Thanksgiving dinner isn't all bad. Take turkey for instance it's loaded with vitamins and minerals, among other good reasons to eat it. | File photo
Updated: December 22, 2012 6:17AM
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for family, friends and blessings in our lives. But of course, it’s also about the food.
What’s a Thanksgiving without the feast?
However, for people who are trying to watch their waistlines, a typical Thanksgiving feast could add up to more than 3,000 to 4,000 high-fat calories, according to Kelly Devine Rickert, registered dietitian for St. James Hospitals and spokesman for the Illinois Dietetic Association.
Does this mean you need to skip the stuffing or grandma’s pumpkin pie?
“Of course not,” Rickert said. “Holidays are meant to be enjoyed. However, there is no need to consume two days’ worth of calories and fat in one meal. Moderation is key.”
Rickert gives these tips on how to whittle down calories without skimping on taste:
Turkey is naturally low in fat (think the white breast meat) but try and skip the high-fat skins. Baste the turkey with white wine or low-sodium broth instead of butter to save on fat calories.
For stuffing, swap low-sodium chicken broth for most of the butter. That saves at least 50 calories per serving and cuts the fat in half. Add more vegetables to the stuffing. Onions, carrots, mushrooms and celery are tasty additions.
For casseroles, use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. Per can of condensed soup, you’ll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with reduced-fat version.
When it comes to potatoes, switch out the high-fat whole milk for skim or 2 percent milk and replace the butter with a heart healthier substitute such as Smart Balance or Brummel and Brown.
If making candied sweet potatoes, cut the sugar in half or use a low calorie sweetener instead.
Instead of high fat croissants or biscuits for your breads, aim for mini whole grain rolls from a local bakery.
What’s Thanksgiving dinner without gravy? Significantly cut calories by skimming the fat from pan juices before making the gravy.
For pie, skip the top crust if you can and aim for fruit based pies such as apple or pumpkin. A typical slice of pie can pack in as many as 400 calories so portion size and moderation is key.
Stuffing with cranberries
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery
1/2 cup chopped onion
10 slices whole-wheat bread, toasted and cut into cubes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup whole water chestnuts
1 cup chopped apple
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
In a large skillet, heat the chicken broth over medium heat. Add the celery and onion and saute until the vegetables are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, combine the bread cubes, parsley, tarragon, paprika, nutmeg, cranberries, water chestnuts and chopped apples. Add the onion and celery mixture. Stir to mix evenly.
Spoon stuffing into the prepared baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 more minutes.
Nutrition: 120 calories, 2 g fat, 5 g fiber.
Supplied to the SouthtownStar