Have a healthy Thanksgiving

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Melissa Bess, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, Camden County; Edited by Jessica Kovarik, RD, LD, former Extension Associate, University of Missouri Extension

Thanksgiving is usually one of those holidays where second helpings are a must. Some Thanksgiving meals can equal the amount of calories and fat we need in an entire day, or even more. Moderation, not deprivation, is the key to a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! Here are some ways to make your Thanksgiving feast healthier.

  • Plan ahead and search online for healthy Thanksgiving recipes. You will find many healthier versions of traditional dishes in which the fat is reduced but the flavor is retained. See the Healthy Habits recipes on MissouriFamilies.org for healthy recipes. The fun part will be seeing if anyone can even tell the difference.
  • Enjoy turkey. With the skin removed, turkey has a good amount of protein and little fat or saturated fat. Dark meat has more fat than white meat. Roast or bake instead of frying.
  • Eat sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of potassium (can help lower blood pressure), vitamin A, beta carotene (both vitamin A and beta carotene help with healthy vision), vitamin C (an antioxidant, protective against diseases), and fiber (promotes a healthy digestive system and may prevent diseases). Try to limit or avoid using brown sugar, marshmallows and butter on sweet potato dishes. Use other seasonings such as cinnamon, ginger or orange rind for flavor. Or try a new recipe for a savory sweet potato dish, rather than a sweet one.
  • Try a different type of pumpkin dessert instead of pumpkin pie. Pumpkin has similar nutrients to sweet potatoes. Make a pumpkin custard or pumpkin pudding using ginger or cinnamon for flavor.
  • Use evaporated skim milk instead of regular evaporated milk in recipes. This applies to many dessert recipes.

For more health tips, see the full version of this article at http://missourifamilies.org/features/nutritionarticles/nut249.htm

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