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Tips for healthier Thanksgiving

How many calories do we really eat at Thanksgiving? According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day alone. It is surprising!

One way to begin down the path to a healthier you is eating a healthier diet, even during the holidays. What you eat and how you prepare it can help to reduce your risk of stroke and heart disease. The American Heart Association urges Americans to control risk factors including poor cholesterol, high blood pressure and excess weight. These risk factors can be addressed by preparing tasty dishes without overdoing the salt, sodium cholesterol and saturated fat.

While preparing your holiday meal, incorporate these five tips from the American Heart Association.  (See news by Malden observer.) They are simple and you won’t compromise on the delicious flavor.

· Be sweet on sweet potatoes – Skip the white mashed potatoes and go sweet. Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that can make a tasty side dish or dessert.

· Stuff with more veggies and less bread – Opt for less bread in your stuffing and add more onions, celery, vegetables, or fruits such as dried cranberries or apples to make a lower calorie version of the old standby. Try using whole wheat bread in order to make it an even healthier option.

· Sacrifice fat, not flavor – Use low-fat buttermilk or low-sodium chicken stock in place of cream or whole milk in dishes like mashed potatoes and whipped sweet potatoes. You’ll achieve a creamy consistency and loads a flavor, minus the unnecessary fat and calories.

· Be fresh – Most sodium in the diet comes from packaged, processed foods.  Go with fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned and limit the amount of salt while you cook.

· Steam and mash – Try sneaking in more, low calorie vegetables by mashing or pureeing steamed or boiled cauliflower with fat-free milk. It’s a flavorful substitute for mashed potatoes and can help balance an otherwise potato rich meal.