Planning A Healthy Thanksgiving
Planning a healthy Thanksgiving is easy and affordable. When we think of this
feast day, we think of foods laden with rich gravies, sugar filled desserts and
heavy dressings. I offer up some "alternative answers" and find substitutes for
these Thanksgiving table favorites that are high in processed sugar, saturated
fats and cholesterol.
Rosemary and Garlic Roasted Turkey
1 whole turkey (10 to 12 pounds)
6 to 8 garlic cloves
2 large lemons, halved
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
Cut six to eight small slits in turkey skin insert garlic between the skin and
meat. Squeeze two lemon halves inside the turkey and leave them inside. Squeeze
remaining lemon over outside of turkey. Spray the turkey with nonstick cooking
spray; sprinkle with rosemary and sage. Place on a rack in a roasting pan. Bake,
uncovered, at 325 degrees F for 1 hour. Cover and bake 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours
longer or until a meat thermometer reads 185 degrees F. Serving: 8-10.
Super Squash Soup
1 red onion chopped fine
2 cups chicken stock
2 cups pumpkin puree
pinch of finely chopped ginger
dash of fat free milk or milk alternative (soy, rice, almond)
pinch of cinnamon
Prepare: Saute onions until tender. Add chicken stock and pumpkin puree and
ginger. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add milk (alternative) and cinnamon.
Homemade Gravy without the fat
You can make gravy from your turkey drippings but only use the drippings that
are not fatty. You can see the fat floating on the top of the drippings. Skim
that fat off with a table spoon before you make your gravy. After you skim off
the fat on the turkey drippings then boil the drippings and add a cup of water
mixed with corn starch. Mix the ingredients until they are thick like gravy.
Low Fat Gravy
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mushrooms
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cups reduced-sodium fat-free beef or chicken broth, divided
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Prepare: In a saucepan, saute onion, mushrooms and parsley in 1/4 cup broth
until vegetables are tender. Combine cornstarch, pepper and 1/2 cup of broth;
stir until smooth. Add to pan with the remaining broth. Bring to a boil,
stirring occasionally: boil for 2 minutes. Serving: 2 cups.
Orange Zest Mashed Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are a wonderful low calorie, low glycemic alternative to white
potatoes when prepared properly.
4 medium sweet potatoes
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup hot milk (or milk alternative such as soy, almond, rice or fat free milk)
1 tsp olive oil
2 tsp orange zest
Prepare: cook sweet potatoes until tender. Peel and transfer to bowl. Stir in 1
cup pumpkin puree. Mash with fork until smooth. Stir in milk and splash in olive
oil. Add orange zest and serve. Serves 6-8.
Fresh Fruit Compote
Fresh fruit is great part of any Thanksgiving meal. Fruit represents abundance
and it is a great source of vitamins and fiber. Consider melons, grapefruit,
oranges, apples, cherries, apricots, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or
any fruit you would like and cut them into bite size pieces. Mix them all
together to make a tasty fruit salad. You can cut and squeeze one lemon over the
fruit. As an addition, add dried cranberries, acai berries or a handful of
chopped walnuts, almond slivers or mini carob bits.
Fat Free Pumpkin Pie
1 cup dry bread crumbs
1 small Sugar pumpkin (2 lbs. size)
1 1/2 cup Pumpkin, canned
4 Egg whites
2/3 cup Sugar (or sugar alternative such as agave or stevia)
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon Ginger
1 teaspoon Finely grated fresh ginger root
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 1/4 cup Fat free evaporated milk
Crust Preparation: Spray 9" pie plate with vegetable cooking spray. Scatter
crumbs evenly pressing into plate. Spray crumbs with spray & bake crust at 350
degrees F. for 10-15 minutes until dry and lightly brown. Cool on rack.
Filling Preparation: If using fresh pumpkin, rinse, stem, and halve pumpkin.
Scrape out the seeds and cut into 2" chunks. Using paring knife, remove skin &
place pumpkin in large baking dish. Add 1/2 c water & cover dish tightly with
Bake at 350 degrees F. for on hour, until soft, checking to make sure that water
has not evaporated, adding more if needed. Cool and puree pumpkin in food
Scrape cooked fresh pumpkin or canned pumpkin into bowl then whisk in egg
whites. Whisk in sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg & evaporated milk, one
ingredient at a time, whisking smooth between each addition.
Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 350 degree F until filling is set, 1 hour.
Cool on rack. Refrigerate if prepared more than a few hours in advance of
A Word About Eating
Yes, it is a holiday but that does not mean you have to go into an
uncontrollable spiral! Be aware of your calorie intake. If you are unsure about
the calories in your meal, I feel it is essential to learn this amazing tool for
effective weight loss. Record in your ledger or journal the calories of
everything you put in your mouth for one week. Be in tune to the total calories
you consume daily, and make an effort to replace high-fat foods with low-calorie
ones like vegetables and fruits.
Discipline applies to any matter in life. I cannot stress enough how discipline
is the second most important aspect in weight control or achieving any kind of
success in your life! It is the secret to the most effective, efficient and well
strategic plan you can give yourself! Being successful, losing weight,
maintaining relationships are not tasks that come easy for most people. They are
all things we must work hard on creating, keeping and maintaining! (Why do you
think diet plans have *Results not typical with an asterisks? Because most
people have a lack of discipline). You probably already have some forms of
discipline in your life. You pay your bills by a certain time, you show up for
work every day, often plan your finances, your meals or walk your dog. These are
all disciplines in your life already. Some of us need a little more in our lives
than others. The whole idea with these suggestions is to show you just how much
you are eating, how many calories you are consuming and to get you into a
pattern, which will set you up for great success!
Portion control does not have to go out the window on the holiday. This was a
hard lesson for me to learn. As a dancer and someone who always worked out, I
felt I had my portioning under control. I eventually learned why I would get
that bloated and discomfort feeling after eating. It was my portion size. Sure I
was active and exercising but as I aged and my metabolism slowed, my portions
were not changing with the rest of me! Once I understood the discipline behind
this, it changed my life!
If it all goes out the window in wild abandon, please, forego the guilt and take
solace that although you had one day of calorie binging, it is better than doing
this everyday. Guilt has never served anyone in any capacity. Making these tips
a lifestyle, over time, is the key.
Andrew Pacholyk, MS, L.Ac
Therapies for healing
mind, body, spirit
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