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Eat Smart this Thanksgiving

Take time this holiday season to incorporate healthy ideas into traditional recipes

Joliet, IL (Nov. 22, 2010)— Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a season where eating is the focus of the celebration. While it's also the season of indulgence, it's easy to plan a holiday meal that's delicious and healthful. This year, take a head start on your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier, and incorporate some of these ideas into your holiday feast.

Stanley Bielawski, Registered Dietitian and Licensed Dietitian Nutritionist at Silver Cross Hospital, agrees “making simple changes can transform the amount of calories you consume during the holidays.” His favorite tip, “never go to Thanksgiving dinner hungry. Eat a healthy breakfast in the morning and a small snack 2 hours before your meal to help prevent overeating.”

Freshen up your classic recipes. This year lighten up the standard green bean casserole by using fresh green beans, fresh sautéed mushrooms, and caramelized onions instead of the typical canned veggie/soup/fried onion trio or throw some fresh broccoli in the mac & cheese. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetable instead of the canned/frozen with preservatives versions can not only knock calories off your favorite dishes, but it will also boost the flavor.


Keep the skin on. The skins on potatoes, sweet potatoes, and yams are high in fiber. Keep them on when making mashed or baked versions and you will instantly sneak some nutrition into a holiday favorite. Another way to serve raw fruits and veggies with skins on is to make salads. Add a few seasonal, fresh salads on the table with the other traditional side dishes to add a healthy kick to the feast. This time of year is a wonderful season for fresh pomegranate, fennel, spinach and citruses. The only exception to this rule is for the turkey. Turkey skin is loaded with a large portion of fat. Remove this skin and eliminate a large amount of empty calories.

Substitute. With just a few tweaks, you can take a traditional dish that might be heavy on fat or sodium and make it more healthful. For example, canola oil has nearly half the saturated fat and more healthful, unsaturated fat than other oils; use it in place of traditional vegetable oil in baked goods. Using Greek yogurt or sour cream instead of mayonnaise, cream cheese or heavy cream is also a yummy and nutritious switch. By simply switching out full fat ingredients for their lighter counterparts, you will be able to enjoy your favorite foods guilt free.

Set  Limits. Enjoy the foods you really love in reasonable portions, but skip the foods you don't. Limit consumption of beer and holiday cocktails. “A tip I always try is to drink plenty of water in between sugary or alcoholic beverages” says Stanley “this is just an easy way to cut unhealthy calories.”

This time of year is about celebrating family and friends, not food. Make the celebration center around that. Enjoy your favorites, but don’t over-indulge in unhealthy foods. For more family fun & health tips, visit the Silver Cross You Tube Page page.

About Silver Cross Hospital
Silver Cross Hospital is a not-for-profit health care provider serving Will County and southwest suburban communities since 1895. Silver Cross has been recognized as a Thomson 100 Top Hospitals National Award winner for the last six consecutive years and as one of America’s Most Customer Friendly Hospitals by the American Alliance of Healthcare Providers. With over 2,500 employees, physicians and volunteers, Silver Cross operates a 304-bed acute care hospital and 10 satellite facilities providing outpatient services and physician offices. Construction has begun to build a state-of-the-art replacement hospital opening in 2012 in New Lenox. To learn more about Silver Cross Hospital or a referral to a physician on staff, visit or call 1-888-660-HEAL (4325).


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