What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Although most holidays have a food connection, Thanksgiving thoughts are likely to center on the meal, with the possible competition of football on TV! And the memories are often linked to traditional foods, family and friend gatherings, and great and not-so-great meals.
Through the years, the methods of cooking have changed more than the foods. Turkey is likely to be on the table along with stuffing and family favorite vegetables and fruits. Some foods are expected to be there. Sweet potatoes, mashed white potatoes (for the gravy) , green beans (often in a casserole), Brussels spouts, cranberry something, and of course pumpkin dessert are high on the list. Meeting your goal of filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables is easy … but the problem may be that the plate is more of a platter!
Keeping in tune with today’s emphasis on wellness, Thanksgiving can be a time to build some new memories while still honoring the traditions.
5 Ways to Lighten Up Your Thanksgiving Traditions
- Lighter Munchies. Lighten the pre-meal ( or game-time) munchies featuring homemade kale chips or a non-fat Greek yogurt dip with raw veggies such as jicama sticks.
- Roast or Grill the Veggies. For a new look with less calories, change up the usual veggies with roasted or grilled cauliflower florets, Brussels sprouts or other vegetables.
- Spice Things Up. Cranberry salsa can give new life to the leftover turkey sandwiches, salads or wraps.
- Lighter Desserts. Offer lighter versions of the pumpkin dessert to lessen the guilt of those family and guests who can’t pass it up but know they should.
- Plan an Activity Other than Eating! Plan time for a family walk or activity before the meal, between the starters and the meal, or before dessert. For some it is a game of touch football in the yard while others it is a run through stores that are open for early holiday shopping.
Involve the Kids in Your Healthy Traditions
Involve the children in researching some new ideas and history of traditional foods including the seasonal specials in several areas of the country like winter squash, pumpkins, and root and tuber vegetables.
Take the time to review safe cooking and storing guidelines to ward off some potential bad memories. Countdown to the Thanksgiving Holiday
Judy Dodd, MS, RD, LDN
Fruit & Vegetable Recipes
Video Center: Selection, Storage, and Preparation of Fruits & Vegetables.