Healthful Thanksgiving Eating Tips
by Caroline Hayes

Encouraging healthful eating is a rising trend in food habits. Traditional Thanksgiving dishes can be high in fat, sodium and cholesterol. One doesnít have to be a lettuce eater to enjoy a healthy turkey day. There are alternatives to fatty pies and gravy dishes.

            For starters, instead of serving a fatty cheese tray, choose shrimp cocktail. Shrimp offers a healthy dose of protein and is low in saturated fat. It is high in cholesterol, however. Serve vegetables and a dip; use low-fat sour cream in dips. Chips and salsa are healthful, as salsa contains virtually no fat. If you're feeling really creative, use a variety of fruits and vegetables to make a "turkey." (See photo at right.)

            For side dishes, serve lightly seasoned, broiled asparagus drizzled with non-fat vinaigrette. If asparagus isnít a favorite choice, any green vegetable will provide the same type of nutrients. Green veggies provide Vitamin A and C, fiber, folic acid, calcium and fiber. Cranberries are low in fat and high in vitamin C, but watch the sugar in the additional ingredients such as Jell-o. Beware of the butter saturated sweet potatoes, instead serve a baked potato or look online for a low-fat mashed potato recipe.

       For the main dish, serve a casserole. If youíre thinking of a three-cheese tuna casserole, donít. Think vegetables; add turkey to keep the Thanksgiving tradition alive. Turkey is low in fat, high in vitamin B and has high amounts of protein. Make sure to remove the fatty skin. Also, dark meat has more calories than light meat.

Gravy and stuffing contain high fat because they tend to be made with turkey fat. Use a fat strainer to separate the fat from juices and use cornstarch or flour instead of butter for thickening. Get creative by using spices or wine for added flavor instead of fatty parts of the turkey.



Click on photo for larger image.

Other tips for a healthier or ďlighterĒ Thanksgiving:

v     Eat smaller portions

v     Buy a smaller turkey than you would

v     Donít make food the entire focus of the day. Talk about what Thanksgiving is, what it means, when it began.

v     Snack throughout the day so that you donít gorge yourself at dinner.

v     Bellies may be full but take a walk after dinner instead of the usual pie and coffee bit. This still allows for families to interact with each other.