Happy Thanksgiving day Eve!!. Hard to believe that it is the end of November and we are going to be in December in a few days!! With Thanksgiving tomorrow, that means that I am home in wonderful Colorado at my parents. For some reason when I come home, I am able to completely relax and worry about anything. Unlike most weekend days in St. Louis where there are a million things running through my head that I need to get done and feel guilty when I sit on the couch or be lazy. Today I have been able to sip on some coffee, read food magazines, figure out food prep for tomorrow and just relax. And it feels wonderful. I also got to see some wild life this morning as well, moose in the back yard!!!
So now that I’ve oogled over the moose it’s time to get down to food talk. First let me give a few shout outs to my homegirls and their fabulous recipes for thanksgiving Alyson over at Simplynutricising and Katie over at Nutrafit.
And if you’re more of an auditory learner, you can also check out: Lightened up thanksgiving. This will provide you with some more recipes as well as some tips for lightened up thanksgiving.
However for some easy quick tips, here are my top tips for turkey day:
Thaw your turkey properly: Do not thaw turkeys or birds on the counter. Thaw them in the refrigerator, in cold water or the microwave. Did you know that 92% of food borne illness is caused by meat poultry and thawing techniques?? (cdc.gov). Be a safe thawer.
Use a Meat thermometer. After watching Thanksgiving Live on Food Network and hearing that Bobby, Giada, Alton, and Ina use meat thermometers, why shouldn’t we. The prob in the bird is not the most accurate way to assess if the turkey is done. Most cases, the turkey will be overcooked and no one likes a dry bird (scenes of National Lampoons Christmas vacation flash into my head). Set your oven to 325 and cook the bird to a minimum of 165 F. Most cookbooks state that it will be done with an internal temperature between 160-170F. Stick your thermometer in the middle of the breast to assess donness.
This thermometer is from Bed Bath and Beyond and can be found here
General rules of thumb for cooking times on turkey is: 20 minutes per pound for an 18-20 pound turkey and 15 minutes per pound for a 12-16 pound turkey. So for an 18 pound turkey, you’re looking at cooking it for 6 hours.
Nonfat greek yogurt is like the ultimate swap out food. You can use nonfat greek yogurt in place of heavy whipping cream, full cream, regular mayonaise, sour cream, or any other high fat product. Now I know there are some scratching of heads thinking I will lose all of the taste of the dish if I do this. Trust me I got an earful from my father about this (isn’t he lucky to have a dietitian foodie as a daughter 🙂 ). Use half greek yogurt half the other ingredient. You will still have the same great taste, with half the calories.
Avoid pigging out on appetizers (guilty of this!). If you are at a gathering more times than not there will be appetizers out before dinner. This can really add up of calories before a heavy calorie meal. Try eating before going over to avoid the stomach rumbling for appetizers; and you will have more room for the big meal!
Keep portions in check. Try not to load up on potatoes and only have a morsel of vegetables. Keep portions even and your plate colorful.
Add some activity in before the big meal. Run a 5k, play a game of football, go for a walk, just get in a bit of activity, you’ll feel better and be in a better mood.
Last but not least, dessert. Once again keep portions in check, maybe have a little less potatoes so you can have a little more pie at the end.
If you overindulge, well then you enjoyed yourself and tomorrow is a new day. Enjoy the time with family and friends, be thankful, i know I will be!
What are some your Turkey day traditions??