Last Minute Ways to Score Healthy Points This Thanksgiving
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
The Deceptively Delicious idea of sneaking healthy ingredients into recipes is so good that I’ve been thinking, why not apply it to grownup food as well? Especially during the holidays, we have such big expectations of deliciousness, usually in the form of not-so-figure-friendly foods.
For all of our beloved classic food traditions, there’s usually some small modification you can do to make a dish healthier without sacrificing flavor.
Swap in the good wholesome stuff: When baking, swap out plain refined flour for healthy whole grains. For example, try whole oatmeal in your pie crust this year—the soluble fiber in oatmeal has been shown to decrease LDL cholesterol or “bad cholesterol” by 10-15 percent, and decreases risk of high blood pressure. For cheesy casseroles, puree pumpkin or cauliflower to cut some of the fat content while contributing to the creaminess.
Embrace the dessert star: One of the great things about Thanksgiving is that the desserts revolve around the fall harvest. Let the pumpkin, apple, or pecans do the talking, and consider lower sugar, lower fat recipes that let the star ingredient shine. Let’s take the classic pecan pie, for example. It often gets nutritionist scorn, thanks to typically heavy doses of corn syrup. But pecans themselves are superstars, rich in antioxidants and full of heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Plus, a handful of pecan halves contain the same amount of fiber as a medium-sized apple. Here’s a tasty looking pecan pie recipe, pictured above, which calls for oatmeal in the filling itself.
Try for a balanced plate: As much as possible, balance out your veggie:protein:fat:sugar ratios. The more colorful your plate, the better. And no, you don’t need to pile your plate extra high to achieve that variety—opt for sensible portion sizes and remember to chew your food. I know that sounds elementary, but one of the greatest lessons I ever got out of meditation is that the more you chew, the more you appreciate the food both during and after the meal. Chewing one bite 50 times may be pushing it, but try to get up to ten at least and you’ll have a better chance at leaving the table happy and alert.