Bring Healthy to Your Thanksgiving Table

Happy Monday! Can you believe Thanksgiving is just THREE days away? Being the ultimate foodies, we dietitians by nature know the importance of having varied offerings at the dinner table for all of our guests. Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy your favorite plated items, but to also make sure you are staying mindful of how your body is feeling (a.k.a. food coma avoidance).

Some of my favorite, easy tips include the following:

  • Eat with a smaller plate. It will fill up faster but you’ll be more mindful to just try a little bit of everything and still leave room for dessert.
  • Go for the salad first. This is a really easy tip, especially for any family member following low-sodium diets.
  • Skip the seconds. Slow down, speedy! Wait about 20 minutes to let that initial goodness sink in. Make your meal last and take the time to connect with family members at the table.
  • Don’t skip dessert. This is the ultimate key to eating a balanced celebratory meal. Go for a little bit of everything and you won’t regret anything.

Tips for a healthy Thanksgiving meal would be incomplete without a recipe for a healthy menu offering. My recipe for today is of a personal favorite of mine – cranberry sauce! Store bought cranberry sauce can often be a hidden source of calories. My mom’s version is made with apples and oranges to add some fruity flavor while cutting out any tartness.

Mom’s Cranberry Sauce

12 oz. packaged fresh cranberries
½ cup of water
2 med. apples (or 1 large)
1 orange
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

  1. In a medium pot on high heat, add the package of fresh cranberries and water. Cover and allow the cranberries to burst. At the same time, combine apples and oranges in a food processor and bring to a chunky puree.
  2. Once all of the cranberries have burst, turn the heat down to the lowest simmering setting.
  3. Add cinnamon, salt, and pureed apples/orange into the pot and stir. Turn to high heat.  At the first sign of bubbling, take pot off the heat and cool.
  4. After cooling, add the honey or maple syrup and taste. If too sweet, add lemon juice to taste. If too tart, add more additional honey/maple syrup.

Safe travels to all during this busy travel period and remember to stay grateful for all of life’s moments – small and large!

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