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 (16 ounce) can pumpkin
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 can evaporated milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
1. Mix all ingredients in order given. Pour into well buttered baking dish. Bake 1 hour at 350 degrees; let cool 15 minutes. Marshmallows can be melted to cover. Serves 6.
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