Healthy Harvest of Celebrations
brings memories of family gatherings, festive meals and wonderful aromas coming
from the kitchen. But did you know that a typical Thanksgiving or other festive
holiday meal can contain between 2,000 to 5,000 calories? Don’t despair! With
proper planning, you can enjoy your holiday feast with family and friends - and
still stay focused on your weight-loss and exercise goals.
are some healthy “weighs” to help you modify your holiday recipes, enabling
you to celebrate a delicious, guilt-free Thanksgiving feast without packing on
the pounds. Your taste buds, heart, arteries - and your guests - will thank you!
Make your Thanksgiving feast a celebration of the harvest by focusing on
vegetables, fruits and whole
grains. When properly prepared, they offer a colorful cornucopia filled with
flavor and nutrition. If you are invited as a guest, offer to bring a healthy,
nutritious vegetarian dish so you will have something you can enjoy without
guilt. Here are some simple suggestions:
ON! Dark orange vegetables such as squash, pumpkin and sweet potatoes
make perfect additions to a Thanksgiving feast. For an attractive presentation,
serve puree of squash or pumpkin soup in a hollowed-out pumpkin that has been
heated at 350°F for 20 minutes.
FOR THE WHOLE GRAIN! Why not try a grain-based salad for a change? Combine
cooked brown rice or whole wheat couscous with chopped peppers and scallions,
raisins or dried cranberries and apricots. Add a handful of chickpeas, some
minced dill or basil, and equal parts of extra-virgin olive oil and orange
juice. Season with salt and pepper.
CUISINE GET’S THE GREEN LITE! Serve steamed green beans or broccoli
topped with chopped red peppers, a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a drizzle of
extra-virgin olive oil and minced fresh dill. Top with a sprinkling of sesame
seeds, toasted almonds or walnuts.
MASHED TWO-TATOS: Combine 4 peeled, cut-up potatoes, 3 or 4 peeled, cut-up
sweet potatoes and 4 cloves of garlic in a saucepan. Cover with salted water and
boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and mash well. Add 1 tbsp.
extra-virgin olive oil and enough fat-free chicken broth or soy milk to moisten.
Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg. For extra color and flavor, add a 10 oz.
package of cooked, chopped spinach and mix well.
GLAZED CARROTS: In a saucepan, boil 2 lbs. baby carrots in boiling salted
water until tender-crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain well. Add 1 tsp. olive
oil, 1/2 cup jellied cranberry sauce, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. lemon or orange
juice, plus salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes longer, until nicely glazed and
piping hot, stirring occasionally.
Turkey is an excellent, low-fat choice for your meal. However, self-basting
turkeys have been injected with fat under the skin, so it’s best to avoid
these kinds. A 12 lb. turkey will serve 12 adults, with leftovers. Take a look
at some more turkey tips below:
defrost turkey on the kitchen counter. Instead, place the turkey in its original
wrappings on a tray in the refrigerator and calculate 24 hours for each 5 lbs.
of turkey. If it is not completely thawed when you are ready to prepare it,
place the wrapped turkey into a sink filled with ice-cold water. Be sure to
replace the cold water every half hour.
maximum flavor, season the turkey a day or two before cooking it. Squeeze the
juice from two oranges over the defrosted turkey, as well as inside its cavity.
Then, lift the skin and rub the meat with fresh garlic and your favorite herbs
and spices. Place additional slices of orange under the turkey skin to keep the
turkey moist during cooking. The turkey can be seasoned, covered and refrigerated
for up to two days.
the turkey on a V-shaped rack in a shallow roasting pan so that the drippings
can drain away during cooking. Lightly spray the rack and pan with nonstick
cooking spray. If using a disposable foil pan, buy the heavy-duty kind. Place
the roasting pan on a baking sheet to provide support so you won ’t burn
yourself trying to remove it from the oven.
