Iowans who want their Thanksgiving tables to resemble a Norman Rockwell painting might consider slight menu changes to make the traditional holiday meal healthier. Doug Robertson, a registered dietician at the University Hospitals in Iowa City, says if you’ll be gobbling turkey, go for the light meat versus the dark meat because light meat is usually lower in fat.
If you’re making stuffing, Robertson suggests a few alternatives in the recipe. He says to skip the giblets and add fruits like apricots, cranberries or raisins and cook the stuffing outside the bird instead of inside to make it less fattening. For other menu recipes, use skim or low-fat milk instead of whole or two-percent milk and pick a low-fat cheese instead of a high-fat cheese. When making gravy, he suggests using a low-fat broth instead of the drippings from the poultry or roast.
One common Thanksgiving side dish is cranberry sauce, but Robertson says they’re not all created equal.
He says cranberry sauce is an excellent source of Vitamin-C but if you buy it canned, you lose some of the nutrients. He says it’s not too hard to make from scratch and it’s a lot better tasting — and better for you. Traditional trimmings like potatoes, corn, carrots and green beans are a must on most holiday tables but Robertson warns, don’t smother them in high-fat sauces or a lot of butter.
As for dessert, he says to try angel food cake. He says angel food is very low in fat, and top it with fruit — or make a pumpkin pie topped with low-fat or fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt. He also stresses portion control as a way to avoid over-doing it.