|[November 19, 2012]
Kaiser Permanente Southern California Experts Offer Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Makeover
PASADENA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Since Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the over-eating,
over-indulging, end-of-year festivities, Kaiser Permanente Southern
California experts want to provide you the healthy eating tools you need
to enjoy a tasty, happy holiday season. As you put together your
Thanksgiving dinner menu, take a few minutes to review your favorite
recipes and think about how you can make those dishes healthier without
losing the flavor.
"Turkey, a relatively low-fat meat, is the centerpiece of the
traditional Thanksgiving meal. However, the side dishes, gravy, and
dessert can add a lot of calories, fat, salt and sugar," said Carole
Bartolotto, MA, RD, Kaiser Permanente Southern California Regional
Health Education. "If we dish up just one serving of each of the
traditional side dishes - stuffing, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes,
gravy, green bean casserole, a dinner roll with butter and a slice of
pie to top the meal off, - you will consume about 2,000 calories in that
The USDA recommends approximately 2,000 calories a day for adults who
are at their ideal body weight. Since two-thirds of Americans are either
overweight or obese, consuming fewer calories is recommended.
So how can you prepare a traditional dinner that's lower in fat and
calories without losing the flavor
"The secret to a healthy Thanksgiving is relying on wholesome
ingredients, making a few substitutions and utilizing healthier cooking
techniques," said Stein Amland, Executive Chef, Kaiser Permanente
Baldwin Park Medical Center. "I flavor all my dishes with fresh herbs.
Not only do they add a punch of taste, but it's a simple way to slash
the amount of salt you would otherwise use."
Drinks are another overlooked at source of unnecessary calories. "Both
sugar-sweetened beverages and alcoholic drinks are high in empty
calories; in other words, they offer zero nutrients but plenty of
calories," said Linda Mirdamadi, MD, Chief Wellness Officer, Medical
Director, Health Education and Weight Management Programs, Kaiser
Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. "Make sure you take a minute
to rethink your beverage options before you take that first sip."
A study released on November 15 by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention found that, on average, soda and other sweetened drinks are
the source of about 6 percent of the calories adults consume. Alcoholic
beverages account for an additional 5 percent.
Tips to prepare healthier side dishes:
Mac and cheese: Start by choosing whole grain pasta; opt for
low-fat, skim milk cheeses and non-fat cream; cut the amount of cheese
and cream you use by adding pureed carrots and butternut squash.
Mashed potatoes: Swap out the butter for a little olive oil and
roasted garlic and the heavy cream for fat-free condensed milkor Greek
Stuffing: Pack it with vegetables and use whole wheat bread
(crumbs); also, omit the high sodium bouillon and flavor it with fresh
Cranberry sauce: Skip the canned stuff and make your own; use a
no calorie sweetener instead of traditional sugar and add spices like
cinnamon or nutmeg, or add orange zest for some extra flavoring.
Green bean casserole: Skip the cream and fried onion crisps.
Instead, roast, grill or sauté the green beans; toss them in a little
olive oil, garlic and sliced almonds; perhaps add another vegetable like
Dessert: Pumpkin pie is the 'healthiest' of all the pies, but
that doesn't mean you can have the whole thing and pile the whip cream
on top! Go for a small slice; if possible, eat around the crust. A great
alternative is to simply roast slices of pumpkin or sweet potatoes (both
high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant and fat soluble vitamin) and toss
them in a little brown sugar with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
For additional healthy
cooking tips, check out www.kp.org.
Other holiday season tips to help you maintain and not gain:
Portion control: You can still enjoy some of your favorite
holiday dishes. The key is keeping an eye on the portions you consume.
Use smaller dishes instead of the traditional dinner plate.
Don't forget the fresh fruits and veggies: If you're hosting the
party, make sure you have at least two fruit/vegetable options; if
you're a guest, take a salad or a vegetable or fruit tray.
Write it down: Use a food diary to keep a record of your
daily food intake; this will help you stay on track.
Stay active: Yes the evenings are colder, but that is not an
excuse to stop exercising. Go in the morning, find an exercise partner,
put some music on and get the whole family moving. Make it a priority to
get the recommended 30 minutes a day of physical activity.
Utilize the 'healthy
plate' concept: Fill half of your plate with vegetables
and fruits, a quarter of your plate with a whole grain and the other
quarter with a healthy source of protein.
Make time to eat: Never skip a meal. This leads to hunger-eating
which results in overeating. Consume healthy snacks throughout the day.
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and non-fat yogurt, are all great choices.
Keep track of the calories you drink: Take into consideration
that a 12-ounce can of regular cola has 140 calories, slightly less than
a same-size can of regular beer. A 5-ounce glass of wine has around 100
Manage stress: Make it a priority to get 7-8 hours of sleep and
only take on what you can handle. Holiday stress can make you feel
overwhelmed. Ask for help and realize that it's ok to say 'no.'
Take the emphasis away from food: Take a minute to reflect on the
year's accomplishments and all the things you're thankful for each day.
The holidays are about spending time with family and friends. Share a
meal then over- indulge in laughter and love.
Editor's Note: Chef Amland is available for cooking
demonstrations upon request.
About Kaiser Permanente Southern California
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health
care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care
providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission
is to provide high quality, affordable health care services to improve
the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently
serve more than 3.5 million members in Southern California. Care for
members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by
their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our
expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by
industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion,
disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class
chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care
innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of
community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.
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