An apricot and brie toast is an easy and tasty appetizer to serve at Thanksgiving. It has some high-calorie components, yes, but it is also full of vitamins and minerals. Using a small slice of brie is a creamy binder and creates great texture. The addition of cruchy pecans packs this appetizer with health benefits. Nuts in moderation are a great addition to your daily calorie intake.
A serving size of pecans is 1/4 cup and has a good dose of manganese, thiamin copper and calories (1/4 cup is 210 calories). Manganese helps metabolize carbohydrates and is important for a healthy reproductive system. Thiamin is a B vitamin that helps you keep a healthy appetite. Copper fights free radials and helps your body use iron efficiently.
Brie, on the other hand, is a creamy fat that we all deserve to eat on Thanksgiving. A healthy way to garnish this appetizer is by serving chopped, fresh or dried apricots on the side. Beware though, dried fruit is packed with vitamins and minerals but high in sugar, so limit your portions of these delicious morsels.
Everything in moderation
When portion sizes are in control, the basic ingredients in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner are full of vitamins and minerals. Turkey is a super food and full of protein, low in fat and high in the mineral phosphorus. One hundred grams of oven roasted turkey has 100 calories and 25 percent of your daily phosphorus requirements, which help keep your teeth, bones and cells healthy.
Potatoes are really healthy when not soaked in butter and sour cream, they are high in vitamin C, B6, fiber, niacin and potassium. Try Greek yogurt instead of sour cream to reduce your caloric intake and try to mix the skins in with the mashers to add more nutritional value. One cup of mashers without any butter is a whopping 290 calories but contains many vitamins and minerals.
Sweet potatoes are healthy too, and a cup mashed has about 249 calories, so choose wisely when filling your plate. Sweet potatoes, though, have tons, and I mean tons, of vitamin A (one cup has 1,033 percent of your daily requirements), and this vitamin is good for your eyes and skin and fights free radicals in the body.
Green beans are another traditional side and alone, they are low in calories; one cup has only 44 calories. String beans are high in vitamin C and vitamin K (vitamin K helps prevent osteoporosis). The best method for cooking green beans is to boil a pot of water, add the beans and cook for seven minutes (to steam, use the same method with about one inch of water).
The best part of the meal, gravy and dressing, were not included in my calorie count and usually are packed with butter, sausage and saturated fat. A simple pear chutney would be a healthy, low calorie substitute to gravy and you can find a recipe by visiting www.colorfulcooking.com.
Colorful Cooking wishes you a Thanksgiving filled with family, friends and quality ingredients cooked properly. Happy Thanksgiving!
Tracy Miller adds fruits and veggies to all her meals. Log onto www.colorful cooking.com for more recipes and to contact Tracy. She teaches culinary classes at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards, hosts private cooking parties and shares recipes on TV8’s “Good Morning Vail.” Email comments about this column to firstname.lastname@example.org.