Holiday Recipe Makeover: 7 Healthy Tips

Two women cooking in their kitchenThanksgiving is generally the first in a string of food-focused gatherings that can quickly pile on the pounds. But no worries. With our detailed list of simple steps, you’ll be sure to have a satisfying Thanksgiving!

Safety First

Food safety is the first priority when preparing healthy recipes on Thanksgiving.

• Buy fresh turkey before its “sell by” date; cook within two days.
• If frozen, thaw in the fridge (24 hours per 5 pounds), never on the counter.
• Roast until the thickest part of the thigh registers 165 degrees. For safety and ease, bake stuffing separately.
• Bake pies with egg and milk fillings, such as pumpkin pie, to 160 degrees, then refrigerate.
• Reheat any precooked dishes at 325 degrees until they reach 165 degrees or are steaming hot.
• Keep cold foods in the fridge until dinner. Buffet foods can stay out for two hours; after that, they enter the “danger zone” between 40 degrees (cold foods start to warm up) and 140 degrees (cooked foods lose heat), in which bacteria grow.

General Healthy Holiday Cooking Tips

1. Embrace chicken broth. Use this do-ahead healthy recipe for chicken stock to moisten stuffing, baste the turkey, and braise pearl onions — and sip it to curb hunger pangs while you’re cooking! Short on time? Choose low-sodium canned broth.