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Healthy, Tasty Holiday Dining

Yes, it is possible to have a healthy, traditional Thanksgiving

By Edie J. Herons-Adler
Published on LatinoLA: November 4, 2003


Healthy, Tasty Holiday Dining


With the alarming rates of obesity affecting our community, you may be wondering if you have to give up taste, or even worse, tradition, to keep your family eating healthy. Not so, says the American Heart Association! You can still have a traditional holiday meal, and be heart-healthy conscious.

Stuff your Thanksgiving turkey with a little imagination this year and serve up a tasty bird that?s a healthy alternative to the usual fat-laden holiday fare.

The American Heart Association knows it?s a challenge to maintain healthy eating habits this time of year. Our wide variety of cookbooks makes it easy to prepare heart-healthy versions of your family favorites ? even the main attraction.

Roast a turkey stuffed with aromatic vegetables and herbs rather than bread and serve it with guilt-free gravy. Create a tasty Sweet Potato Casserole without gooey marshmallows. Accent with Cranberry Orange Salad and then drizzle Apple-Raisin Sauce over yogurt for dessert. They are all familiar holiday tastes -- but with a healthy twist.

Healthy eating is a habit you want to develop because a diet low in fat and cholesterol is key in decreasing risk factors linked to heart disease and stroke, the number one and three killers of Latinos in the United States. In fact, eating healthy and exercising can greatly reduce your risk, offsetting factors you cannot control like age and heredity.

American Heart Association cookbooks are respected sources for heart-healthy recipes. And they make great gifts. In fact, the American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook, Second Edition, is now available in a large-format paperback priced at less than $16. Look for it at booksellers everywhere. It suggests a healthier way to stuff that holiday bird, along with some basic turkey tips.

Turkey has less fat than chicken and white meat has less fat that dark. Most of the calories are in the skin. Health-conscious cooks leave the skin on while roasting the bird, and then remove the skin before serving. Place the turkey on a rack in the roasting pan to prevent it from sitting in its own fat drippings.

Most turkeys sold in supermarkets have been injected with a basting solution to enhance the flavor and keep the bird moist while roasting. These solutions are almost always high in sodium. If you can?t find a non-injected turkey at your regular grocery store, you may need to order a few days ahead of time from a specialty grocery store, butcher shop, health food store, or natural food market. Baste your turkey with pan juices or chicken broth during roasting to help keep it moist, and be sure not to overcook.

Savory Roasted Turkey:

12-pound fresh or frozen turkey, not injected with a basting solution
2 tablespoons no-salt added herb seasoning
Vegetable oil spray
1 rib celery, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 medium carrot, unpeeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 medium onion, sliced
1 small lime, quartered
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (optional)
3 cups Easy Gravy (optional, see recipe)

If cooking a frozen turkey, thaw completely, using package directions. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray rack for roasting pan with vegetable oil spray. Do not spray bottom of pan.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavity; save for another use or discard. Rinse turkey and pat dry with paper towels. Rub outside of turkey with herb mixture. Put turkey with breast side up on rack in roasting pan. Lightly spray surface of turkey with vegetable oil spray. Put celery, carrot, onion, lime and rosemary in turkey cavity. Roast for three hours and 30-45 minutes, basting once every hour with pan juices (or up to 1/2 cup broth). Turkey is done if juices run clear when you pierce a thigh with a sharp skewer or if an instant-read meat thermometer registers 180 degrees F. when you insert between thigh and breast meat (be sure thermometer doesn?t touch bone.) Remove from oven and let stand for 15 minutes before carving.

Discard vegetables in cavity. Remove skin before serving turkey. Serves 20; about three ounces turkey per serving.

Turkey Nutrient Analysis: Calories, 150; Protein, 25 g; Carbohydrates, 0 g; Cholesterol, 62 mg; Total Fat, 5 g (saturated, 2 g; polyunsaturated, 1 g; monounsaturated, 1 g); Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 57 mg; Potassium, 259 mg; Calcium, 24 mg.

Cook?s Tip ? The reason you don?t spray the turkey-roasting pan is that the caramelized brown bits that stick to the bottom on the pan will make a delicious gravy. The pan will virtually clean itself when it is deglazed with water.

