As we approach the holidays, we realize how much we have to be thankful for in our lives.
Thanksgiving in my house growing up usually involved us traveling to see family. My grandpa was a great cook and would always make the turkey just right! For me, Thanksgiving is all about the turkey. Nowadays, my husband does not like turkey, so he ends up getting some steak (more turkey for me!). Turkey is a good source of lean protein, vitamin B-6 and niacin which are essential for protein, fat & carbohydrate metabolism to produce energy in the body.
Another Thanksgiving staple, pumpkin pie, also yields some health benefits, Pumpkin is a good source of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and fiber. Pumpkin also contains carotenoids which include beta carotene and lutein which is important for eye health. You can control the amount of sugar and fats in pumpkin pie by using plain pumpkin puree and evaporated milk instead of heavy cream.
While our main focus on the Thanksgiving meal is to enjoy it with friends and family, we should pay attention to the safety of foods during preparation and storage. Stuffing (or dressing) is unfortunately a cause for food poisoning if not cooked correctly. When stuffing the Thanksgiving bird, a general guideline is to plan for about 1 cup of prepared stuffing per pound of uncooked turkey. Use a food thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the stuffing reaches 165 degrees. Store leftover stuffing in a separate container than turkey when finished.
And now, a recipe:
Pumpkin Pie Dip (adapted from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics)
This dip would be great to have available as guests arrive and start mingling, watching football and waiting for the main event!
- 1 Package cream cheese (room temperature)
- ½ C Greek yogurt
- 1 can pumpkin (no sugar added)
- 2 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground allspice
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 Tbsp agave sweetener
- 2 Tbsp brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
- Combine cream cheese and yogurt in food processor or blender (can also use hand beaters if needed) and blend until smooth.
- Add the remaining ingredients and continue blending until smooth.
- Cover & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes prior to serving.
- Serve with pita chips, pretzels and sliced apples.
Happy Thanksgiving to All!
Rebecca Kapsen, RDN, LDN
Ebenezer Corporate Registered Dietitian