Tracey Shaffer is a dietician for the Blue Springs Hy-Vee

Tracey Shaffer is a dietician for the Blue Springs Hy-Vee

1 What is the healthiest way to cook a turkey?
Turkey is naturally lean as long as you don’t eat the skin. Since it is so lean it has the tendency to dry out. Roast your turkey and make sure you cover the breast with foil before it goes in the oven. Adding butter or deep fat frying your turkey turns a lean food into a high fat one.

2 Besides desserts, are there any Thanksgiving favorites one should avoid if hoping to eat healthy?
Some traditional favorites that tend to be unhealthy are stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole and mashed potatoes and gravy.

3 What are some healthy alternatives for less-than-healthy Thanksgiving favorites?
When it comes to stuffing, skip the sausage and use dried fruits such as apples or apricots to add texture and decrease fat. Instead of adding butter and whole milk to mashed potatoes use chicken broth and garlic to add flavor and skip the gravy. Sweet potatoes are full of antioxidants and low in fat. Offer them baked or mash with unsweetened apple juice and cinnamon. Try fresh cooked green beans topped with toasted almonds and a small amount of butter to replace the higher calorie, higher fat green bean casserole.

4 What are some healthier ways to prepare these unhealthy dishes?
Some healthier ways to prepare your unhealthy favorites are to replace some of the unhealthy ingredients with healthier ones. Replace unsweetened applesauce for butter, shortening or vegetable oil in baked products. Use non-stick sprays for fat-free frying. Replace one whole egg with two egg whites. Cut the amount of nuts in half and use toasted nuts for more intense flavor. Limit the amount of added fats such as mayonnaise, cream cheese, sour cream or use the low-fat or fat-free versions. Choose lean cuts of beef or pork. Look for the words “lean” or “round” in the name.

5 What is the worst thing I can do on Thanksgiving to derail my healthy lifestyle?
The worst thing you can do on Thanksgiving to derail your healthy lifestyle is to let yourself get too hungry before the big feast. This will cause you to over eat. Make sure that you eat a sensible breakfast and depending on what time the meal is, a light lunch or snack.