Easy Gravy:
Using a turkey baster, skim fat from pan drippings in roasting pan, leaving caramelized brown bits and juices in bottom of pan. Pour 1 cup water into pan; scrape pan with a wooden spoon to loosen brown bits from bottom of pan. Pour this mixture into a medium saucepan, along with 2 cups chicken broth. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup cold water and 1/3 cup all-purpose flour. Pour into broth mixture. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until mixture is thickened, whisking occasionally. Season with pepper to taste. Serve warm. Makes 12 servings; 1/4 cup per serving.

Gravy nutrient analysis: Calories, 14; Protein, 1 g; Carbohydrates, 3 g; Cholesterol, 0 mg; Total Fat, 0 g (saturated, 0 g; polyunsaturated, 0 g; monounsaturated, 0 g); Fiber, 0 g; Sodium, 5 mg; Potassium, 20 mg; Calcium, 2 mg.

Sweet Potato Casserole:
4 medium sweet potatoes, or 2 15-ounce can sweet potatoes (about 4 cups)
Vegetable oil spray
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon brandy flavoring

If using fresh sweet potatoes, boil them whole in a Dutch oven for 25-30 minutes, or until tender. Drain potatoes, soak in cold water until cool enough to handle and peel. If using canned potatoes, drain thoroughly. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly spray a 1-quart casserole dish with vegetable oil spray. In a large bowl, mash potatoes. Stir in remaining ingredients until well mixed. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until heated through. Serves 5, 1/2 cup per serving.
Nutrient analysis: Calories, 153; Protein, 2 g; Carbohydrates, 31 g; Cholesterol, 0 mg; Total Fat 2 g (saturated, 0 g; polyunsaturated, 1 g; monounsaturated, 0 g); Fiber, 2 g; Sodium, 16 mg; Potassium, 263 mg; Calcium, 30 mg. These recipes are reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association Low-Salt Cookbook, Second Edition Copyright ? 1990, 2001 by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

Cranberry Orange Salad:
3-ounce package lemon gelatin
1 cup boiling water
1 cup fresh orange juice (3 medium oranges)
12 or 16 ounce container cranberry-orange relish
1 unpeeled apple, chopped (3/4 cup)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons chopped pecans
Vegetable oil spray

Put gelatin in a medium bowl. Pour in water and stir constantly until gelatin has dissolved. Stir in orange juice. Cover and refrigerate until almost jelled, about 30 minutes. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients except vegetable oil spray, stirring well. Fold into gelatin mixture. Spray a 1-quart mold with vegetable oil spray. Pour mixture into bowl. Cover and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour.
Serves 8. Nutrient analysis: Calories, 188; Protein, 2 g; Carbohydrates, 39 g; Cholesterol, 0 mg; Total Fat, 4 g (saturated, 0 g; polyunsaturated, 1 g; monounsaturated, 2 g); Fiber, 2 g; Sodium, 53 mg.
This recipe reprinted with permission from the New American Heart Association Cookbook, Sixth Edition, Copyright ? 1998 by the American Heart Association. Published by Times Books, a division of Random House, Inc.

Apple-Raisin Sauce:
Top off your heart-healthy feast with this delicious fruit sauce over nonfat or low-fat ice cream or frozen yogurt. You get the same taste combination as apple pie a la mode, but with a lot less fat.
3 medium apples
2 cups unsweetened apple juice
1/4 cup raisins or dried cranberries
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon corn starch

Peel apples, if desired. Core and chop coarsely. In a large saucepan, combine apples, juice, raisins, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, or until apples are tender. Meanwhile, pour water into a cup or small bowl. Add cornstarch and stir until dissolved. Add cornstarch mixture to apple mixture and cook, stirring constantly for 1 to 2 minutes, or until thick and smooth. Serve warm; makes 6 servings, 1/2 cup each. Nutrient analysis: Calories, 114; Protein, 1 g; Carbohydrates, 29 g; total Fat 1 g (saturated fat, 0 g; polyunsaturated, 0 g; monounsaturated, 0 g); Cholesterol, 0 mg; Sodium, 5 mg.

This recipe reprinted with permission from the American Heart Association Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cookbook, Second Edition Copyright ? 1997, by the American Heart Association. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

About Edie J. Herons-Adler:
Edie J. Herons-Adler, Latino Media Director at the American Heart Association, and a regular contributor to LatinoLA wishes you a happy, heart-healthy Dia de Gracias.
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