Instead of getting rid of our favorite ThaNksgiving recipes, let’s  lighten them up with a makeover!

 

On my side of the family, Thanksgiving is a very big deal because, it is, literally, the anniversary of the day, many years ago, that my family and I emigrated from England to the United States of America.

Each year, I love hearing my mother recount the events of our journey to “the states” and, especially when she recants how the flight attendant announced that we were having Tom Turkey for dinner! My mother said that she and my father looked at on another and said “what the he** is a Tom turkey?” They soon found out what Tom turkey was and became big fans of the Thanksgiving Day feast to celebrate the sincere gratitude of our blessed lives.

 

at this time of year we're forever hearing about new recipes to replace the family favorites of Thanksgiving, and other Holidays, with hopes of making the meal “healthier.”

However, from a nostalgia standpoint, it is difficult for many to give up their family favorites when they have spent the last year anticipating biting into the scrumptious foods that are often only enjoyed once or twice each year.  


Our Thanksgiving feast always includes certain favorites that, I’m sure, many of you have at your table too. Below, you’ll find recipe modification suggestions to lower the negative nutrition impact for stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and whipped cream recipes that my family uses.

Hopefully, you’ll see how easy it can be to improve the nutrition value of the items and be inspired to try some of them for your Thanksgiving feast or any other time that you're cooking and/or baking.

For comparison purposes, I’ve provided the calorie, fat, sodium, and cholesterol information for each original and substitution item, with exception of the pie crust, which stands alone. The areas highlighted in bright yellow indicate which item has the lowest amount of each category. No yellow highlight, indicates that all items are equal in the specific area.


Let's get this party started! 


Stuff It!

My family uses a sausage, sage, and onion stuffing recipe that calls for one roll of regular pork sausage browned and drained. Last year, I chose to replace the regular sausage with the same brand’s reduced-fat version and there were no complaints!

Savings: 380 calories: 40g fat: 870mg sodium: 95mg cholesterol

Savings: 380 calories: 40g fat: 870mg sodium: 95mg cholesterol


Green Bean Casserole

Who doesn’t love green bean casserole?  It is very easy to lower the fat, sodium, and cholesterol without lowering the taste. Simply use low-fat or non-fat milk, a healthier cream of mushroom soup version, and your homemade panko topping, recipe below, in place of the fried onions.

Savings Whole versus Skim: 35 calories: 4g fat: 15 mg cholesterol

Savings Whole versus Skim: 35 calories: 4g fat: 15 mg cholesterol

Savings: 30 calories: 4g fat: 460mg sodium

Savings: 30 calories: 4g fat: 460mg sodium

Savings: 37 calories: 16g fat: 365mg sodium

Savings: 37 calories: 16g fat: 365mg sodium


Pumpkin Pie, Crust Optional!  

Whether with or without crust, when making the pumpkin pie filling, with the Joy of Cooking recipe, I replace the heavy cream with an equal amount of low-fat 2% evaporated milk and everyone thinks it’s scrumptious.

Savings: 900 calories: 126g fat: 420 mg cholesterol Increase: 420mg sodium

Savings: 900 calories: 126g fat: 420 mg cholesterol

Increase: 420mg sodium

Pumpkin pie is a custard pie that is easy to make without a crust. It is always a part of our Thanksgiving feast because it is gluten free, much lower in calories and sodium, and has another level of flavor due to the pie not being insulated by the crust and the sugars becoming more caramelized during the baking process. To bake it make it without the crust, use glass or ceramic pie pans to allow the slices to easily slide out for serving.

Savings: 100 calories: 6g fat: 130mg sodium: 5 mg cholesterol

Savings: 100 calories: 6g fat: 130mg sodium: 5 mg cholesterol


Whipped Cream

The secret of any fresh whipped cream, made at home, is to place the metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before you whip it up. True confession, my family always loves fresh heavy whipped cream at Thanksgiving, so I haven’t tried the following, but it sounds like a great alternative.

Replace heavy whipped cream with low-fat 2% evaporated milk and follow the recipe you use.

Savings: 150 calories: 21g fat: 60 mg sodium

Savings: 150 calories: 21g fat: 60 mg sodium


Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Happy Noshing! 

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