During Thanksgiving week, Americans spend around $90 million on pies. And most folks eat around 30 grams of added sugar (far beyond what you should have in a day) in their Thanksgiving dinner before they even get to dessert.
But you don't have to give up your favorite Turkey Day ingredients to eat healthy. The trick is to prepare them so they deliver maximum flavor and nutrition with minimum damage.
Pumpkin and cranberries are two favorites that usually come with a lot of sugar mixed in. Here are some alternative ideas:
• Pumpkin. Chock full of nutrients, a half cup delivers 245% of the reference daily Intake of vitamin A, as well as a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and iron. If using a canned product, make sure it’s 100% pumpkin — not pie filling.
Consider baking hollowed-out mini-pumpkins filled with quinoa, nuts, raisins, or dried cranberries with fresh herbs and scallions.
For dessert? Blend pumpkin puree, yogurt (coconut is OK, if no sugar is added), vanilla extract, a dash of salt, and a drizzle of maple syrup (add the least amount needed). Top with chopped nuts.
• Cranberries. They’re a classic sugar dump. Still, you want to get all the fiber, magnesium, potassium, B-vitamins (1, 2, 3 and 6), and vitamins K, E, and C they contain.
Cook them whole in fresh-squeezed OJ; season with ginger; add chopped walnuts and blueberries; and spice them up with cayenne or jalapenos. If you must, drizzle with maple syrup.