The traditional Thanksgiving Day meal features a glorious turkey as the centerpiece, accompanied by splendid offerings of soups, salads, gravies, stuffing, potatoes, and various other side-dishes, desserts and delicacies.
It is entirely possible to consume as much as 3,000 calories while enjoying a Thanksgiving Day meal.
For the health conscious American, and for those with health challenges such as diabetes and heart disease, navigating the food choices available on Thanksgiving Day can be very difficult.
The Mayo Clinic offers a variety of appealing and enjoyable menu suggestions for preparing a healthier version of a traditional Thanksgiving feast:
Soups and Salads:
Wild rice mushroom soup
Apple salad with figs and almonds
Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts
Turkey and Stuffing:
Herb-rubbed turkey with au jus
Roasted turkey breast with fruit stuffing
Stuffing with cranberries
Wild rice (or quinoa) stuffing
Honey-glazed sweet potatoes
Garlic mashed potatoes
Cauliflower “mashed potatoes”
Acorn squash with apples
Pumpkin cream cheese dip
Tasty apple pie
Rustic apple-cranberry tart
The suggested menu items offered by the Mayo Clinic are modified with ingredients to ensure low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, and low-calorie fare.
To get some of the Thanksgiving Day recipes offered by the Mayo Clinic, go to www.MayoClinic.org.
When it comes to sweets on Thanksgiving Day, there are a variety of sugar substitutes available which lower the calorie content of foods for those who are weight-conscious or diabetic. They may be used in cooking, baking, desserts, and drinks.
You can find these sugar supplements at most grocery stores. Be certain to read the labels of any substitutes you find to ensure that you know the most appropriate ways to use them.
Several additional methods of modifying traditional Thanksgiving Day dishes are available which help ensure they are made in the most healthful way possible:
-Substitute non-fat soups for dishes requiring full-fat ones.
-Instead of using cream or whole milk, use skim milk or chicken broth.
-Substitute a low-fat butter alternative whenever possible.
-Instead of using heavy whipping cream as topping, use light whipped topping.
-Low-salt or non-salt alternatives are ideal instead of regular salt.
It is estimated that approximately 14% of Americans will gain 5 to 10 pounds during the holiday season, starting on Thanksgiving Day and lasting through New Year’s Eve.
Though the majority of Americans will gain less than five pounds throughout the holiday season, “The bad news is that weight gained over the winter holidays isn’t lost the rest of the year,” according to Dr. Jack A. Yanovski, an investigator for the National Institute of Health’s Child Health and Human Development Department.
Being overweight can lead to many debilitating and even life threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many more.
Family and friends will enjoy sharing the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of a splendid Thanksgiving Day celebration, knowing that the preparation and planning was done with thoughtfulness, concern and caring.
This Thanksgiving Day, may all Americans express thankfulness for the gift of good health, and the inherent opportunity to maintain and improve it.
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare
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