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Sharp Health News

Slim down your stuffing (infographic)

Nov. 20, 2015

It's the centerpiece of the traditional Thanksgiving meal: a turkey with all the trimmings. But did you know that cooking the stuffing inside the turkey can add hundreds of extra calories? Lighten the load while bringing out the flavor of your favorite side dish with these four tips from Stephanie Metzner, a registered dietitian who works at Sharp Rees-Stealy.

Slim down your stuffing (infographic). While turkey meat is light and healthy, its stuffing is tough on your waistline. Follow these five tips for a lighter version packed with nutrients in flavor. With this lighter version of a holiday favorite, you can skip the food coma and enjoy the festivities while meeting your health goals, says Stephanie Metzner, a registered dietitian with Sharp HealthCare. Make it an outside job. Stuffing is nearly five times lighter when cooked outside the turkey. There are 600 calories in stuffing baked inside the turkey, but only 125 calories in stuffing baked outside the turkey. Why? It’s all in the drippings. Stuffing baked inside the turkey absorbs unneeded oil and fat. Pack in the veggies. Add hardy veggies to your stuffing. Celery is an excellent source of fiber to promote a feeling of fullness. Mushrooms are packed with vitamin B to help ease holiday stress. Butternut squash provides antioxidants to keep up your immune system. The vitamin A in carrots improves skin and helps prevent cancer. Parsnips are a root veggie with plenty of fiber to keep your body regular. Ease up on the butter. Use chicken broth to sauté vegetables. There are only .5 grams of fat in 1 cup of chicken broth but 4.1 grams of fat in one pat of butter. Line the pan with cooking spray instead of butter. There are only 7 calories in a one-second spritz of cooking spray versus 36 calories of fat in one pat of butter. Add a festive fruit. Natural sweeteners add a unique twist to a classic favorite. Apples are packed with phytochemicals to help prevent disease. Pears deliver 20 percent of your daily needed fiber. Cranberries and their proanthocyanidins ward off urinary tract infections. Pay attention to portions. A typical stuffing serving size should be roughly that of a baseball.

View the printable version of this infographic.

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