The Delicious … and Nutritious … Thanksgiving Feast

November brings thoughts of fall colors, warm hearty foods, and cozy nights by the fire. It also reminds us that the festive holiday season is in full swing and it is time to get ready for Thanksgiving!

The holidays don’t have to mean over-indulgence or the end of your efforts towards a healthier lifestyle. Try including some of the following delicious fruits and vegetables in your holiday cooking. The results? Delicious treats that contain lower fat, higher fiber and antioxidants.

Fresh Cranberry Sauce. Cranberries are best known for their ability to ward off urinary tract infections, but emerging research suggests they may also promote gastrointestinal and oral health. Cranberries provide an excellent source of vitamin C, a very good source of dietary fiber, and a good source of manganese and vitamin K. Fresh cranberry sauce is a cinch to make, most bags of fresh cranberries sold in the supermarket will have a recipe printed right on them.

Better-for-You Stuffing. Add fiber and nutrients to your turkey stuffing by mixing in celery, onions, mushrooms, carrots, beans and wild rice. Fruit like raisins, pears and apples can also provide a colorful, antioxidant-rich accent to this Thanksgiving staple.

Turkey with a Twist. Fill a turkey breast with a delicious combination of chopped dried fruits and nuts, then roll and secure with twine. This is a creative and attractive way to serve turkey breast. It’s also an easy way to make Thanksgiving turkey for a smaller crowd.

Vegetarian Delights. With more than seven million vegetarians nationwide, it’s likely you’ll have a vegetarian guest. Combine grains like quinoa, amaranth, millet and barley with bell peppers, apples, dried apricots and nuts for a dish all your guests will want to try.

All Things Pumpkin. Pumpkins are on every doorstep and windowsill from October to December but what about our plates? Pumpkins are rich in vitamin A and a good source of vitamin C, potassium and fiber. They’re sweet on their own and absolutely delicious in pie. Lighten up your pumpkin pie recipe by using low-fat ingredients and reducing added sugar.

Sweet Sides. Remember that nature gives us a bounty of naturally sweet foods – sweet potatoes, butternut squash and acorn squash make excellent additions to your Thanksgiving meal. Here are some ideas for sweet sides: mashed sweet potatoes, puréed butternut squash with apples, and stuffed acorn squash!


Cranberry Quinoa Salad (Perfect for a vegetarian guest!)
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Makes: 4 (1-½ cup) servings


    • 1/2 cup dry Quinoa
    • 2/3 cup dried Cranberries
    • 1/2 Orange Bell Pepper, chopped
    • 1/4 cup minced Red Onion
    • 1 pound Asparagus spears, trimmed and cut into one-inch pieces
    • 1/4 cup Pine Nuts
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
    • 1 tablespoon spicy Mustard
    • 3 tablespoons extra virgin Oive Oil


    1. Prepare quinoa according to package directions and set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
    3. Chill for 30 minutes and serve.

Nutrition Facts
322 Calories; 18g Fat (2g Saturated Fat, 10g Monounsaturated Fat, 4g Polyunsaturated Fat); 0mg Cholesterol; 61mg Sodium; 38g Carbohydrate; 5g Fiber; 7g Protein


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