“Lighten Up!” For Thanksgiving

15 11 2013

Thinking about lightening things up a little for Thanksgiving this year? This has been the mindset of many of my PEIA Weight Management participants in recent weeks.

Cathy Shaw

Cathy Shaw

They seem confident and creative, ready to try new recipes and serve lighter fare. They tell me they are going to make smaller portions and healthier choices part of their holiday. Well if you are thinking the same thing, you have come to the right place!

Thanksgiving is truly my favorite holiday of the year. Why? It’s all about spending time with family, no strings attached. No need for presents or an endless supply of candy (yikes!) that we seem to find necessary for other holidays. I look forward to spending my day in the kitchen with my mom, cooking, laughing, and creating a beautiful meal to share with the rest of the family. I cherish lingering at the table with my aunts, uncles and cousins long after the feast has ended, to spend time catching up.

We, like any family, have our favorite family recipes that always appear at Thanksgiving. I have learned over time that one must approach the Mattia family table with some caution! EVERYTHING is so good! So I take my own advice by choosing small portions wisely and trying to lighten up recipes where I can. You too can make some of your recipes healthier by modifying the Big 3- sugar, salt and fat. For many of your recipes (like sweet potato casserole) you can reduce the sugar by half without even noticing. Try enhancing the sweetness with other seasonings like nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla, or use fresh or unsweetened frozen fruits to sweeten things up (FYI: apples go great with sweet potatoes!). Try reducing the fat in pumpkin pie by using 2% or skim evaporated milk, or make a crustless pumpkin custard topped with a dollop of whipped cream. You can reduce the salt in many dishes by using reduced or low sodium broths and canned vegetables and going easy on the salty seasonings and condiments. Add fresh vegetables and seasonal fruit to the table to help make half of your plate fruits and veggies.

Over the next couple of weeks we will be sharing with you some lighter versions of holiday foods. This week we’ll start with some ideas for your main entrée. I hope you enjoy our recipes and discover that Thanksgiving just might be your favorite holiday too….

Follow this link to view the video “How to Cook Turkey for Thanksgiving”. Simply click on “See our tips for preparing turkey”. Great recipe and advice on bringing your best bird to the table!
http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/collections/thanksgiving_collection_1

Chicken with Cranberry Sauce

Makes 6 servings Total time spent: ~20-30 minutes
Source: Taste of Home Healthy Cooking
Ingredients
2 cups fresh cranberries
3/4c water
6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (~4oz each)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/4c maple syrup (optional)

Directions
In a small saucepan, combine cranberries, water and sugar. Cook over medium heat until berries pop, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In a large nonstick skillet, cook chicken in oil over medium heat for 4-5 minutes on each side or until juices run clear.
Add maple syrup to cranberries.
To serve, top each chicken breast with ~3 Tbsp of cranberry sauce

Nutrition Facts: 1 chicken breast with 3 Tbsp sauce: 236 calories, 5g fat, 1g saturated fat, 24g carbohydrate, 1g fiber, 23g protein, 253mg sodium

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