AMHERST – Warm, succulent turkey. Creamy mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, all the yummy fixings that go along with your thanksgiving dinner. But sticking to a diet can be hard when your sitting at a table covered in your favorite holiday dishes.
“I like the ham,” said Meghan Lee-Woods.
“I love someone else cooking it,” said Deb Lee. “I love the stuffing.”
Holistic nutritionist Tammy Rogers said there are a few ways for people to cut back on calories but still cook your favorites with all their flavor.
“The main part of our Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey of course,” she said. “Free range turkeys and chicken are better than farmed. When they are free ranged, they tend to have less fat; it’s more of a lean meat. It’s easier on our cholesterol levels and there is no antibiotics which is usually in commercial feed.”
The antibiotics found in the food consumed by farmed birds, Rogers said, ruin our intestinal flora, which brings our immune systems down.
Rogers also said there is a difference in the sizes of farmed birds versus free range. Free range, she said, are usually bigger in size and have better flavor.
“Most organic turkey farmers I know, your bird is going to start at 18 pounds and go all the way to 32 pounds or sometimes a little bigger,” she said. “There’s a big difference in the taste. An organic turkey, I find, has ten times more flavor.”
Simple things like changing your milk from dairy to almond or soy can increase the nutrition of those creamy mashed potatoes. Soymilk, said Rogers, is not good for men due to it being an estrogenic, helping the body create estrogen, which is great for menopausal women. But almond milk contains lots of magnesium.
“I know a lot of people will do a glazed carrot. Instead of using sugars, you can use an unpasteurized honey. It’s sweet, gives it a nice glaze and the honey is a good antibacterial and antifungal. They help promote the immune system and you don’t have to use butter.”
Rogers does however recommend butter over margarine.
“Margarine was invented to fatten pigs in order to bring them to slaughter. The old saying ‘it’s one molecule away from being plastic’ is true.”
Although salted butter does contain a lot of fat, unsalted organic butter is still better for the body than margarine.
For gravy, making sure the juices in the pan cool so you can take out the fat makes for leaner gravy.
“I’ve made gravies with whole wheat flour before but I do find them heavy,” she said. “But an unbleached flour works well.”
The best way to finish any meal off is with a nice pumpkin pie, your typical Thanksgiving dinner end. One way to take a lot of the calories out of your dessert is to make your pie without the crust.
“For pumpkin pie, you can use whipped tofu instead of milk,” she said. “I try not to use white flour as best I can.”
Everything should be eaten in moderation, Rogers said. Butter use, gravy use and consumption of desserts is good as long as you stick to smaller servings.