Healthy Thanksgiving Tidbits: How to Prepare Healthier yet still Flavorful Dressing.

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Dressing vs. Stuffing is another debate I’m really not going to get too deep in to, but I will tell you I’m a pro dressing girl lol.

Thanksgiving is about 1.5 weeks away and we all know no one is too concerned about their caloric intake on that day. It’s all about the buffet spread, football games and watching the parades on tv. Not only can you enjoy some of your favorite comfort foods on that day, some of it can be made a little healthier without losing it’s flavor with a few simple swaps.

Over the next couple of days leading up to Thanksgiving, I will share a few tidbits on how to make some of your Thanksgiving dishes a little bit healthier.

Here are a few quick and easy thanksgiving simple swaps on how to make your dressing/stuffing healthier yet flavorful:

•Choose cooking chicken stock vs cooking chicken broth. Stock has a richer and deeper flavor than broth due to the gelatin released by cooking mostly with bones. Broth is cooked mostly with meat and veggies.

•Choose Swanson or Kitchen Basics unsalted cooking stock vs regular chicken stock, chicken broth in a can, organic chicken broth, chicken bouillon cubes, or low sodium broth. You have to read your labels.

A. Unsalted chicken stock has 130mg of sodium per serving vs. Regular or Organic stock has 500mg+
B. Canned broth 860mg of sodium per serving
C. Canned lower sodium broth 570mg per serving
D. Chicken bouillon cubes have 700-1230mg of sodium either per 1 tsp or 1/2 cube

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•Choose Campbell’s healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken soup vs. regular, fat free or reduced sodium.

A. Campbell’s Healthy request cream of mushroom or chicken has 410mg of sodium per serving or 1000mg of sodium per can vs the Regular creamed soups have 870mg per serving or 2200mg of sodium per can. Both contain a lot of sodium but you have to choose the lesser of 2 evils.

B. Fat Free or reduced sodium cream of mushroom or chicken soup has 650-750mg of sodium per serving or 1900mg of sodium per can. Most fat free foods are always higher in sodium because if you take the fat away you have to make up the flavor either in salt or sugar.

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•If you’re making your own stock, ditch the bouillon cubes, lawry’s seasoned or soul food salt. Opt for kosher salt, fresh herbs in a bouquet garni, bones and a few veggies.

•Use fresh herbs such as thyme, parsley and sage if you can. If it’s not available in your area, try ground or dried.

•Opt for kosher or sea salt. Garlic and onion powders. Don’t use seasoned salt, iodized salt, garlic salt, onion salt or soul food salt.

•Start prepping and cutting your carrots, peppers, onions, garlic and celery now. Bag them and freeze them. Don’t have time, frozen mirepoix will work too. Fresh is always better though.

•When sauteeing your veggies, cook them with olive oil cooking spray vs butter or other types of oils. Cooking spray contains 0 calories and 0 fat.

•Don’t butter your cornbread once it’s out of the oven. Those are unnecessary calories you don’t need and the flavor won’t be missed.

•Don’t use raw white bread or toasted white bread in your dressing. The extra bread is unnecessary in making cornbread dressing. The stock and soups will keep it moist.

•For your regular bread stuffing, toast 1/2 whole wheat bread and 1/2 white bread or all whole wheat bread to make your bread cubes. Skip buying the premade stuff.

•Use ground turkey instead of pork or turkey sausage if you’re making a savory specialty stuffing. Store bought sausage is high in sodium. Opt into buying 85/15 ground turkey instead and add sage, fennel and kosher salt to give it the flavor of sausage on your own. Continue to season your stuffing like you normally would with the apples, cranberries and other seasonings.

I hope this will help you to create a healthier family favorite this Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward in sharing more simple swaps and tidbits with you as you become more creative and fit in your kitchen.

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