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Thanksgiving starts the official kickoff of the food-centric holiday season. And while we all have our favorite tried-and-true family recipes to bring to the table, most can handle a few fresh tweaks to lighten up the calorie and carb load. When we are looking for guidance on healthy meal planning we reach out to our staff of Registered Dietitians to get answers.
In the spirit of the season, we tapped into our nationwide team of RDs and asked them "What's some of your favorite Thanksgiving recipe and meal planning hacks to make them more healthy?" Here's what they said:
- Rebecca: "When I have made stuffing, I have made it with whole grain bread instead of white bread and increased the veggies (onion, celery) and added mushrooms. Instead of green bean casserole, I do just fresh roasted green beans with a small amount of olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper."
- Kalyn: "Our family loves root vegetables so we do a root vegetable medley of parsnips, golden and red beets, onions, potatoes (purple and sweet), and seasoning, a little olive oil. Very tasty. We also do roasted Brussels sprouts with prosciutto instead of bacon. We like good salads with lots of different options."
- Theresa: "I always make sure to have veggies, of course, but I look at Thanksgiving from the perspective of enjoyment. It’s one day, and if you want the sweet potato casserole and pumpkin pie and stuffing, go for it. But it can help a lot to pick the items you love and don’t feel as if you ‘need’ to eat everything. Enjoy the best, leave the rest (unless Aunt So and So will be mortally offended)."
- Kara: "I do try to "lighten" some dishes without sacrificing taste - skipping the marshmallows on the sweet potatoes, dairy-free or fat-free milk in your mashed potatoes, skipping the canned cream of mushroom on the green beans, and making homemade cranberry sauce instead of the sugary canned cranberry jelly that most remember having growing up (homemade has more fiber!!)."