Nothing says tradition like the holiday feast: a steaming tray of turkey, bowls of colorful sides, breads, and sugary or alcoholic drinks. When the table is cleared, in comes an array of high-fat, high-calorie desserts.
Let the promises of New Year diets begin.
Miriam Hospital dietician Kim Maloomian says the traditional Thanksgiving dinner doesn't have to be a dietary disaster. She offers several healthy menu options and cooking alternatives that will be sure to please all of your guests.
"If you're going to put a lot of work into dinner," explains Maloomian, "you don’t want people spoiling their appetites."
Consider these simple snacks:
For a healthier alternative to hard liquor mixers (which have a high sugar content), offer wine and high-quality, small-brew batch beers. The health benefits of wine are widely known.
The hops used to make beer bitter actually have been shown to help with calcium uptake.
Also have plenty of ice water on the dining table and seltzer with an array of
The turkey is king at most Thanksgiving dinners, but it doesn't have to be. Here are a few alternatives to the usual turkey fare:
If you cook a stuffed turkey, you have to cook it longer, which increases the likelihood of dry meat. People try to cover this up by making a gravy, but the turkey itself is still dry.
Cook the turkey unstuffed and stop the dryness before it begins by brining the turkey overnight (up to 18 hours ahead of time) with a mixture of salt and sugar. This allows the turkey to soak up some of the brine juice and hold onto it while
cooking. This is a great way to impart flavor since the bird won't be stuffed.
Read more about cooking turkey and storing leftovers
Thanksgiving dinner can sometimes feature an unhealthy amount of butter. People put butter in everything: mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, squash, string beans. But you can get richness and creaminess from other ingredients:
Dessert can be wrecking ball for anyone who is trying to make a healthy meal.
Traditional Thanksgiving dinner is about enjoying the spoils of the harvest. It's about gathering your friends and family and enjoying each other's company. The tips described above will help dial back the unhealthy elements and showcase the wonderful natural tastes of meats, fruits and vegetables. Your guests will appreciate it and you'll enjoy serving it.