Thanks For Giving Me These Holiday Tips!

Thankful for Health

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – being surrounded by family, friends and food and acknowledging the many things for which we are thankful. While it’s okay to indulge (it is a holiday, after all), it’s important to be thankful for our health, our ability to reach this season, and treat our bodies well so that they can continue to care for us. This year, I have a lot to be thankful for! I’m thankful for my fiancé, who keeps me strong, challenges me and loves me unconditionally. I’m also thankful for the fact that I’ll be gaining an additional family in a few short months, and thankful for my own family who has always supported me, through college and grad school, my initial endeavors as a dietitian, and always playing the role of guinea pig when I want to try out a new recipe! I’m thankful for my new home in Florida, all of my new friends, my old friends who continue to stay close regardless of being miles apart, and the ability to do what I love everyday.

I’m also thankful for my attitude toward food, as I’m aware that it does not come easy to many people, and it didn’t always come easy to me, either. Food should be enjoyed, not villainized, and celebrated for all that it can do for us, and we should aim to choose foods that will provide nutrition, as well as joy. In the midst of casseroles, cookies and pies, it can be difficult to navigate the Thanksgiving table with health in mind. Below are some tips so that you can eat your turkey (and pie), and enjoy it too!

  • Start your day with some physical activity. Most of us consume more calories on Thanksgiving than on an average day, so burning some extra calories will help to offset the caloric intake to come. Also, exercise can allow you to burn some additional calories following your workout, although this amount is often small.
  • Focus on veggies. That may seem difficult on Turkey Day, but there are so many seasonal veggies to choose from right now and they’ll help you to fill up with fiber, water and give you a good dose of vitamins and minerals! Some in-season veggies to consider making the star of the show include Brussels sprouts, kale, winter squash, cauliflower and cabbage. My favorite Brussels sprouts recipe is just as tasty as it is pretty!
  • Turkey is a relatively lean protein, especially if you choose the breast meat (white meat). If you’re a turkey lover, feel free to enjoy the festive protein, keeping in mind that one 3 oz serving of poultry is approximately the size of a deck of cards.
  • Stay hydrated. Drinking a glass of water and choosing foods that contain large amounts of water (like fruits and vegetables) can help you to feel more full, which means you may indulge less and keep portions reasonable. Also, if you’re drinking alcohol, make sure to alternate each drink with water and skip any high-sugar mixers.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains for side dishes. Try a recipe that features farro or quinoa (okay, so quinoa is technically a seed, but it’s consistency and properties are similar to a whole grain) for increased protein and fiber! Farro is my favorite, with a hearty, chewy texture that stands up to sauces and is also great on it’s own with some oil and veggies.
  • Consider serving a veggie-based soup before the meal, such as my pureed roasted cauliflower soup. This seasonal soup tastes creamy and hearty, but it’s relatively low in calories and will fill you up so you don’t overdo it during the main event.
  • Go for an evening stroll with some guests after dinner, which can help to stabilize blood sugar levels and add to your overall step count that day.
  • Don’t be fooled by desserts with a health halo – an avocado brownie is still a brownie, although it is likely to be a better alternative since it will have increased monounsaturated fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Even if you offer some “healthified” dessert options, keep portions in check. Interested in sampling a few desserts because there are so many great options? Take small portions of a few and choose your favorite to possibly indulge in a larger piece. My favorite fall dessert? Pumpkin pie! Enjoy my favorite recipe here. More into chocolate? My chocolate goji bark is always a crowd pleaser!

thanksgiving

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Protein-Packed Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie Made With Whole Wheat Crust

Pumpkin pie is essentially the mascot of the month of November – and this recipe will leave all thankful at your Thanksgiving day table! Loaded with beta carotene (which our bodies can convert to vitamin A), protein and fiber, this hearty dessert actually offers up a slice of nutrition! And for about 200 calories per slice, your belly can be thankful, too!

pie

Ingredients (serves 10):

Crust:

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

3/4 C whole wheat flour

1/2 C all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 C canola oil

2 Tbsp 1% milk

3 Tbsp cold water

Pie Filling:

15 oz canned pumpkin puree (about 2 C)

1 large egg

3 large egg whites

1 C dark brown sugar, unpacked

1 Tbsp all purpose flour

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 C 0% plain Greek yogurt

1/4 C 1% milk

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp honey

Whole wheat crust!

Whole wheat crust!

Directions:

1. Combine all ingredients to make the crust in a large mixing bowl (whole wheat flour, all purpose flour, salt, canola oil, 1% milk and cold water). Mix ingredients together with a spoon to gather, then use your hands to knead the dough so that all ingredients are well combined.

2. Spray a 9″ diameter pie pan with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Transfer dough ball to center of pie pan and use your hands to spread the dough evenly, bringing the dough up over the sides and edges of the pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. In a small bowl, whisk together egg and egg whites. In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar and eggs from smaller bowl. Make sure to smooth any clumps of brown sugar. Add flour, spices, Greek yogurt, milk, honey and vanilla extract to pumpkin mixture and whisk together until well combined.

4. Set aside the batter to thicken. In the meantime, bake the pie crust in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until slightly browned. Remove from oven.

5. Fill the pie crust with the pie filling so that the pan is about 3/4 full. There may be extra filling depending on the depth of your pan (you can repurpose this for other treats or mini pies if you’d like!) and bake in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 1 hour, or until slightly browned. You can check for doneness using a toothpick (make sure that the toothpick comes out clean when dipped into the center of the pie).

6. Chill pie in the fridge until cold and set – about 4 hours minimum. It may help to store it covered with aluminum foil or parchment paper to prevent the pie from absorbing odors from the fridge. After you serve the pie, store in the fridge, covered for up to 3-5 days, or freeze in an airtight container or bag. Enjoy!

Yum!

Yum!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving (1 serving is one slice that is 1/10th of the pie)

Calories 208 calories, Total Fat 6 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Cholesterol 19 mg, Carbohydrates 32 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 6 g, Sodium 217 mg, Calcium 66 mg