Healthy Tweaks to Thanksgiving Classics
What foods come to mind when you think about the holiday season? Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pie…the list goes on. The only problem is that this time of year, moderation and healthy eating can sometimes take a backseat to classic comfort foods and satisfying a sweet tooth. Fortunately, our health coaches (who are registered dietitians) have ways to tweak classic recipes to make them healthier while still providing the same great flavors you know and love.
Cranberry sauce is a staple of a traditional holiday dinner. Whole cranberries are packed full of antioxidants, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, but a lot of people still settle for the gelatinized canned cranberry sauce that comes from a can. The canned sauce is typically high in sugar and retains very little of the fiber and vitamins that are naturally found in cranberries. Here’s a simple-but-delicious cranberry sauce recipe that is much lower in added sugar and higher in fiber that the canned version.
Healthy Holiday Cranberry Sauce
Combine a 1 pound bag of fresh cranberries, 1 cup of orange juice, ¼ cup of honey, a dash of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan. Heat on medium-high until the cranberries soften and the sauce reaches a boil. Simmer on medium heat for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to cool, and serve!
A Wild New Stuffing Recipe
Turkey stuffing is a signature side dish at many holiday meals, but many recipes call for white bread and pork sausage which are not the most nutritious ingredients. Try a wild rice and turkey stuffing instead! This recipe uses whole grains, which add fiber to your diet, and turkey, which is lower in saturated fat than traditional pork sausage.
Wild Rice and Turkey Stuffing
Cook 2 cups of wild rice according to package directions. In a separate pan, sauté together chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms, and celery. (You can use canned or frozen versions of these veggies.) Add in ½ pound of lean ground turkey, and continue to cook until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and add in the rice. Season with salt and pepper, and mix in a tablespoon of melted butter. Cover for 15 minutes before serving.
**Safety tip: Do not stuff your turkey before cooking it. Serve your stuffing as a separate side dish to help reduce the risk of food-borne illness.
The Key to a Crispy Turkey
A roasted turkey is often the centerpiece of holiday dinners. Everyone loves a tender turkey with crispy, golden brown skin. A lot of recipes call for placing pads of butter underneath the skin to make it golden and delicious, but this can add a lot of fat to an otherwise lean protein. Try using a salt and herb rub on your bird, and for every tablespoon of salt, add a teaspoon of baking soda. This will help to brown the skin and achieve ideal crispiness without the added fat.