Tag: Thanksgiving

Which is Healthier: Pumpkin or Pecan Pie?

by in Thanksgiving, November 22, 2012

pumpkin and pecan pie
These super-popular Thanksgiving desserts are going head to head. With both having single pie crusts and packed with good-for-you ingredients, the competition is fierce. Which gets your vote?

Pumpkin Pie

Pros:
According to the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, we should all be eating 2 cups of orange veggies each week. Pumpkin pie can help meet these recommendations plus that brilliant orange color provides the antioxidants vitamin A and lutein.

Cons:
Fatty ingredients like traditional pastry crust, butter, cream cheese, half-and-half, or shortening can sabotage the nutritional value. Mountains of sugar from canned pumpkin pie filling and spoonfuls of sugary toppings can also send calories through the roof. Topped with whipped cream or a la mode, a slice can weigh in at close to 500 calories.

Healthy Pumpkin Pie Tips:

  • Use gingersnap cookies for a lighter crust made without partially hydrogenated oils or make your own canola oil pie crust.
  • No need for mounds of sugar—let the sweetness of the pumpkin take over.
  • Steer clear of sugary or heavily-sweetened pumpkin pie filling. The canned pumpkin puree should have one ingredient; add your own spices from there.
  • Serve with one heaping spoon of freshly made whipped cream and fresh fruit like apples, oranges and pears.
  • Try Food Network Kitchens slimmed version.

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Thanksgiving Day Breakfast

by in Thanksgiving, November 21, 2012

chocolate oatmeal
Although a turkey feast is approaching, it’s important to fuel up the morning of Thanksgiving. A well-balanced breakfast will give you enough energy to pleasantly chat with family and friends—no need to be agitated and hungry when you see everyone. Plus, eating breakfast can keep hunger under control and keep you level-headed and ready to make more reasonable choices when it’s time for the big meal.

Breakfast Goals
Quick and simple does the trick. With all the hustle and bustle of last minute holiday prep, there’s no need to slave in the kitchen. Your goal is about a 400-500 calorie breakfast which should include whole grains, fruit, and dairy. Make sure you get in enough fiber to hold you until the holiday meal.

#1: Oatmeal
Oats are a whole grain and they’re brimming with fiber and energy-boosting B-vitamins. Cook with skim or almond milk and top with fresh fruit, nuts and spices.

Recipe: Food Network Kitchens’ Hot Chocolate Banana-Nut Oatmeal (pictured above)

#2: Eggs
There are so many ways to enjoy this protein-rich breakfast favorite. For a fun holiday twist try my recipe which includes whole grains, eggs and dairy using only 5 ingredients.

Recipe: Eggs In a Basket

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Quinoa-Stuffed Poblano Peppers

by in Thanksgiving, November 21, 2012

quinoa-stuffed peppers
Meet the tastiest, most nutritious Thanksgiving appetizer around. This easy dish comes together in under an hour and makes delicious use of beautiful poblano peppers. Poblano peppers are mild chili peppers from Mexico, and their spiciness helps to bring out their taste. If you aren’t a fan of spicy foods you can always use bell peppers instead. Flax seeds and veggies offer meaty texture and flavor while quinoa and chickpeas pile on the protein. I added a touch of marjoram for garnish as it adds extra flavor, plus pretty flecks of color. Serve hot out of the oven or bake ahead of time and reheat before your guests arrive. If you have any extra cooked quinoa leftover try my tasty little Quinoa Bites, which make great hors d’oeuvres and are the perfect finger food for kids to munch on.

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Thanksgiving Dinner-Hopping Strategies

by in Healthy Holidays, Healthy Tips, Thanksgiving, November 21, 2012

thanksgiving dinner
Are you a feast hopper– stopping by 2 or even 3 Turkey Day meals every year? Follow these tips so you can enjoy holiday favorites without feeling like you need to roll home by the end of the evening.

Strategy #1: Come Hungry, Not Starving
Arrive at your first feast famished and you’ll probably end up over-stuffing yourself. You’ll feel tired (turkey coma?) and can even end up with heartburn. At the next house, you’ll turn down Aunt Mary’s famous pie and insult the whole family (oh, the drama!). Have a small snack about 30-45 minutes before your first stop. A piece of fruit, granola bar or nonfat Greek yogurt will do the trick.

