If you’re wondering what a dietitian’s favorite holiday is, the one with the most food would probably be a good guess. I LOVE Thanksgiving!
Turkey, cranberries, sweet potatoes, and gratefulness — that’s the verse Julie Andrews should have added to “My Favorite Things” IMO. That being said, wellness and nutrition are obviously my other favorite things. Combining all of them is totally possible! Gobble up these quick tips for healthier holidays and don’t miss the recipe at the bottom!
★ Thaw safely! Thaw your frozen turkey in the fridge. Leaving meat out on the counter or sink to thaw leaves it vulnerable to bacterial growth. By the time the middle thaws, the outside is in the temperature danger zone.
★ Don’t stuff that bird! The dense stuffing in the middle might not reach a safe temperature before the outside is crispy. Better to roast the stuffing in a separate dish.
★ Don’t forget the veggies! Many holiday dishes are starch-heavy, leaving you and your guests with an unbalanced meal. Consider roasting some brussels sprouts, steaming some broccoli, or serving a green salad with the meal.
★ Beverages count! Instead of serving sodas. wine, and heavy mixed drinks, consider brewing a festive, unsweetened iced tea (try a cranberry or apple flavored herbal tea) or serving an unsweetened seltzer, which comes in a variety of flavors. Lighter “mocktails” can be made by mixing a little bit of fruit juice with seltzer.
★ Consider lightening up the dessert. The stars of the apple pie are the naturally sweet, fresh apples – they also happen to be the healthy part! Instead of a heavy, shortening-filled apple pie with a top and bottom crust, consider baking an apple crisp with just a rolled oats crumble on top.
★ Be mindful of each ingredient and question its necessity. Sweet potatoes are already deliciously sweet – do they really need the added brown sugar or marshmallows? Can we halve the butter and still have enough to moisten the mashed potatoes? Small adjustments can make a big difference!
★ Relax and enjoy your meal, your time with loved ones, and all of the joys the holidays can bring. Reflect on what you are grateful for in life. Be present and really notice the aromas and tastes you’re taking in. When you allow each bite to fully register with your senses and mind, you may find it takes less to fill your stomach than you thought.
2 cups shredded cabbage
1 (16 oz.) package matchstick carrots
1 apple chopped
1/2 cup golden raisins
3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoons agave nectar
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon dill
Pinch of cumin
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
Combine cabbage, carrots, apple, and raisins in large bowl. Toss with olive oil to coat. Add vinegar, agave nectar, caraway seeds, dill, and cumin and toss to coat. Adjust seasonings and ratios of ingredients to taste.
MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Jessica Bennett, MS, RD, CDN is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist who helps individuals and groups manage weight, health, food sensitivities, and other nutrition concerns. She believes that food is our first medicine and our health and sleep can be drastically affected by what we eat. Learn more about Jessica here!
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