• Holiday weight gain - Thanksgiving platterHoliday weight gain - Thanksgiving platterWhen we say "good-bye" to healthy eating on Thanksgiving, the feeling afterwards can be terrible if we overdo it. Holidays are meant to be fun - and this includes food. But how to feast while also honoring our needs for health, energy, vitality and beauty? Here's how I plan to make it through this Thanksgiving without feeling deprived or counting calories:

    It starts with finding "enough." It's easy to get into the trap of, "It's the holidays, I can eat whatever I want!" This is all or nothing thinking, overdoing it now and then "punishing" yourself with a diet in January. On the other hand, feeling deprived - not allowing yourself to enjoy special holiday foods - is one of the reasons we end up overeating. (Read how to end emotional eating).

    Find that sweet spot where you feel treated - maybe it's your mother in law's famous mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie - and then stop. Enjoy what feels good without overdoing it. This is healthy indulgence. How you feel (anxious versus relaxed;

    Read More »from Finding 'enough': 6 ways you can tame holiday overeating
  • Looking for shortcuts? We tested dozens of store-bought Thanksgiving sides from the grocery store-go ahead, fool your guests with these winners.

    BEST STUFFING: Stove Top Stuffing Mix Turkey Flavor
    Judges gave this old standby top marks for flavor and texture: "It tastes like it came from the center of the turkey."
    Read the full review »

    BEST CREAMED SPINACH: Stouffer's Creamed Spinach
    Tasters loved the "creamy, buttery" texture and "big, leafy" spinach pieces in this simple comfort food.
    Read the full review »

    BEST PUMPKIN PIE: Mrs. Smith's Hearty Pumpkin Pie
    This tasty pie stood out over bland competitors for its "cinnamon-nutmeg kick" and "supercreamy" texture.
    Read the full review »

    BEST MASHED POTATOES: Idahoan Buttery Yukon Gold
    Testers said the superbuttery spuds seem "lightly whipped" and praised the "actual pieces of potato"-the mix is made with potato chunks, not flakes.
    Read the full review »

    BEST GRAVY: Boston Market Roasted Turkey Gravy
    Judges said this jarred version

    Read More »from Big Bite Taste Test: Thanksgiving Sides in a Box
  • Take your pick of moistening methods to get a juicy turkey this Thanksgiving.

    How to baste a turkey1. Give the bird a one-time greasing
    , then roast without peeking. The more you open the oven door, the longer the turkey takes to cook!
    Recipe: Butter-Basted Turkey »

    2. Don't want to get your hands dirty? Drape the bird with butter-soaked cheesecloth. The butter will baste the bird as it roasts, saving you the hassle.

    3. Begin roasting the turkey breast side down, then, halfway through cooking time, turn the bird upright. Gravity helps the fattier dark meat moisten the breast.

    4. Butter your turkey under the skin before it goes in the oven. The melted butter trapped between the meat and the skin will have plenty of time to flavor your bird.
    Step by Step Butter-Basted Turkey: photo how-tos »
    Step by Step Butter-Basted Turkey: video how-tos »

    5. Baste with a mixture of butter and wine for an unconventional, buttery gobbler with a tangy kick.

    By Melissa Clark | Photography by Kang Kim

    More like this:

    Read More »from 5 Goofproof Ways to Get a Juicy Turkey
  • Whether you are you flying across the country to visit family for Thanksgiving break or flying across four states to see your boyfriend's parents, these upcoming months mean holiday travel starts buzzing in everyone's minds. Where does one start in this overwhelming process? Here are a couple things you can anticipate to lessen the travel jitters:

    1. Be resourceful

    When searching for deals, either use travel search engines (such as Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline and Expedia), which exist for the sole purpose of easily locating and comparing cheap airline tickets. Be sure to hop around directly on the airline websites, as you can usually find better deals when the tickets come directly from the airlines. Once your flight is booked, make 100 percent sure you check-in online 24 hours before your scheduled departure time, to ensure you get your seat (and some airlines allow you to choose which seat you want online). Another useful tip when booking a flight is to

    Read More »from 6 quick tips to avoid a holiday travel disaster!
  • Thanksgiving is so close you can almost smell the stuffing. If you're cooking the feast this year, it's high time to get organized. By now you've considered what kind of turkey to order, the guest list, and, perhaps, what to do with Uncle Phil if he gets out of line...again. Here's your next step: Make sure you have the five essential tools for a successful feast. No, an electric carving knife doesn't make the list, but here's what does:

    Digital Kitchen Timer
    Timing is everything, especially at Thanksgiving. You've got turkey, dressing, and potato gratin all in the oven, and they'll all be done at different times. This is no time to depend on that cute little wind-up timer or, even worse, your memory. You need a timer that can track the progress of all three and tell you what time it is. You need something like this Presto four-in-one Electronic Clock/Timer.

