Easy Thanksgiving Food Swaps That Cut Calories Without Sacrificing Flavor

It’s tradition to get stuffed on Thanksgiving, but you can still get your fill of traditional flavors without wrecking your diet. MyFitnessPal shows us some simple food substitutions that cut the calories, sugar, and/or fat of traditional Thanksgiving foods.

Source: Easy Thanksgiving Food Swaps That Cut Calories Without Sacrificing Flavor

There are benefits for intentionally failing on your dietTrying to be perfect actually hurts your weight loss efforts.  So enjoy yourself 😉

But know that there’s a decent amount of vitamin K in pecans.  There’s still vitamin K in pumpkin, but it’s far less than pecans.

Sweet Potatoes Aren’t Inherently Healthier Than White Potatoes, and 4 Other Food Myths

…nutrition misinformation fools men into being confused and frustrated in their quest to eat healthily, even if they’re already achieving great results.

Thankfully, you’re about to be enlightened by science. Here are five food fallacies you can forget about for good.

Source: The Truth behind 5 Food Myths

Depends what you’re after – the potato and sweet potato each have their pros and cons. Sweet potatoes have more fiber and vitamin A, but white potatoes have iron, magnesium, and potassium in their corner.

Myth #3, about red meat causing cancer, is not a myth.  It’s fact, and we know specifically what compound is responsible and generally how much can be found in various foods if you’re concerned about managing your intake.

Study: Why It Pays To Be Semi-Vegetarian

A new study shows it pays to eat a more-vegetable-than-meat diet. But what if you’re not a fan of the green stuff? Here are some “gateway veggies” to consider.

Can’t cut meat completely? You don’t have to. People who follow a “pro”-vegetarian diet — which involves eating more plant-based foods than animal products — have a lower risk of dying from heart disease and stroke, says new research from the American Heart Association EPI/Lifestyle meeting.

In fact, people in the study who ate the most pro-vegetarian(so that 70 percent of their food came from plant sources) had a 20 percent lower risk of dying from these causes, compared with those who ate the least plant-based foods (where 20 percent of food came from plant sources).

Source: A Healthy Diet Doesn’t Have To Be Drastic! Why It Pays To Be Semi-Vegetarian

Aside from the spinach, the vegetable suggestions are OK for those of us on blood thinners.  Cucumbers – only the skin is an issue for us.  And this article has notes from previous posts:

Sweet Potatoes = Astronaut Food

Although astronaut cuisine has improved considerably over the decades, this year’s Thanksgiving menu aboard the International Space Station still consists mostly of freeze-dried and dehydrated dishes. But future missions will likely have access to one fresh vegetable: sweet potatoes.

Source: Why Sweet Potatoes Are About to Become Astronaut Superfood

Super high in vitamin A, there’s numerous reasons to be eating sweet potatoes.  And super low in vitamin K – safe for us to eat! Here are recipes for:

I add cinnamon and a little salt.

Fries: 5 Fruit/Veg Alternatives Other than Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes aren’t the only challenger to the conventional potato’s French-fried dominance. In fact, there are many fruits and veggies that make for a great alternative to french fries (or what our British friends might call chips).

So, if your comfort food cravings demand a little more creativity, or you’re just looking for a new way to serve some winter CSA staples, try these fries.

Source: 5 fruit and vegetable fries you have to try

Good news – All of the alternatives are low in vitamin K!  The avocado version would be interesting – the fat content means you probably would fill up fast.  But it’s good fat content.

Cooking: Boiling vs Hot Water

The main reasons to cook food is to kill bacteria and increase nutritional value.

But what is “cooking”?  From a biology perspective, it’s the denaturation of proteins and lysis of cells in your food.  There are many ways to denature a protein: heat, acid (IE: Ceviche, cooked by the lime juice), enzymes (IE: papaya contains meat tenderizers)…  All of these methods are indeed ways to “cook” food.

99 Celsius will denature proteins almost identically to 100 Celsius. Bringing the water to a boil might create steam inside of cells, forcing them to lyse. This will have a much weaker effect on what you consider “cooking” than the temperature will, but could make a small difference, particularly in plant cells that are resistant to lysis because of their tough cell walls.

This is exactly why it is more nutritionally beneficial to steam your vegetables than to boil them.  When the cells do lyse, all of the contents get distributed among the boiling water solution, not in the cooked vegetable food you ultimately eat. Steamed veggies, on the other hand, may also have lysed cells, but the surrounding water vapor is much less efficient at leeching the contents out than was the liquid.  There are exceptions to the rule: sweet potatoes are more healthy if boiled if you don’t add something like oil after steaming.

Boiling is simply the hottest water temperature you can achieve under current atmospheric conditions. Typically, when cooking food by submerging it in a non-oil liquid, there is no danger of burning the food, so the highest available temperature is preferred because it will yield the shortest cooking time.  This is why most boiled food products, such as pastas, have high altitude instructions, which are usually as simple as “boil an extra few minutes.” The lower atmospheric pressure experienced at higher altitudes means water boils at lower temperatures, so you need to cook it longer.

There’s some debate about whether the definition of cooking is appropriate for things like pasta, bread, and legumes.

TLDR: temperature matters, not the change of state from a liquid to gas.

Make Hashbrowns with a Waffle Iron or Grill

Shredded or mashed potato, seasoned as you like.  If I’m using sweet potatoes, I have to use cinnamon…

Depending on your waffle/grill, coat with a non-stick spray if necessary.  High heat, press and cook to desired texture – crispy/crunchy might take 15-20 minutes, depending on how much you put in.

If you made too much, freeze the leftovers.