5 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

The countdown to Thanksgiving is on! It is the most food oriented holiday the U.S. celebrates. We have entire cooking shows and hotlines dedicated to making a turkey, side dishes and desserts.

I am a firm believer that you can make over your favorite Thanksgiving dishes in a healthy way and not miss a thing. Here are my 5 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving:

Tip 1:

Did you know you don’t have to make “cauliflower” mashed potatoes to eat your mashed potatoes without guilt? You can still have your mashed potatoes without the butter and sour cream and not know the difference.

After you boil the potatoes, reserve the cooking liquid and use it instead of the milk, cream or butter you normally use to achieve the consistency of the mashed potatoes you like. Next, taste the potatoes and add salt, pepper and a touch of olive oil to the seasoning level you prefer. If you want a bit more richness, you can always top them with caramelized onions.

I have served these potatoes to many people and they can’t believe they don’t contain butter. Note: You can also substitute sweet potatoes or yams for white potatoes if you prefer.

Tip 2

A roux is equal parts fat to flour and is used to thicken sauces, soups and gravies. To make a roux healthier, just substitute olive oil for the butter. You and no one else will notice the difference.

Tip 3

Substitute vegetable broth for chicken and/or beef broth to lower the saturated fat and cholesterol in any dish. Plus, if you have vegans or vegetarians for dinner, they can eat the dish too, providing it does not contain chicken, turkey or beef. Vegans and vegetarians are not rabbits and do want something more satisfying and filling than salad for Thanksgiving dinner.

Tip 4

A simple way to add flavor and richness to vegetables is to roast them. Cut any preferred type of vegetable, sweet potatoes, parsnips, onions, squash, mushrooms or whatever into large chunks, coat them with olive oil, salt, pepper, dried rosemary or dried oregano and put them on a baking sheet.

Roast them in a 400 degree oven for 20 – 30 minutes or longer, depending on the size of the cut of the vegetable. After 10 -15 minutes, turn the veggies over so they roast evenly on the other side.  Use a fork to test the softness of the vegetable to know when they are done.

Roasting brings out the carbohydrates of a vegetable, so they will be sweet, delicious and satisfying. People will actually WANT to eat their veggies!

Tip 5

Adding sweet vegetables such as sweet potatoes, roasted squash, butternut squash soup or roasted carrots, will help cut down and satisfy your sweet cravings.

I hope these tips help you have a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving!



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