Thanksgiving Staples Done Right

Thanksgiving food has a bad rap. Not only is the holiday a celebration of gratitude, giving, and grub, but Thanksgiving dinner can actually be pretty freaking healthy with a little bit of thought, control, and balance. So, ignore the hype, don’t fast for the feast, and go into the meal knowing that it’s not your last, so enjoy! Here’s the deal on those Thanksgiving staples:

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Turkey: the main event. Turkey is actually a healthy, low-fat lean protein with tons of vitamins, so let it take center stage on your plate. It’s when the turkey is covered in stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and devoured alongside alcohol, dinner rolls, and dessert. So, instead of using the turkey as a means to hold these other foods, actually enjoy the turkey itself!

Potatoes: potatoes are a healthy, starchy veg BUT they’re usually ‘buttered up’ (literally) with tons of butter, cream, and cheese, adding tons of fat. If you’re like us, you’d take sweet potatoes any day over regular white potatoes – they’re sooo much sweeter! Luckily, sweet potatoes are also sooo good for you, full of Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and beta-carotene. Just keep it simple with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) or butter and some cinnamon, rosemary, or your favorite spices. If you agree to disagree and prefer the white mashers over orange, simply enjoy a small serving, not a potato volcano on your plate…unless you’re gearing up for a post-Thanksgiving marathon. In that case, you’ll actually need those carbs!

Brussels Sprouts: this cruciferous veggie is a fall staple in the OHH kitchen. Full of fiber, they’ll help you to digest your holiday meal while lowering cholesterol and risk of certain cancers when eaten regularly. Plus, they’re so damn good! No reason not to pass the sprouts, please!

Cranberry Sauce: sadly, we’re in America and that means that your traditional cranberry sauce is more like a gelatin of sugar (with very little to no cranberries) that plops out of a can. Not so appealing. Why not try to make your own, because real cranberries are actually a great source of antioxidants. Here’s a super simple recipe without the added sugar or chemicals!

Casseroles: yeah, not so healthy. The dish on casseroles: not to rag on this classic holiday dish, but a casserole is basically an excuse to make a normally healthy food (like green beans) into a cheesy, buttery, saucy, glutinous dish, with a bit of veggies hiding inside. Keep things simple and skip the ‘role, just stick to the good old veggies above!

Dessert: Have your cake and eat it too. Pumpkin and pecan pie, yum yum. Ok, so not the healthiest things in the world, but again, pumpkin and pecans themselves are both full of nutrients, so if you’re in charge of the pie, aim to bulk up these ingredients and dial down the sugar. Either way, there’s no need to turn down Thanksgiving dessert, just have a few bites of your very favorite, enjoy the deliciousness, and be done with it. It’s when dessert becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet that’ll have you feeling YUCK with a side of guilt.

One Healthy Breakdown: Thanksgiving is one meal, one day, and the focus should be on gratitude over grub…but enjoy the grub too! Happy, healthy holiday!

Hamptons Strolls are The Bee’s Knees

Since my twin girls were born in June, I’ve learned the benefits of long walks outdoors. We have a gigantic double stroller that I take everywhere. We especially enjoy strolling down to the local marinas in Springs to enjoy the fresh air and beauty.

IMG_3342The walking has kept mama happy and fit. I used to be a long-distance runner, but six marathons put a lot of wear-and-tear on my body. I needed an exercise that was not only easier on my joints, but one that the twins might enjoy as well. Long afternoon strolls have been the perfect solution.

As a city transplant, walking has been a great way for me to explore my new neighborhood and meet new neighbors. I’ve gotten to know places like Harbor Marina on Gann Road, Pussy’s Pond on School Street, and of course, Springs General Store on Old Stone Highway. I often chat with people I meet along the way; the most common question I get is “are those twins?” People are always intrigued, My one complaint: There aren’t enough sidewalks!

Much like running always did, walking has kept me grounded. As a new mom of multiples, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed…that’s a bit of an understatement! Getting outside, stretching my legs, and breathing fresh air definitely helps to clear my head. And the girls are always happy, as they enjoy the movement and the views.

We definitely plan to stroll during the holiday season, when the days are short and dark. The girls already have snowsuits in the event that we get some colder weather. We’ll continue to take walks down to the marinas to see how many boats remain. The harbor is always an oasis of calm, and a reminder of why we live here.

One Healthy Breakdown: sometimes the simpler the better. Stroll on!

*Colleen DeBaise is a journalist and founder of the Hampton Bee, a digital publication that covers the East End business community. She’s also a retired marathon runner who secretly plans to make a big comeback to running, maybe at next year’s Hamptons Half-Marathon! For now, strolls are doing the job just fine!

Santa’s Favorite Peppermint Bark

Who can pass up that minty bark?! Peppermint bark is definitely an indulgence to be enjoyed this time of year. That combo of rich chocolate and mint is enough to spread holiday cheer in one little bite. After all, there’s no better way to eat a candy cane than with a side of chocolate!

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Here’s a healthier upgrade for a homemade peppermint bark that’s sure to please anyone from your kitchen to the North Pole and back!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of quality dark chocolate, chocolate chips, or carob chips
  • 1/4 cup cacoa powder or cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon almond milk or water
  • 1 teaspoon coconut oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 drops of pure peppermint extract
  • 4 peppermint candy canes or 20 peppermint candies – crushed into small pieces

Instructions:

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Combine all ingredients except for candy canes in a bowl. Transfer mixture to a sauce pan to melt on low heat (or in microwave.) Stir until consistent and let cool for just a few minutes before adding half of candy canes. Spread evenly on wax paper. Add remaining candy canes on top of chocolate sheet and freeze for at least two hours. Once completely solid, remove from freezer and break into pieces. Eat, gift, and smile.

One Healthy Breakdown: just as delicious (and way more nutritious!) than store-bought bark!