It’s that Time of the Year: Thanksgiving!

NUTRITION

It’s November! And most likely the first thing that come to everyone’s minds is Thanksgiving Feast! Of course it is a nice opportunity to gather together and be really thankful for all important things in life and truly appreciate what we have.  However, for many people, Thanksgiving dinner is just one more stressor which requires so much planning and work.

And it is not only the fact of not knowing what to cook but how much to eat.  It is true that we all need to be mindful about our food choices throughout the year, nevertheless, people tend to think that holidays and healthy eating do not belong in the same sentence.  Truth is that although weight loss may not be realistic during the holidays, people can still aim at not gaining extra weight.

Turkey is usually the entrée choice for Thanksgiving. Although some families prefer ham or even roasted pork.  Regardless of the choice, it is most important to have a ‘juicy’ meat that doesn’t require so much gravy ― remember, gravy tends to be high in calories―. 

Cook your meat at medium temperatures for as many hours as needed and baste the meat with its own drippings.  Avoid using extra butter. Always let the meat rest for about 15-20 minutes before carving it, so all the juices are retained in the meat and don’t end up on the serving platter. 

For sides, try to go with at least two vegetables sides.  Some options may include roasted carrots, Brussel sprouts or yams.  Of course, choose one starch for your dinner, for instance rice or potatoes. 

Here is an easy yam recipe! Enjoy!

Yams with Apple Cider and Pumpkin Kernels

Although yams can be enjoyed all year round, they are especially appealing around this time of the year. We see them roasted or mashed with all sort of spices that bring out their sweetness and creamy texture.

It is no secret that yams are an excellent source of potassium, antioxidants and dietary fiber.  In addition, sweet yams are also an excellent source of these nutrients and in the case of vitamin A.

Many Latin American countries use yams and/or sweet potatoes in a variety of dishes, from soups to desserts like Camotes Enmielados or Mexican Candied Sweet Potatoes.

This simple recipe uses basic ingredients and toasted pumpkin kernels that not only add interesting contrasting colors but it also gives the recipe a crunchy touch.

Ingredients & Method (Yields: 6 – 8)

  • 2 lbs yams or sweet potatoes, boiled or baked until fork-tender
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. unsalted butter (Vegan spread can also be used)
  • 2 – 3 Tbsp. unsweetened applesauce
  • ¼ cup apple cider
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Toasted pumpkin kernels to garnish

Mash the yams using a fork (use a ricer if a smoother texture is desired)

While still warm, add the butter. Add apple cider and applesauce, Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with pumpkin kernels.

Enjoy!

 Suellen is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist based in the Rochester, NY area.  Connect with her at suellenpinedaRDN@gmail.com or follow her on Instagram at @Suellen_Pineda

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