Strategy #2: Enjoy the Conversation
Instead of shoveling food with lightening speed, put down the fork and enjoy chatting with family and friends. This also helps slow down your food flow, enabling you to eat less and leaving room for feast #2.

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How to Make Gluten-Free Gravy

by in Gluten-Free, Thanksgiving, November 20, 2012

gravy

During last weekend’s Thanksgiving Live show (a live TV event where Food Network chefs cooked an entire Thanksgiving meal on live TV, all while answering viewers’ questions about Turkey Day) many people asked via Facebook and Twitter about how to make gluten-free gravy. Gravy is traditionally thickened with flour, so if you can’t eat flour, are you stuck with watery gravy? The answer is no, and we’ve rounded up the best answers from the show and from the Food Network Kitchens.

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Make Your Own: Grain Salad

by in Healthy Recipes, Thanksgiving, November 20, 2012

farro salad
Aside from the fabulous flavor, the best thing about grain salad is its versatility. Prepare this recipe for your holiday meal or make it the next day using Turkey Day leftovers. Make it with farro, quinoa, wild rice or any other favorite whole grain.

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8 Healthy Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes

by in Thanksgiving, November 19, 2012

squash pudding

Turkey Day by name doesn’t sound like the most enticing holiday for vegetarians. Luckily, this meal is all about the side dishes, many of which are meatless, or can be easily adjusted into vegetarian recipes. These healthy recipes are all meatless so will please vegetarian guests, but are so delicious they’ll be favored by meat-lovers as well.

Corn and Squash Pudding (above) This tasty side dish gets a twist with the added bonus of squash. Not only does the squash add a vibrant color and tons of vitamins to the dish, it provides a creamy texture that plays well off the crisp corn kernels.

Quinoa With Garlic, Pine Nuts and Raisins This flavorful, protein-packed quinoa side dish will please everyone at your Thanksgiving feast: It’s gluten-free, vegan and delicious enough that everyone will be asking for seconds.

Curried Spaghetti Squash The secret to this quick-cooking spaghetti squash is the microwave: spaghetti squash cooks in under 20 minutes when you zap it, so this Indian-flavored dish won’t take up any precious oven or stove-top space on Thanksgiving day.

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Thanksgiving By the Numbers

by in Healthy Holidays, Thanksgiving, November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving is famous for belly-busting dinners and pant-splitting desserts. We’ll give you some tips so you can eat to your heart’s content and still save some calories.

Crunching the Numbers
We built two Thanksgiving plates, loaded with all the usual suspects. A few small tweaks can save more than 1,000 calories!

Meal #1: Belly Buster
6 ounces roasted turkey (white meat and dark meat with skin) = 360 calories
1 cup sausage stuffing = 380 calories
½ cup gravy = 70 calories
¼ cup cranberry sauce = 100 calories
1 cup green bean casserole = 175 calories
1 cup mashed potatoes = 250 calories
1 slice apple pie a la mode = 500 calories

Total Calories = 1,835

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Pumpkin-Apple Soup

by in Thanksgiving, November 17, 2012

The beauty of this autumn soup is its adaptability; you can easily use pears instead of apples if you prefer. This recipe makes enough to serve four people when served as an appetizer or a side dish. If you are serving a large group of people for Thanksgiving, you can scale up the recipe accordingly; try adding in a pinch of allspice for an extra kick. Making your own soup is a tasty and healthy way to blend your favorite fall fruits and veggies into your holiday meal. In this recipe, which uses fresh pumpkin, you can feel good about getting the extra dose of vitamin A and fiber in every bite. Serve this soup with gluten-free croutons or ladle it over a baked sweet potato. If you’re in the mood for some more seasonal accompaniments, sip on my Homemade Maca Apple Cider.

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9 Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers

by in Thanksgiving, November 16, 2012

sausage appetizer
Light bites are your best bet before a big holiday meal. Use fresh, seasonal ingredients to make something small but fabulous for your guests to enjoy before turkey time.

Sausage Skewers
Turkey or chicken sausage makes tasty finger food – add some pantry staples and viola! An elegant app for only 35 calories per piece.
Recipe: Antipasto Sausage Skewers (pictured above)

Gooey Cheese
So easy and delicious – who doesn’t like warm cheese? Each ounce portion has 90 calories, 6 grams of protein and 5 percent of your daily calcium needs. Serve with apples, whole-grain pretzels and lots of veggies for dipping.
Recipe: Baked Brie

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