Thanksgiving is a special time for embracing everything we are thankful for and displaying gratitude.

Showing our gratitude is an empowering emotion. It makes us stop and think, a pause in our normal routine, to recognize all we are grateful for. Thanksgiving is a day that we tend to think of when sharing our gratitude with family and friends. We can do that with food as well.

Here are some foods to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Sweet potatoes: One medium-sized sweet potato contains more than three times one's daily need for Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. A medium sweet potato has more fiber than a bowl of your morning oatmeal. Believe it or not, a sweet potato contains only 20g of carbohydrate, a little over 100 calories and only 1 gram of fat per serving and would be a lovely addition to your holiday meal.

Cranberries: This tart fruit contains proanthocyanidins that may prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections to the urinary tract wall. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also inhibit the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers. Recent scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases.

Walnuts: In addition to antioxidants and essential ALA omega-3 fatty acids, an ounce of walnuts provides 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. Eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and may assist in decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Gratitude Crescent Rolls

A special side dish for your holiday meal for showing others how grateful you are.

All you need: • Ball-tip pen • Parchment paper • Refrigerated crescent roll dough (one for each of your guests plus some additional)

All you do: 1. Have each guest write one thing they are thankful for on a 4-inch-by-1-inch strip of parchment paper. 2. Prior to rolling up crescent rolls, lay paper inside the dough and roll up. Bake as package directs. 3. Enjoy serving these gratitude rolls at the table. While everyone eats them, they can read what another person wrote. You can even guess who wrote it.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at