By Chef Gerard Viverito
Here’s good news for anyone who has ever pushed away from the Thanksgiving table feeling as stuffed as the turkey and at least slightly concerned about holiday weight gain. You can go into the holiday being proactive about your health … and come out of it with no regrets. Post this list on your refrigerator as a reminder to take care of yourself first.
Three tasks to do the day before Thanksgiving to reduce stress:
- Get as much of the big chopping, slicing and dicing out of the way today.
- Get a full night’s sleep. Otherwise, a lack of sleep will take its toll.
- Share the cooking responsibilities. Everyone loves to be in the kitchen these days and you’ll create memories in the process.
Three tactics on Thanksgiving Day to reduce overeating:
- Put on your normal jeans, not the baggy sweats that are a size or two too large. This will help keep your portion sizes within reason.
- Choose healthy snacks that are high in protein and low in sugar. This will also help prevent overeating at the big meal.
- Season dishes with healthy herbs and condiments. Use fresh herbs if possible. Otherwise dried herbs are okay. Try making some dishes with a little kick. Spicy foods are harder to eat in excess. Also consider an oil change. Malaysian certified sustainable palm oil is a healthier alternative to corn and canola oils, and also has a higher smoke point.
Three healthy ways to transform Thanksgiving leftovers:
- Turn your leftovers into soup. Soups are easy to make and very forgiving. Toss your extra carrots and green beans into a pot along with your turkey scraps and some wild rice, quinoa or whole grain pasta. Simmer with some chicken or turkey broth. You can even add some leftover turkey gravy for a richer flavor.
- Prepare a trendy curry laksa. This Malaysian staple is gaining popularity in the U.S. It’s traditionally made with chicken broth, but you can use turkey broth instead. One of the key ingredients is nutritious and sustainable Malaysian palm oil, which adds a buttery texture.
- Make a healthier next-day casserole. Some families turn their leftover turkey, veggies and stuffing into a casserole by tossing them into a pan and topping with a refrigerated dough product. While convenient, some packaged crescent roll and pie crusts contain trans fats or other unhealthy ingredients. Instead, gather the family to make easy, homemade drop biscuits. They require just a handful of simple ingredients and take just minutes to prepare.
About the author:
Chef Gerard Viverito, is a culinary instructor as the Director of Culinary Education for Passionfish, a NGO non-profit organization dedicated to educating people around the globe on the issue of sustainability in the seas. [www.passionfish.org] He is also operator of Saveur Fine Catering, a company whose beliefs and products center on local, sustainable and organic foods. Chef Viverito’s pantry is loaded with items commonly overlooked in the supermarkets, yet he has a thorough understanding of them and a passion to teach others how to cook more healthfully.
In addition, Chef Viverito has dedicated a large part of his career to what he terms “functional cooking.” This is where he adds nutritional ingredients to dishes to gain healthful results. He is well known for his ability to lower the glycemic index value of food, add omega fatty acids, and whole proteins to dishes without compromising the texture or taste. He appears regularly on radio and television programs demonstrating this as well as consulting clients on their dietary needs. www.ChefGerard.com