Thanksgiving swaps

Published 5:16 pm Saturday, November 23, 2013

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays — and it’s all because I get to make those favorite foods for my family and share a meal together.

When I mention Thanksgiving to a customer in the aisles, many say they are afraid to feast on those favorite foods because they worry about their waistline.

If we really do feast, or overeat, it might add 2,000 to 4,500 calories to our Thanksgiving day.  For an average-sized person, who engages in moderate activity, one needs approximately 1,600 and 2,200 calories per day to maintain weight.

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And yes, we’ve all heard the stories about the average weight gain through the holiday season. But contrary to popular belief, it’s not 10 pounds we gain over the holidays, it is one pound. And to be honest, a pound a year for 10 years can add up.

Don’t let the numbers control you; just enjoy the season, making healthier choices to have a positive impact on your health.

Here’s a few ideas to get you started this season.

•When serving yourself from the buffet, use a smaller plate.  Less will look like more.

•Serve fresh, high-fiber fruit and vegetables as appetizers. Fiber creates a feeling of fullness. I always encourage my guests to bring fruits and vegetables to add to the table.

•Baste the turkey with fat-free broth or remove the solidified fat before using regular broth.

•Cook the turkey with the skin, but remove it during eating.  And if you are wondering about light or dark meat, there really are minor differences (20 calories and 2 grams fat is minor), so choose your favorite.

•Use nonfat milk or chicken broth as the liquid when mashing potatoes.  Skip adding the butter during mashing, and instead just add a couple of tablespoons to the top of the mound to let it melt over the potatoes.  We eat with our eyes.

•Bake sweet potatoes with diced apples and raisins, using butter spray for flavor.

•Be sure to add lots of vegetables and even fruits to your stuffing.  Every year, I add apples, dried cranberries, celery, onions and even walnuts.  A lot of flavor with a lot of nutrition!

•Reduce calories in pumpkin pie by using non-fat evaporated milk instead of cream in your recipe. Pumpkin pie typically has fewer calories than pecan and fruit pies.

Keep your plate colorful, enjoy those favorite foods and be grateful for the people around the table.  Here’s a recipe to try this Thanksgiving.

Harvest Stuffing

Serves 12.

All you need

•1 (6 oz) package Hy-Vee stuffing mix for turkey

•Seasoning package (included in stuffing package)

•1/4 cup Hy-Vee margarine

•1 1/2 cups water

•1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms

•1/2 cup diced celery

•1/2 cup sliced carrots

•1/4 cup diced white onion

•1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles

 All you do

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Combine all ingredients in a large microwavable bowl.

3. Microwave uncovered on high for three minutes. Stir well. Cook for an additional 3 minutes. Stir.

4. Spoon stuffing into a greased 9-by-9-inch baking dish.

5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Serve.

Nutrition information per serving: 120 calories, 13 g carbohydrate, 10 mg cholesterol, 0 g dietary fiber, 5 g fat, 3 g protein, 390 mg sodium, 10 g sugar.