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Health & Medical

Beyond Trim: Enjoy holidays without the guilt

Our annual Thanksgiving celebration is only hours away. This is a time to spend with family and friends and express our gratitude for the blessings of the year. Thanksgiving is also a time to enjoy fantastic food dishes made especially for this time of year. Enjoy is the key word here. It is possible to enjoy all the special Thanksgiving foods, and still stay within the boundaries of a reasonable diet.

Don’t starve yourself

Many people think it will “save” calories to skip breakfast and arrive at the Thanksgiving meal with a net zero calorie intake for the day. Unfortunately, this clever plan will backfire when you ultimately consume twice as many calories because you are past the point of being hungry. Instead, have a healthy, high-fiber breakfast with protein and plenty of water to help curb your appetite. When not starving, you can eat slowly and really enjoy your meal.

Be selective

Avoid wasting your calories and fat allowance on ordinary party foods like chips and dip. When faced with a smorgasbord, look over all the items before eating. Fill your plate with low-fat salads, vegetables and fruits. Choose smaller portions of the higher-fat items. Concentrate on foods that are only made on special occasions and really enjoy them.

The law of diminishing returns

Many studies show that your taste buds are satisfied after the first one or two bites of something. For example, that first bite of pecan pie is the best and the most satisfying. As you continue to eat the pie, the pleasure diminishes. Try to eat only a couple bites of the dessert and receive 90 percent of the enjoyment for only 10 percent of the fat and calories.

Don’t set yourself up for failure

Make a conscious effort to position yourself away from the appetizer and dessert table. This will prevent you from munching away as you chat with others. Enjoy a small amount, and prevent overindulging.

Enjoy Thanksgiving Day, then enjoy the leftovers by adding turkey to fajitas, salads, stir-fry dishes, lasagna, or make a low-fat turkey salad. Use leftover mashed potatoes as a topping for casseroles like potpie and shepherd’s pie. Shape mashed potatoes into patties and make potato pancakes for breakfast. Freeze leftover bread to use later for bread crumbs or croutons. Leftover vegetables can be used to make soups or stews. Add them to casseroles or pasta sauces.

Try the following recipe if you have any leftover sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce.

Twice-baked cranberry sweet potatoes


5 medium-size baked sweet potatoes

½ cup cranberry sauce
½ cup dried cranberries, chopped
2 tablespoons butter, softened
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup walnut pieces, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut each potato in half lengthwise and scoop out pulp with a spoon leaving ¼ inch shell. Mash the potato pulp until smooth, stir in cranberry sauce, dried cranberries, butter and salt. Spoon mixture back into each shell dividing evenly. Place shells in baking pan and sprinkle with walnuts. Bake 25 to 35 minutes until thoroughly heated.

Nutritional information:

Servings per recipe: 10. Per serving: 137 calories, 6 g fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 8.3 g sugar, 19.8 g carbohydrate, 2.7 g fiber, 1.9 g protein, 172.6 mg sodium.

-- Recipe from

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