BOWIE, Md.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--With the year’s biggest holiday feast just around the corner, it’s no surprise that one in four Americans break their diets on Thanksgiving. But a delicious meal with all of the trimmings doesn’t mean you have to surrender to the Battle of the Bulge. With plenty of healthy alternatives available, SHOPPERS notes that your cravings can still easily be satisfied without falling totally off the wagon.
“People tend to drop their healthy habits over the holidays, which may feel liberating at first until the weight starts creeping up, leading to frustration and disappointment”
“People tend to drop their healthy habits over the holidays, which may feel liberating at first until the weight starts creeping up, leading to frustration and disappointment,” said Jennifer Shea Rawn, SHOPPERS Registered Dietitian. “But there are plenty of ways to satisfy your holiday and food cravings without going overboard.”
As with any meal – but especially with a big holiday gathering like Thanksgiving – Rawn emphasizes the importance of eating in moderation. Her first suggestion is to fill your plate up with protein (turkey) and greens. By starting with more healthful elements first, you’ll be less likely to overindulge on the less nutritious items.
Rawn also suggests putting a few spins on the traditional holiday favorites. These recipes are packed with incredible flavor, are good for you, and will quickly be added to your Thanksgiving menu for all to enjoy:
- Try mashing that cauliflower! Instead of mashed potatoes laden with butter and cream, try mashed cauliflower. Use low-sodium chicken broth, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper for flavor. Top it off with some shaved parmesan cheese – a little bit goes a long way in adding richness. And for an even more flavorful dish, roast the cauliflower instead of boiling or microwaving it.
- Try red quinoa stuffing! Instead of traditional stuffing, try going with quinoa. Red quinoa is festive, has great texture and is delicious when combined with sautéed mushrooms, green onions and shallots and thyme (or your favorite herb mix). If you have gluten-free guests, quinoa or rice stuffing is the perfect alternative.
- Try roasting those roots! Instead of green bean casserole or sweet potato casserole, roast parsnips, carrots, Brussels sprouts and beets. Just toss with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle with salt, pepper and your favorite herbs and roast until tender. Roasting caramelizes the natural sugars in the veggies, making for a rustic sweet and savory dish.
Keeping your eating on a more healthful track isn’t the only important aspect to consider as you get ready for the holiday. Rawn also notes the importance of food safety as you prepare your favorite meals in the kitchen.
“You want to ensure that everyone can enjoy their meal with the utmost satisfaction,” adds Rawn. “That’s why it’s extremely important to properly handle the turkey and other Thanksgiving staples during the preparation process.”
SHOPPERS and Rawn have put together a complete guide of Food Safety Tips for the holiday, including:
- Thoroughly Thaw Turkey: It's best to plan ahead for slow, safe thawing in the refrigerator. Allow about one day for every 4-5 pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator. Turkey may also be thawed in cold water in its airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes to be sure it stays cold. Allow about 30 minutes defrosting time per pound of turkey. Cook the turkey immediately after it thaws.
- Don’t Cross-Contaminate: Use one cutting board for fresh produce and a separate one for raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat, poultry, seafood or eggs.
- Cook to Proper Temperatures: When cooking the turkey, check the internal temperature in the innermost part of the thigh and wing and the thickest part of the breast with a food thermometer. Poultry should reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. The stuffing should reach 165 °F, whether cooked inside the bird or in a separate dish.
SHOPPERS® Food & Pharmacy, part of the SUPERVALU family of grocery stores, offers consumers in Baltimore, northern Virginia and Washington, D.C. a full-service supermarket with the finest quality and largest variety of fresh produce, USDA Choice beef, family pack meats, fresh seafood and steamed shrimp, as well as hot foods, full-service pharmacies and in-store full-service banks. With 56 stores in its banner, SHOPPERS targets the price-conscious consumers offering over 30,000 everyday low prices and a commitment to save up to 15 percent or more every day with no card needed. For more information, please visit www.shoppersfood.com.