We're kicking off our Thanksgiving suggestions very fittingly -- with the dish people think of first, appetizers.
As if Thanksgiving doesn't have enough calories associated with the dinner alone, we always start it off with hors d'oeuvres or what my friend’s toddler calls, HAPPYtizers.
Now these can play a critical role, especially if there are hours between when your guests first arrive and when the REAL meal is served. But the calories can also quickly add up, particularly if you are snacking mindlessly.
So here are my strategies for handling appetizers, food and drink that is tempting, and that will be around for a good bit pre-meal. Note: these strategies are good for later that evening with dinner and dessert as well.
- Survey your options before eating. Eye everything down first without a plate and determine what you will eat.
- Skip any food that you can get anytime. A bowl full of M&M's? Who needs them? Not when you can drive past any gas station later that evening and pick some up (That is if you decide your Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without them. And I’m betting that won't happen.)
- Fill up on low-calorie options like veggies (watch the dip) or salads (careful on the dressing). Then, look at the entire selection and determine what you'd REALLY like to enjoy. Allow yourself to have some of that -- enjoy it and move on.
- Don't hang out next to food. C'mon that's just asking for trouble. Once you've enjoyed some appetizers, put your plate away and situate yourself away from the food.
- Bring your own HAPPYtizers if you're a guest (ones that won't wreck your diet) and if you are hosting, fool the crowd with some of these lower calorie/lower fat options that AREN'T low on taste!
1 small white onion
4 portabella mushrooms
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, fine diced
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch black pepper
1/2 cup sherry
¼ cup Vegetable stock
1 cup feta cheese
Chop onion with 1/8 dice, remove ribbing in mushrooms, cut ribbing and stems of mushrooms. Add oil to a sauté pan. Sauté onions, diced mushrooms and nutmeg through veggie stock, then add garlic until aromatic. Add the feta cheese and stir to combine. Stuff mushrooms with mixture, sprinkle with a bit of Parmesan cheese, and a drizzle with olive oil. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Cut each portabella mushroom into quarters to serve.
Antipasto Sausage Skewers
12 ounces fully cooked Italian-style poultry sausage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup lightly packed fresh basil
1 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained, rinsed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces if large
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and quartered
Heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage; cook, turning 2 or 3 times, until warmed through and browned, about 8 minutes. Thread 1 small or 1/2 large basil leaf onto a small wooden skewer. Add a piece of roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and sausage, arranging them on the skewer so that it can stand up on the sausage end. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make about two-dozen skewers.
Green Goddess Dip (great with veggies)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted and peeled
2 scallions, green and white parts, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh tarragon
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3 Tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup buttermilk
Vegetable sticks, for dipping
Place the avocado, scallions, tarragon, parsley, vinegar, buttermilk and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a blender; puree until smooth.
Enjoy your Holidays.
To your Best Health,
P.S. If you need some help handling the holiday stress click here!