How to Cook a Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

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We get questions every year at this time: how can you cook a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, yet still feel satisfied? It’s easier than you think, and we have some great ideas to share.

Drain as much poultry fat as you can from the turkey.

This fat is not healthy, so you want to drain as much of it as you can. The fat helps keep the turkey juicy, but you don’t need to eat that fat once the turkey is cooked. Drain the fat, and give the skin to the dog or the cat.

Think veggies and healthy fats.

Yes, we said to drain the fat from the turkey, but that’s because it’s unhealthy fat. Other foods have good, beneficial fats, and you want to include those on your Thanksgiving menu. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados. Try new recipes with those ingredients, or set nuts and seeds out with the appetizers. Make some guacamole and chips, or serve avocado slices during or after dinner.

Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.

This is one of our favorites, and we really enjoy the flavor of the cauliflower for a change. Following is a great recipe for healthy mashers. The recipe can be found at

(Catherine, photo is from )

Total Time: 21 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 6 min

Yield: 4 servings

Level: Easy


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bouillon (may substitute ½ teaspoon salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
  2. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well—do not let cool, and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
  3. In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
  4. Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of butter.

Hint: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a new taste.

Per Serving: Calories: 149; Total Fat: 11.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 7 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Total carbohydrates: 8 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 31 milligrams; Sodium: 170 milligrams.

Offer fruit for dessert.

Fruit is so versatile that you can use your imagination when it comes to serving a healthy dessert. Strawberry shortcake is always a hit, or you can try creating a fruit salad for dessert or during the meal. Some will eat the fruit as is, and a colorful fruit basket makes a wonderful centerpiece.

What tips for a healthy Thanksgiving dinner would you like to share?

Omega-3s: 5 Ways to Load Up on These Healthy Fats

omega3Many people hear the word “fat” and immediately think it should not be a part of their diet. But what you might not know is that some fats are actually good for you!

Omega-3 fatty acids are in the “healthy fat” group, and your body actually needs them to function normally. Not only are they great for your brain, but they also have been shown to reduce inflammation, boost heart health, lower triglycerides, relieve rheumatoid arthritis, and even aid in the treatment of depression. As an added bonus, Omega-3s are an antiager!

These miracle fats are vital to your overall health and longevity. Your body can’t produce these healthy fats on their own, so you need to make sure you’re getting a daily dose through your diet.

Chances are you’re already eating foods that contain Omega-3s without even knowing it. Below are five wonderful sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and how to include them in your diet. Happy eating!

1. Fish

Salmon and tuna are two of the best natural sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. These are a wonderful dinner option, served with wild rice or on top of a salad. Don’t shy away from the white part of the fish when it’s cooked – that’s where the highest concentration of Omega-3s is!

2. Avocados

Cut up an avocado and toss it into your salad – it’s a great way to get those healthy fats with fewer calories! Plus, they add variety to your traditional salad.

3. Walnuts

Keep a handful of these at your desk to ward off afternoon hunger and keep your mind alert.

4. Olive Oil

Heart-healthy olive oil is full of Omega-3 fatty acids, and is also great for your skin and waistline! Try substituting it for butter when cooking your morning omelet.

5. Flax Seeds

Flax seeds have one of the highest concentrations of Omega-3 fatty acids found in nature. A three-tablespoon serving of flax seeds has the same amount of Omega-3s as a pound of fish, making this a great option for a girl on the go. Add them to your cereal, or serve with yogurt and fruit for a nutritious meal that will keep you going all day!

There are also many Omega-3 supplements available at your local health food store, if you feel that you’re not getting enough of these foods. Just make sure that you’re taking 500 mg of fish oil, or Omega-3s, per day.

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Healthy Snack Ideas for Your Day

healthy snacksHaving healthy snacks through the day help keep your blood sugar stable and avoid eating too much at meals. You’ll feel less hungry and more energetic if you fuel your body at regular intervals. Discuss snacking with your doctor or nutritionist, but we suggest going no longer than three or four hours without eating or snacking.