prevent breast meat from drying out during cooking, cover turkey loosely with a
foil tent. Remove the foil during the last 30 to 45 minutes of cooking so the
turkey will brown. Roast the turkey with its skin on to keep the meat from
drying out, and instead of using the fatty drippings, baste turkey with fat-free
broth or fruit juice (orange, cranberry or apple) during cooking. Start roasting
it breast-side down, then turn it breast-side up for the last half hour. Remove
the skin when serving.
for doneness: Insert an instant-read or meat thermometer into the thickest
portion of the turkey’s inner thigh muscle. The temperature on the thermometer
should read 175° to 180°F when the turkey is completely cooked. A 10 to 12 lb.
turkey, without stuffing, will take about 3 to 3 1/2 hours to cook at 350°F.
Remove the turkey from the oven, cover with foil to keep it warm and let it
stand for 20 minutes for easier slicing. An electric knife makes carving easier.
If you remove the skin before serving, you will save about 5 grams of fat per
three-ounce portion. White meat, without the skin, is the lowest in fat.
Leftover turkey can be stored for a day or two in the refrigerator, or can be
frozen for 4 to 6 months. Remove meat from the carcass; refrigerate or freeze it
in meal-sized packages. Be sure to label and date the packages. The turkey
carcass can be used to make a terrific turkey broth. Place the carcass in a
large pot, cover with water, add cut-up onions, celery and carrots, bring to a
boil and simmer for 1 hour. Add salt and pepper.
can use the broth and some of the leftover turkey to make a terrific Turkey
Chowder (there is a recipe for broth, too)!
This year, don’t stuff the turkey - or yourself! Instead, bake the
stuffing in a separate casserole so it won’t absorb the fatty drippings from
the turkey during cooking.
Add some broth or water to the roasting pan and scrape up the browned
particles from the bottom. Pour the pan juices into a gravy separator - the fat
will rise to the top. Pour out the fat-free liquid from the spout at the bottom
of the cup. If you don’t have a gravy separator, pour the pan juices into a
container and place it in the freezer while you let the turkey rest before
carving it. The solid fat that congeals on the top of the pan juices can be
skimmed off and discarded. If desired, add a little cornstarch to the
defatted pan juices, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened.
Pumpkin pie is a traditional Thanksgiving dessert, but the crust is a major
source of fat and calories. Make a crisp, low-fat crust by combining 1/2 cup
graham wafer crumbs, 1/2 cup ginger snap crumbs, 2 tbsp. canola oil and 1 or 2
tbsp. orange juice. Bake 6 to 8 minutes at 350°F. You can reduce the fat
content in the filling by substituting evaporated skim milk or soy milk instead
of cream, and using egg beaters instead of eggs. One quarter cup of egg beaters
replaces each egg. Diabetics or those who are carb-challenged can replace the
sugar with Splenda. To save on carbs and
calories, omit the crust.
colorful fresh fruit platter is guaranteed to please your eye, palate - and
waistline! Include purple and green grapes, cut-up melons, kiwis, assorted
berries and mango slices.
Push yourself away from the table before you are more stuffed than the turkey
was! No buts about it - get off your butt and help the hostess with the dishes.
You’ll burn off some calories and also do a good deed.
the fork lift is NOT an aerobic exercise. Have a happy Thanksgiving and eat in
a fabulous finale to your holiday feast, try this terrific, fiber-packed fruit
crisp. You can use frozen berries directly from the freezer without defrosting
them first. For diabetics or those following a low-carb eating plan, substitute
granulated brown sugar Twin for sugar. Enjoy...
2 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 cups blueberries, strawberries or raspberries (fresh or frozen)
4 large apples, peeled, cored & sliced
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2/3 cup quick-cooking oats
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 tbsp. lite margarine or canola oil
oven to 375°F. Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Spread
evenly in a sprayed 9" deep pie plate. Combine topping ingredients and
carefully spread over filling. Bake at 375°F for 35 to 45 minutes, until
222 calories, 3.2 g total fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 g cholesterol, 50 mg sodium,
49 g carbohydrate, 7 g fiber, 3 g protein.