By Carolyn Brown, MS, RD
We pay a lot of attention to the number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving (4,500-7,000, in case you’re curious). But, seriously, calories shmalories, To tell you the truth, I’m far more disturbed by the pseudo-foods that manage to make their way onto the dinner table.
When it comes to holidays, I try not to be the annoying nutritionist. But I don’t try that hard. Lucky for me, Thanksgiving and my birthday fall on the same day this year, so I don’t have any shame. So, did you know that traditional, factory-farmed turkeys are massively overfed and given saline and flavor injections to improve taste and texture? And that’s just the start. Eventually my family members will give me “the look”, or an elbow, or both.
Ideally, you’ll get a wild, heritage, or organic turkey, but let’s be serious: you’re not always in control of what’s being served on the dinner table. Even when you can’t control the feast or the conversation, you can still make a healthy contribution. So, I asked my friend Razz Gormley, a private chef in Boulder, CO, for simple, healthy improvements to classic Thanksgiving dishes. Here’s my favorite of the bunch:
Not Your Granny’s Cranny Sauce
Prep time 40 min. Serves 6
- 1 12 oz. pkg fresh cranberries
- 2 cups granny smith apple (peeled and diced)
- 1″ fresh ginger root (peeled and minced)
- 1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 med oranges)
- zest of 3 med oranges
- 1/2 cup agave nectar OR honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 3/4 cup roughly chopped walnuts (toasted)
1. Combine orange juice and agave in large sauce pan and bring to slow boil, stirring frequently.
2. Stir in cranberries, apple, ginger and cinnamon and bring to slow boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, until sauce thickens.
3. Stir in orange zest, remove from heat and cool.
4. Fold walnuts into mixture.
After trying this, I think you’ll agree that anything that maintains the shape of a can, is flavored, full of preservatives, or artificially colored does not deserve to be associated with expressing gratitude. Forget that it’s in any way good for you and enjoy. Happy Thanksgiving!