    6 Steps to a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

    A Sharp Knife
    I've said it before and I'll say it again, there are two things you should

    Read More »from Five Essential Kitchen Tools for Thanksgiving
  • What time-honored dish are you likely to find alongside the creamy mashed potatoes, marshmallow-topped sweet potatoes, ruby-red cranberry sauce and other fixin's? Sensational stuffing, of course!

    That perfectly seasoned blend of bread, rice, other grains or even potatoes is baked and gobbled up year after year. Most traditional stuffings, or dressings, start with sauteed vegetables like onion and celery. Then cubed or crumbled bread, such as corn bread, French, Italian or white bread, and seasonings are added to the vegetable mixture. Depending on family traditions and regional tastes, other ingredients from fruits and nuts to meats and seafood can be used to lend additional flavor.

    Tips on Texture

    When it comes to the texture of stuffing, some people like it dry and crisp; some like it moist and dense. Soft breads produce a dense, spongy stuffing; toasted breads produce a drier stuffing because the bread crumbs can absorb more juices without becoming soggy.


    Read More »from Secrets to a Standout Thanksgiving Stuffing
  • Sweet potatoes are a true Southern treat. Originating in Louisiana, this little vegetable makes a sweet edition to the holiday table.

    Sweet Potato History:

    Grown in the warm summer soil of the Southern United States, sweet potatoes were found on many plantation farms. According to the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission, the potatoes were grown in a fenced in enclosure where sweet potatoes were protected from the bitter winter snow by mounds of straw and soil. The potatoes would then sweeten under the curing hills.

    During the Civil War, the sweet potato was used as a substitute for coffee. And during WWII the sweet potato was a popular staple in victory gardens - ranking second to the Irish potato among vegetable crops in the United States.

    Today, sweet potatoes have become an essential part of the Thanksgiving feast. Whether they're mashed, baked, roasted, or put in a casserole, families can't seem to get enough of this sweet vegetable.

    Tips on Handling Sweet Potatoes

    Read More »from Thanksgiving Sweet Potatoes: Recipes and Tips
  • [Photograph: Robyn Lee]

    We're not big on endorsing frozen pies. Shortcuts are fine for many foods, but something about insta-pie just seems wrong and sad. (We'd much prefer the homemade version.) However, we realize how busy the holidays get and wanted to see if the freezer section was hiding some delicious or at least decent apple pies. We tried six: three of the classics (Marie Callenders, Sara Lee, and Mrs. Smith's) and three less processed, dare we say healthier pies (Vermont Mystic, Amy's, and Wholly Wholsome). There were many scoops of vanilla ice cream involved.

    The results of our frozen apple pie tasting:

    The Best Overall: Marie Callenders
    Marie, you know how to make a pie. Actually, you know how to make about forty of them, but we only tried the Marie Callenders Lattice Apple Pie ($6.79). Sure, it still had a bit of that jelly-goo apple thing happening, but c'mon, it's a frozen pie. Well-spiced with a nicely browned, crumbly crust, this was everyone's favorite of the six.

    Read More »from The best apple pie in the freezer aisle
  • By Brandi Koskie - senior editor at DietsInReview.com

    Thanksgiving is equally as much about counting our blessings as it is indulging in great food. No one questions when you've filled your third plate with stuffing and pumpkin pie, no one asks why you consumed your weight in turkey and chose a nap over a walk, and no one laughs when you're most thankful for grandma's homemade macaroni and cheese.

    So it's up to each of us to watch our own backs, and bellies, on Thanksgiving. And the one sure-fire place to avoid the calorie conundrum is to mindfully prepare your recipes for a healthy Thanksgiving.

    1. Choose recipes that are rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. Fresh or frozen vegetables are ideal; if choosing canned, be sure the sugar and sodium content is low.

    Simple Thanksgiving Swaps:

    > Instead of slathering fresh fruits with whipped cream for a fruit salad, drizzle with honey.
    > Instead of baking vegetables soaked in butter, steam them or lightly

    Read More »from Simple Thanksgiving Swaps for a Healthier Holiday Meal
  • Several years ago, my sister, Jennie, and I almost walked out on Thanksgiving dinner. It wasn't because the turkey was overdone or that we ran out of wine. No, it was a way bigger deal than that. My mom, for the first time that we could remember, did not make green bean casserole. We freaked. But we're probably not the only ones who would miss this Thanksgiving classic. Green Bean Casserole is one of our most popular Thanksgiving side dishes.

    Our healthier version skips the canned soup and all the fat and sodium that traditional recipes call for. Our white sauce with sliced fresh mushrooms, sweet onions and low-fat milk makes a creamy, rich casserole with tons of flavor. (Find more Thanksgiving recipes made healthier.) Now that's something to stay at the dinner table for. (Find more recipes for make-ahead side dishes to please everyone at your table.)

    How We Made It Healthier

    • We skip the canned mushroom soup (which has plenty of sodium) and instead make our own creamy
    Read More »from Classic, delicious green bean casserole (the only difference: 11 grams less fat!)


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