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What Shall We Eat For Thanksgiving?

It’s the time of year when tables fill up with comfort foods - things stuffed with sugar, salt and fats. In short, Thanksgiving and the holiday season can be a nightmare for your vascular system. 

Dr. Tanquilut understands that it’s likely that denying yourself everything delicious on Thursday will only end badly - binging on really unhealthy foods a day or two later. That’s why Dr. T is here with helpful guidance about enjoying the big day - and not feeling guilty or deprived on Friday. 

The Turkey

Roast turkey is an excellent choice for a healthy diet. Fill your fresh turkey with an onion, apples and oranges, rub with olive oil and sprinkle with plenty of pepper and tarragon before you pop it in the oven. Enjoy the white meat of the breast and let the kids have the drumsticks. Take a serving of turkey that’s about the size of the palm of your hand and fill the rest of your plate with vegetables. 

Skip the deep fried turkey, the turkey basted in butter, the pre-basted turkey, turkeys injected with sodium solutions or brined in salt. 

The Dressing or Stuffing

With a few simple twists, dressing can be scrumptious and good for your health. Use whole wheat bread as the dressing base, use low-sodium chicken broth and skip the sausage. Instead, sauté celery, onions, carrots, green peppers and walnuts in olive oil and add that to the mix. 

The Sides

That green bean casserole is a hot mess of salt, fat and artificial ingredients. Swap it out for green beans roasted with onions in olive oil, with a healthy dose of minced garlic and a citrus juice splash - grapefruit if you’re really in for the adventure! Not feeling this? Make the casserole by swapping out the canned soup for milk and the fried onions for fresh onions.

You don’t have to skip mashed potatoes, but make sure you’re taking a reasonable portion, about one cup. Make them with low sodium chicken broth instead of milk and butter and hold back on the salt, using lots of pepper instead. 

Sweet potatoes are so good for you - until you cover them in marshmallows! Instead, peel and cube sweet potatoes and toss them in olive oil along with a diced red onion, garlic, pepper and rosemary. Roast until tender. We promise you won’t miss the marshmallows. If you really have to have them “sweet”, peel and bake and then sprinkle with cinnamon. 

Brussel sprouts are also super healthy - until you slather them in maple syrup and bacon. Instead, let the goodness of the sprout shine through when you shred them, douse them in lemon juice, add minced garlic and saute them in olive oil with poppy seeds. Add a splash of vermouth and cook until tender. 

For mac & cheese lovers, the news really isn’t good. This is one item that is really a health hazard, even if made with whole wheat pasta. If you absolutely have to have some, take just a tablespoon or two - and move the casserole dish to the other end of the table to avoid taking more.

The Breads, Rolls and Buns

Make it whole wheat, whole grain or nothing at all. Breads make from white flour are packed with sugar and very little fiber, giving you very few nutrients. Avoid butter or margarine, but enjoy them with olive oil and no-salt seasonings. 

The Desserts

What is Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? Make your pie with 100% pumpkin, which is a valuable source of fiber, Vitamins A and C, iron and potassium. Consider making just the pumpkin custard and skipping the high fat, low fiber pie crust entirely - or leave that on your plate. Apples baked with cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are a tasty and delicious substitute for apple pie. 

Looking for recipes that will help you rethink Thanksgiving as an absolutely delicious but healthy meal? Click here. 

With a few simple changes, Dr. T says Thanksgiving still be a real feast that you and your family will completely enjoy, without putting your health at risk. 

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