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Make Thanksgiving a Feast of Health
Date:11/21/2007

Simple substitutions on the traditional menu offer lower-fat dishes without compromising taste

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 21 (HealthDay News) -- If the pilgrims could do without marshmallows atop their sweet potatoes, so can you.

Especially if your sweet potato casserole is topped instead with a pecan streusel that's just as tasty as marshmallow but healthier and lower in fat, nutritionists say.

By tweaking traditional Thanksgiving dinner recipes, you can avoid as much as 60 grams of fat, ensuring a healthier meal and a good beginning to the diet-busting holiday season.

"Thanksgiving dinner provides one of the healthiest food options of any holiday, because turkey is a low-fat meat, and sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie and cranberries are healthy foods and excellent sources of antioxidants," said Kathy Goldberg, a dietitian and cooking teacher at the University of Michigan Health System's health promotion program, called MFit.

But many traditional recipes -- think creamed onions, sausage stuffing, potato casseroles -- rely on lots of fat, cream, butter and sugar, both white and brown, resulting in a dinner that can range from 2,000 to 3,000 calories, an amount that should suffice an average person for a whole day, she said.

"By cleaning it up a bit," Goldberg said, which means making some simple recipe substitutions, you can provide equally delicious dishes that are nutritious as well.

"Nobody will feel like they're being cheated. Your guests won't even know, as long as you don't talk about it," she added.

Alice Lichtenstein, the Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Boston, agreed. "No one wants to take the fun out of Thanksgiving. You just want to provide good choices that will set the stage for the next month as people face the holidays, which I call 'the license-to-eat season,'" she said.

Lichtenstein said people tend to eat more when the
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