Lightening Up Your Thanksgiving Favorites in South Burlington
Fall has finally arrived here in South Burlington, VT. If you're a planner, you're already making your Thanksgiving grocery list. This "eating" holiday is a favorite of many, a green light if you will to indulge in an epic cheat day. With a little forward thinking you can feast with the crowd and still stay on track with your healthy eating lifestyle. If you're hosting, you have a tremendous amount of control over the ingredients & preparation. However, if you're a guest at a gathering - bringing a low carb or low calorie side dish to share is a great way to lend a healthy hand! Substitutions here and there can be made with ease & without affecting the flavor of the season. Epic Wellness in South Burlington provides some tips to help you lighten up your holiday meal:
TURKEY (the main event)
If you'll be hosting a smaller gathering you can prepare a turkey breast which unlike a whole bird, does not include any dark meat. The dark meat is typically more flavorful because it contains more fat than the breast meat. Brining your bird before roasting helps to add moisture and flavor to the breast meat. If you're preparing a whole turkey, just take it easy on the dark meat and opt for white. Aromatics, like sage & quartered onions added to the cavity are another way to enhance flavor without adding extra fat & calories.
GRAVY (on everything, please!)
Traditionally, gravy is made with the turkey drippings that collect in the bottom of the roasting pan. While super flavorful, it's pretty greasy. So if you do choose to use the drippings to craft your magic sauce, let it sit in a gravy separator for a few minutes. Or you can use vegetable oil in place of the bird drippings. There are many ways to prep a lower fat gravy but it's really about controlling how much oil/fat is in the final product.
MASHED POTATOES (side dish staple)
You'll love this one because it is really easy! Substitute some of the butter and milk/cream for the reserved cooking water. Yes, the water you boiled the potatoes in! It's loaded with starch from the potatoes and makes the finished product incredibly creamy. Mashed cauliflower is another option. You can go 50/50 (potato/cauli), or just go for it with one of dozens of mashed cauliflower recipes available on the web. Did you know stores sell pre-chopped and riced raw cauliflower? They do. Now you know!
DRESSING/STUFFING (face it, we know you love it)
Go for it! Really, if this is your indulgence at Thanksgiving, don't deny yourself. Just measure or eyeball a reasonable serving. If you don't want to adjust your recipe, a simple way to save on calories & fat is to bake it OUTSIDE the bird. Stuffing your turkey with dressing is tradition in many homes but it also absorbs a great deal of rendered fat as the bird bakes. If you're up for a dressing overhaul consider a wild rice or grain based dish. Bread crumb stuffings have little nutritional value. Avoiding sausage and bacon as add ins is also an advisable calorie cutting option.
PUMPKIN PIE (Mmmmm PIE!)
It's Pumpkin Pie's crowning glory, Thanksgiving Day! There are endless recipes out there but the main way to cut calories and fat from this classic dessert is to sub out the flour based crust. A reduced fat graham cracker crust is a fun, lower cal/fat option or you can forgo crust entirely and prepare crustless pie. Crustless pumpkin pies can also be made into mini (single serving) pies that make portion control effortless!
For more helpful tips give us a call at Epic Wellness in South Burlington, VT!