Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving menu’

With the year swiftly drawing to a close, we pause each November to reflect on and enjoy time with family and friends. The focus of celebrating Thanksgiving often centers on food, lots of food. Who can resist the urge to overeat? Tables piled high with turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings followed by scrumptious, calorie-laden desserts even tempt those with strong will-power. Is there any hope of enjoyment without tripling the calorie count for the day? How do we cut calories?

We aren’t likely to leave the dinner table hungry, and most of us will feel overstuffed and uncomfortable. For the calorie-conscience, we can choose better options. The Men’s Health magazine published “10 ways to Shave 1,200 Calories off your Thanksgiving.” Here is the modified version:

  • Choose white meat of turkey instead of the dark. Dark meat contains more calories, and some of us prefer the white meat anyway.
  • Exchange bread servings for extra vegetables. Choose vegetables without extra toppings or creamed. If you must taste everything, select very small (about ¼ cup) servings. Remember the stuffing is actually bread.
  • Choose the right toppings (or try to make selections without any).
  • Go for Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. Well, maybe. I once bought Greek yogurt for that purpose and evidently picked up the wrong container. When I retrieved it to use, I compared calorie counts on the reduced-calorie sour cream and yogurt. Much to my surprise, the Greek yogurt had more calories. The real point here is to check labels carefully.
  • Use the one-layer rule. Personally, I don’t like to pile other foods on top of my original layer. I can squeeze them close together, but not piled high. If you do stack yours, reconsider. When the plate has one complete layer, stop! The right selections helps avoid the problem.
  • Section off starches. Thanksgiving is a day with plentiful starches. Choose just one or two half-servings not to exceed a quarter of the plate.
  • Make your own cranberry sauce, it tastes better anyway. Lots of good recipes exist, but I use the one Image result for free clip art pixabay cranberrieson a package of fresh cranberries. Another great choice is fresh cranberries chopped with an orange and mixed. The family tradition in my household is an original congealed cranberry mold. See the recipe below.
  • Choose pumpkin pie over pecan pie. Dessert doesn’t have to be pie, but if it is, pumpkin pie has one of the lowest calorie-counts and pecan one of the highest. Maybe try a pumpkin pudding or mousse. The crust of any pie adds lots of calories. I don’t care for crust so I have no problem leaving it on my plate. That isn’t true of everyone.
  • Skip ice cream and whipped cream toppings on pie. If you want something to top that pie, consider frozen vanilla yogurt. Be sure to check the label to make sure it is lower in calories than equivalent amounts of ice cream.
  • For those who drink alcohol, limit the amount and/or choose those with lower calorie counts.

If you’re the cook, check for ingredients in recipes that come in lower-calorie versions or can be omitted. Consider other helps listed below for all meals, but especially during holidays.

  • Change to cooking methods that won’t add additional calories.
  • While a little flavor may be sacrificed when low-fat milk replaces whole, half-&-half, or cream, many recipes adapt just fine.
  • Omit high-calorie ingredients such as sugar, butter, and nuts, and maybe marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes. Top simple sliced and cooked versions with a sprinkling of butter and brown sugar.
  • Skip or limit the gravy. While a great addition to the meat and stuffing, a sparing serving or none suffices.
  • When hors d’oeuvres are served before a meal, skip or choose lower-calorie choices of fresh fruits or veggies without the dip.
  • Watch serving sizes. This may be the biggest downfall for most of us. If numerous dishes are offered, cut serving sizes even more.

Whatever your choices, try to make them healthy. Most of all, be thankful. God bless each of you during this Thanksgiving season.

1  (6 ounce) package sugar-free orange flavored gelatin
2  cups hot water
1 1/2  cups pineapple juice, diluted with cold water
1  can whole berry cranberry sauce
1  (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple packed in juice, drained
1/2  cup pecans, chopped
2  teaspoons orange zest, optional
Dissolve flavored gelatin in hot water. Add cranberries and mix. Drain pineapple. Add cold water to pineapple juice to make 1 1/2 cups. Pour and mix into gelatin mixture. Add orange zest, pecans, and crushed pineapple. Pour into oil-sprayed ring mold. Chill overnight.
Image result for free clip art pixabay thanksgiving food

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cranberries (Photo credit: Anne Davis)

While turkey and dressing tantalize taste buds, festive tables catch the eyes with a glimmer of cranberries that sparkle like crown jewels. Can you imagine Thanksgiving dinner without their tangy taste?  Choose the jellied form slipped from a can, make whole-berry sauce from fresh berries, or use endless combinations in appetizers to desserts.

Cranberries are one of three fruits native to North America. Native Americans used cranberries long before Pilgrims arrived. We don’t know if the first Thanksgiving menu included cranberries, but it’s a good possibility since they were prolific in the area. When German and Dutch immigrants arrived on our shores, they called this red fruit “crane berries” because the flower resembled the head and bill of a crane.

Although now available all year, Americans consume 20 percent during Thanksgiving week of the 400 million pounds of cranberries used annually.

Cranberries are nutritious and great as part of a healthy diet. They are rich sources of antioxidants and fiber with negligible amounts of fat or sodium. Early sailors ate cranberries to prevent scurvy which we now know was because of its vitamin C content.

Many believe that cranberry juice improves unitary track infection (UTI). Two recent (2012) studies refute the benefits. One study concluded that some cranberry products may help protect against UTI, but they were ineffective in improving the condition. The second study determined that UTI responded better to antibiotics than cranberries.

Regardless, enjoy the tasty, nutritious berries again this holiday season. For a change of pace, try this versatile fruit in new ways. Below is a family favorite. Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving.


1                      (6 ounce) package orange flavored gelatin

2                      cups hot water

1 1/2                cups pineapple juice/water

1                      (14 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce

1                      (15 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained

1/2                   cup pecans, chopped

2                      teaspoons orange zest, optional

Dissolve flavored gelatin in hot water. Add cranberries and mix. Drain pineapple. Add cold water to drained juice to make 1 1/2 cups. Add to gelatin mixture. Chill until consistency of egg whites. Add orange zest, pecans, and pineapple. Pour into a ring mold lightly sprayed with cooking spray.

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