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A Tradition with Nutrition

Por Lic. Isabel C. Rodríguez R.* -
A Tradition with Nutrition

Holidays don’t necessarily have to ruin good eating habits. On the contrary, they can be perfect excuses for preparing appetizing meals that are both tasty and nutritious, for our relatives and ourselves.

Every family has its own traditions, but turkey tends to be the centerpiece at most holiday tables. In order for the turkey and side dishes to be synonymous with good nutrition, the ingredients, condiments, and methods of preparation should be selected carefully. For example, the turkey should be baked. Rather than caramelizing the sweet potatoes, bake them with cinnamon. Stuff the turkey with fruits or vegetables without adding the stuffing mix. Finally, make the pumpkin pie with skim evaporated milk instead of regular evaporated milk.
Below are some tips on how to prepare a nutritious Thanksgiving dinner:

The main dish

  • We can’t allow the large amount of food at our Thanksgiving dinner to ruin our efforts to maintain a healthy weight. As we have always stressed in MyDiet, the best thing to do is eat in moderation and avoid excess. We should not only pay attention to what we eat, but also to how we prepare it.
  • Turkey, which is this holiday's main dish, is overall pretty good for your diet. The meat is naturally lean, and when baked, as is tradition, it is actually very healthy. The turkey breast is the leanest part. Keep in mind that a serving of turkey breast has 1 gram of fat and 140 calories, while the leg has 7 grams of fat and 182 calories per serving.
  • There are many different ways to prepare turkey stuffing. Unfortunately, many contain large amounts of fat. If you want to prepare a recipe that is low in fat and calories, be mindful of the ingredients you choose. The stuffing can consist of corn bread, sweet potatoes and mushrooms, apples, fruits and nuts, artichokes and cheese, or carrots and peppers. 
  • For the gravy, you can also let your imagination run wild. Try making an herb and onion gravy, an orange gravy, or for a Latin touch (without fat), make a guava paste gravy.
  • Always remember not to drench your foods in gravy. It is usually loaded with fat.

Healthy colors and flavors for the season

  • Vegetables are side dishes that taste great and add color to your table. Some colorful examples of what you can serve are sweet potatoes with cinnamon, green beans, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cranberry. Rice with vegetables or boiled potatoes are other examples.
  • Even though dessert is not the best addition to your diet, there are always ways to incorporate a bit of sweetness into your meal without overdoing the calories. Some of the options include: fruits, ice cream, fruit sorbets, pumpkin custard, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cheese cake with blueberries. 
  • Substitute the sugar in your desserts with artificial sweeteners, always remembering to add them at the end of the preparation.
  • Substitute cream, milk, and cheese in your recipes with low-fat or nonfat versions, to reduce the calorie and fat content in your meal.


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