Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Dress Up Your Thanksgiving Dinner with a Healthy Twist

Thanksgiving day is typically associated with juicy turkey, mom’s best side dishes, and grandma’s pumpkin pie. It’s a day dedicated to family, friends, and indulging in our favorite holiday foods. However, this day does not have to be as high in calories as most people think. Without getting rid of your traditional family favorites, you can implement some healthy twists to make your basic dishes nutritious as well as delicious!

Casseroles are common Thanksgiving dishes that are typically laden with fat and high in calories. However, with a couple of recipe twists, your casserole can slim down and still taste just as great. One way to do this is to substitute a vegetable casserole for a traditional, high-fat casserole. Vegetables are low in calories yet high in nutrients and thus great fillers for a traditional casserole.

Vegetable Casserole with a Twist:
- 2 cans French-style green beans
- 2 cans shoepeg corn
- 8 oz. low-fat sour cream
- 1 can 98% fat-free cream of celery soup
- 1 sleeve whole wheat Ritz crackers
- ¾ stick of softened butter
- 1 cup 2% grated cheddar cheese

1.    Preheat oven to 350°F.
2.    Drain the green beans and corn.
3.    Spread green beans evenly across bottom of 9x13 pan.
4.    Evenly distribute corn on top of green beans.
5.    In small bowl, mix sour cream and cream of celery soup together.
6.    Evenly distribute cream mixture over the corn.
7.    Place crackers in plastic bag and crumble.
8.    In separate bowl, melt butter and stir in grated cheese.
9.    Stir broken crackers into butter and cheese mixture until thoroughly covered.
10.    Distribute evenly over cream layer of casserole.
11.    Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
    (Recipe may be doubled by using a deeper 9x13 pan.)

In addition to a healthy casserole, you can twist other holiday recipes to be nutrient-rich, more healthful, and yummy. Check out the following healthy suggestions for traditional Thanksgiving favorites:
- Choose baked turkey instead of fried turkey or honey ham
- Choose baked sweet potatoes instead of candied yams
- Choose whole-wheat dinner rolls instead of cornbread
- Choose a vinaigrette salad dressing instead of a creamy salad dressing
- Choose a crust-less pumpkin pie instead of a pastry-crusted pie

Thanksgiving should be delicious and you should not have to deprive yourself but twisting up some recipes can provide you the same great taste for a lower calorie cost.

If you have a question for the dietitian, visit www.texashealth.org/askamy.

Amy Goodson
Registered Dietitian
Texas Health Ben Hogan Sports Medicine

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