Healthy Thanksgiving Favorites
Thanksgiving is day to spend time with family and appreciate what we have in life. One the most important tips I can give you is that Thanksgiving Day, is still considered a “Day” and doesn’t mean we can eat whatever we want without paying for it later. Let’s address some of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes and make them healthier where you can enjoy them after bariatric surgery without making yourself sick or stall your weight loss.
The wonderful thing about turkey is that it’s a good lean protein. If served without the skin it will lower the fat even more. Calories and fat become an issue during preparation. Most of the time excess butter, oil, honey, maple syrup or a sugary glaze sneaks in and adds in things that make are protein packed turkey into something unhealthy. The solution is easy; use a low-fat/low-sodium broth, herbs and spices to add flavor. I have personally added apples or other citrus fruits to add moisture so that your turkey doesn’t dry out and provides an enticing flavor.
Green beans are a staple at most Thanksgiving dinners. However it is mostly served as green bean casserole, swimming in cream, butter and topped with fried onions. Green beans wrapped in bacon are another unhealthy favorite. We must change our mindset about this vitamin rich vegetable and prepare it in a better way. Try preparing a simple green bean sauté using a healthy fat like olive oil and adding flavor with lemon zest, garlic or other herbs.
Some would say that a Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without dressing. Dressing can be the down fall of our healthy thanksgiving menu. So let’s make our base for our dressing with whole wheat breadcrumbs, couscous, quinoa, or even brown rice. These items will provide protein and extra fiber to our dish. When flavoring we want to avoid excess fat and instead add herbs, spices, nut and vegetables. My personal favorite is to add flavor with dried cranberries, so then I can forgo the canned cranberry sauce that’s packed with sugar.
Pumpkin Pie at Thanksgiving dinner has become an American tradition. There are a few ways we can reduce sugar and fat from this tradition without sacrificing the taste. You can make your pie without the crust or substitute Splenda for sugar in the recipe. By making these changes you will cut the fat and calories by half and then you won’t feel guilty for indulging on this Thanksgiving delight. Attached below is a recipe that is a healthier version of classic pumpkin pie for your whole family to enjoy.
Light Crust less Pumpkin Pie Recipe
- 3⁄4 cup Splenda granular
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1⁄2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1⁄4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie mix, just pure canned pumpkin)
- 1 cup skim milk
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- In a small bowl, combine Splenda, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and salt.
- In a separate large bowl, beat egg whites well.
- Stir sugar mixture into the large bowl.
- Stir in the can of pumpkin.
- Slowly stir in skim milk.
- Stir well, until all ingredients are uniformly mixed.
- Pour into a 9-inch round pie plate that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.
- Bake at 425°F for twelve to fifteen minutes.
- Reduce temperature to 350°F.
- Bake pie an additional 30-35 minutes at 350°F.
- Remove pie from oven and cool.
- Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving.