Posts Tagged ‘thanksgiving’

I know it can be easy to overdo it with all the delicious food at family gatherings and celebrations, but maintaining a balanced lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to miss out on enjoying all of your favorite traditional treats. Food is a universal thing that brings us together; it is how we celebrate, especially around the holidays, so depriving ourselves during this special time of year is not the answer. Instead eat foods in moderation and savor all the sights and aromas of the season. Enjoying the foods you love is what makes a Good Life Holiday!

I’m planning to celebrate my own Good Life Holiday this year by eating some of my traditional faves such as pumpkin pie, sweet potato casserole and delicious turkey gravy poured over not just the turkey but just about anything else that is fortunate enough to get in its way. Ha! I’m salivating just thinking about it!

As you can tell, if I’m not careful, I could really be in for some serious calorie overload if I don’t have a plan in place to control my portions. But the good news is I do have a plan. I’m going to enjoy half of my plate filled with faves while I load up the other half with a fields of greens salad and caramelized Brussels sprouts. If I’m still hungry after my last bite, I’ll go back for more veggies! And in the Grotto tradition, everyone helps mom clear the table after we eat, load the dishes in the dishwasher and then head out for our traditional family walk while the dishwasher is running. It’s amazing how much longer everyone wants to walk when they know those dishes will be clean by the time we get home and have to be put away.

This holiday season, I am working with HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation, a go-to source for balanced lifestyle tips, as their Balanced Eating GOOD LIFE GURU to provide strategies to help make eating a balanced diet easier. For tips on how enjoy your Good Life Holiday and to learn more from me on how to maintain a balanced diet, visit

HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation is also spreading the joy this season by teaming up with How Does She to create the Good Life Holiday Pinterest Contest where participants will have chance to win a relaxing weekend getaway to the Hershey Spa in the New Year! Share all the ways you’re planning to live a Good Life Holiday by pinning your own “window display” of pictures, recipes and articles. Check out the contest rules on the HERSHEY’S Moderation Nation website.

How do you maintain a balanced diet around the holidays?


Here’s my weekly post on WebMD! This week it’s all about three yummy dishes you can eat throughout Thanksgiving day that are amazing good tasting as they are good for you! Please try them and let me know what you think. Of course, I’d love to try some of your favorite holiday recipes, too! Got any for me??

By David Grotto, RD, LDN aka “The Guyatitian”

Nobody likes a party pooper. Especially one of them there high and mighty, judgmental nutrition-types who would never be caught eating your triple-fudge holiday death bars (until nobody was watching) if their life depended on it. Maybe that’s why I don’t get invited to parties anymore?

Truth be told, I (and most of my colleagues) stopped being the food Gestapo a long, long time ago. We realized that for good habits to be sustainable, diets must include your favorite foods (healthy or not), especially around the holidays. Of course, our mission is to prove to you that “healthy” and “favorites” can co-exist as one. Well, tasting is believing, my friend. So for this blog post, I give you three holiday recipes that my family loves and craves.

Sharon’s Simple Berry Sauce*

Serve over pancakes, waffles, French toast, Thanksgiving turkey or anything that you want to taste “berry-good”!

Servings: 4

Prep time and cooking time: 35 minutes


1-10 ounce package frozen mixed organic berries

¼ cup agave syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt


Place frozen berry blend. Agave syrup, vanilla extract and salt into a sauce pan. Cook over low heat until frozen berries are defrosted. Bring to boil. Let simmer, uncovered until sauce becomes think – about 20-30 minutes.

Calories: 95; Fat: 0gm; Cholesterol: 0gm; Saturated fat: 0gm; Trans fat: 0gm, Sodium: 75mg; Sugars: 21gm Protein: 0 gm; Fiber: 1 gm; Total carbs: 24gm

Click here to see the rest of the article featured on WedMD!

* Recipes excerpted with permission from 101 Foods That Can Save Your Life Bantam Books 2007.

We are really looking forward to our wonderful Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings. The usual suspects will be in attendance but this year we will be taking some extra steps to avoid having the one guest that no-“body” wants over: food infection!

Did you know that millions of people are sickened, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from food poisoning? Let’s add avoiding food infection this year to our list of things to be thankful for – let me show you how!

I thought I’d share some great tips from my favorite website for fighting food infection – to help you have a safe and fun holiday. I also included some great Turkey Food Safety Tips from this great website, below.

The four basic steps to fighting food infection are:

Wash hands often:

  • Hands should be washed in warm, soapy water before preparing foods and especially after handling raw meat, poultry and seafood. Never forget to wash your hands after switching tasks, such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables. Also, it is important to wash hands after taking out garbage, sneezing or petting your dog or cat.
  • Sing two choruses of “Happy Birthday” while you lather — washing your hands for about 20 seconds. Always wash your hands front and back and up to your wrists, between fingers and under fingernails. Dry your hands with disposable paper towels or clean towels.

 Keep raw meats and ready-to-eat foods separate:

  • Use two cutting boards: one for cutting raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for ready-to-eat foods like breads, fruits and vegetables.
  • Wash cutting boards thoroughly in hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Discard cutting boards that are worn with cracks, crevices and excessive knife scars.
  • Wash plates between uses or use separate plates: one plate for holding raw meat, poultry and seafood; another for cooked foods.
  • Place raw meat, poultry and seafood on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator so juices don’t drip onto other foods.
  • Place washed produce into clean storage containers, not back into the original ones.
  • Use two separate clean towels/cloths: one to dry off the kitchen surfaces and another one to dry your hands.

 Cook to proper temperatures:

  • Use a meat/cooking thermometer to cook to a proper internal temperature of at least 165° F. Harmful bacteria are destroyed when food is cooked to proper internal temperatures. When cooking a stuffed turkey, the center of the stuffing must reach 165°F. For safety and uniform doneness of turkey, cook stuffing separately

 Refrigerate promptly below 40° F

  • Food should not be out of refrigeration for more than two hours because it is exposed to temperature above 40°F, where harmful bacteria multiply rapidly.
  • Never allow foods to defrost at room temperature on the counter or in warm water. Most foodborne pathogens thrive at room temperature. Two safe ways to defrost food is in your refrigerator or your microwave oven. If you defrost in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so raw juices don’t drip onto other foods. If using the microwave oven, meat thawed by microwaving must be cooked immediately afterward.

 Additional Turkey Food Safety Tips

  • Pick up the turkey and other meat items last and ask to have them bagged separately from other groceries
  • Thaw turkey in the refrigerator (never on the counter) or in the microwave using the defrost setting or under cold water
  • For safe thawing in the refrigerator, allow about one day for every four to five pounds of turkey to thaw in the refrigerator
  • When thawing turkey in the microwave, follow owner’s manual. Cook immediately after thawing because some areas may become warm and begin to cook during microwaving
  • Turkey may also be thawed in cold water in its original airtight packaging or in a leak-proof bag. Submerge the bird or cut-up parts in cold water, changing the water every 30 minutes. Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for whole turkey
  • Do not re-freeze thawed turkey
  • Refrigerate leftover turkey promptly within two hours

Lastly, be mindful of preventing food infection throughout the day. Food infection doesn’t just happen at the Thanksgiving dinner – it could happen at breakfast!

For example, we usually start our day off with a substantial breakfast in order to minimize our chances of overeating throughout the day. And I always like to include a great protein source to start off the day, like eggs. My Daughter Chloe LOVES over-easy eggs but if you haven’t heard, an undercooked yolk can harbor salmonella bacteria.

Salmonella can reside inside (washing the eggs won’t help) any type of egg: free range, brown eggs, vegetarian-fed – it doesn’t matter – all are at risk. In fact, according to the CDC, 1 in 10,000 eggs contain Salmonella. The elderly, small children, pregnant women and persons with weakened immune systems are at increased risk for serious illness from salmonella infection

The best solution is to use pasteurized egg products like Egg Beaters® or an in-shell product like Davidson’s Safest Choice™ Eggs .So if you plan on making over easy, sunny side up, Caesar salad, cookie dough…the list goes on, be sure to use pasteurized eggs! And if you want to try serving an amazing Caesar Salad reipe for Thanksgiving, try this safe and delicious recipe from Davidson’s!

Happy and safe Thanksgiving to you all!!



2 lg. heads Romaine Lettuce

1 tsp. prepared Dijon Mustard

2 lg. heads Boston lettuce

2 Davidson’s Safest Choice™ Pasteurized Shell Eggs raw

1 lg. Clove Garlic

1/2 c. dressing (see recipe below)

Anchovy Fillets

1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Black Pepper, to taste

3/4 c. Olive Oil

1 tblsp. Worcestershire Sauce

2 Lemons

Toasted Croutons


Let two bruised garlic cloves sit in 3/4 cup good olive oil overnight.

Add the juice of two lemons. Remove and discard the garlic. Chop 6 anchovy fillets that have been soaked for 30 minutes in milk and pat dry.

Wash and thoroughly dry lettuce.  Rub a large; wooden salad bowl with a large garlic clove and discard. Mash the fillets in bowl with 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce and a generous teaspoon of Dijon mustard. Break in the Davidson’s Pasteurized Shell Eggs™, toss in the greens and add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese. Add olive oil mixture and top with approximately 1 cup croutons.