We tend to think of the holidays as a time when healthy diets go out the window. However, it can be easy to stay on track with the DASH diet on Thanksgiving.
Remember the DASH diet principles: lots of vegetables, fruits, lean meats, fish, poultry, low fat and nonfat dairy, bean and nuts, whole grains, and limited saturated fats and sweets. Use the following tips to make your Thanksgiving very DASH-friendly. And check out one of our favorite menus from previous Thanksgivings.
For the stuffing, I add larger than recommended quantities of the "seasoning vegetables" (carrots, celery, and onions), and throw in a handful (or more) of cranberries along with some coarsely chopped walnuts. This packs in extra servings of some of the key DASH foods (veggies, fruits, and nuts) that benefit your blood pressure. This year I made the dressing in a bundt pan, and it worked out great! It allowed the dressing to be fully cooked throughout, without being dry at the edges and soggy in the middle. And yes, I always do the stuffing out-of-the-bird. When you cook a stuffed bird, the roasting time needs to be longer, to get the dressing heated to165° F, which causes the white meat from the over-cooked bird to be dry.
While cooking the bird, I made turkey broth from the neck and giblets, using the recipe for chicken broth from The Everyday DASH Diet Cookbook. I made the sautéed seasoning veggies for both the broth and the stuffing at the same time; spooned some into the broth, leaving the rest for the stuffing. Easy peasy!
One more trick. Tired of peeling all those potatoes? Bake some Idaho spuds at 400° F. Cut in half when done (about 1 hour), and scoop out the potato flesh. Make your mashed potatoes with your regular recipe. You can also do this for making mashed sweet potatoes. Those I roast on a baking sheet with a layer of aluminum foil underneath the potatoes. (Just makes clean up easier.) I cook sweet potatoes at 400° F until I see a little sugar seepage coming out. Usually it takes about 1 hour for large potatoes.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
from Marla Heller, MS, RD