If you keep good-tasting, healthy snacks accessible at all times, you’ll be more likely to resist unhealthy snacking. Keep healthy snacks at your desk or in the fridge at work—hopefully far away from the candy machine!

Healthy snacks that taste good include . . .

Dark chocolate.

While you don’t want to eat a lot of dark chocolate every day, an ounce is good for your heart and for your taste buds. The higher the cocoa content, the better. Ideally, you want at least 70% cocoa, which is a strong dark chocolate.


Chock-full of antioxidants and vitamins, fruit is a good choice for a snack. However, fruit is high in natural sugar, so you may want to eat lower-sugar choices such as berries or apples, or eat fruit with a little bit of protein and fat. An apple with organic nut butter or string cheese is a tasty, nutritious snack.

Raw vegetables.

Any raw vegetable is a good snack choice. Many veggies are high in fiber and keep you satisfied until the next meal. Veggies are a nutritional bargain—high concentrations of nutrients for few calories. Great choices include broccoli, cucumber, and radishes, or celery with nut butter.


Gorp is trail mix that you prepare yourself using your favorite nuts and dried fruit. A typical recipe includes almonds, nuts, dried coconut, dried cranberries, and dark chocolate chips. It’s very simple to make—just mix the ingredients in a bowl and pack in individual serving bags if you wish.


Simple to make in the microwave and enough to share, popcorn fills you up for very few calories. Beware: many commercial varieties of microwave popcorn contain partially hydrogenated oil, which you do not want to eat. You may need to go to a health food store to find a brand that does not have it.


While you don’t want to eat a lot of cheese on a regular basis, it is a delicious and nutritious snack. You only need an ounce. Try string cheese for a convenient and easy-to-carry snack, or for a real treat, try some goat’s milk or sheep’s milk cheese. You’ll find a little bit goes a long way.


Long vilified for their fat content, nuts are a good source of healthy fats, protein, and minerals. A handful of nuts or a tablespoon of organic nut butter with cheese or apples makes a satisfying treat. If you buy nut butter, ensure that the nut itself is the only ingredient.

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How to Spice Up A Boring Salad—the Healthy Way

saladYou’re eating healthier by having a salad once or twice a day, but it’s getting a tad boring. What can you do to spice it up and give it a little taste pizzazz? When it comes to delicious healthy additions, you’re limited only by your imagination.


Here you have a variety of choices, including bell peppers (green, red, yellow, orange), banana peppers, hot peppers including habanero and jalapeño, and dried peppers used as a spice. Peppers are full of fiber and antioxidants, vitamins, and carotenoids to nourish your body. Red peppers are loaded with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as lycopene. The capsaicin in hot peppers may help improve immunity and kill stomach bacteria that cause ulcers.

Nuts and seeds

Any salad tastes better with a little crunch. Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin E, and minerals including magnesium, iron, and zinc. Eat a variety of nuts and seeds to get as many nutrients as possible. Good choices for salads include sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, and pistachios.


A hardboiled egg is only about 70 calories, and is a tasty and healthy addition to any salad. Eggs are chock-full of nutrients, including essential fatty acids that help keep your brain, eyes, and muscles healthy. The protein in eggs is high quality, and if you’re pregnant, the choline in eggs helps your child’s brain develop properly.

Fennel or Anise

This aromatic and flavorful veggie contains fiber, folate, and vitamin C, and delivers a slight licorice flavor.


Another food full of nutrients, beans will fill you up and add fiber and protein to your salad. Try black or kidney beans for a rich taste that’s never boring.


Why not add orange slices, kiwi, strawberries, or blueberries to your salad? Fruit is high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, which give fruits and veggies their color. Eat a variety of colors, and you’ll feel incredible.


If you’re bored with oil and vinegar, try something new. Use a different type of oil, or sample rice or balsamic vinegar. Add a few squeezes of lemon or lime juice, or try yogurt mixed with olive oil and vinegar. Add a new ingredient with a kick, such as red pepper or mustard, or buy a pepper mill and crack fresh pepper over your salad. Don’t be afraid to use spices liberally, such as Mrs. Dash or sea salt.

What do you do to spice up your salads?