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2011-11-21 Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving

THANKSGIVING is my favorite holiday! In my family we have kept the tradition for many years of gathering together with family and significant others that have become part of our family. For as long as I can remember we had an abundance of traditional holiday foods, eggnog, desserts and often sandwiches later even if we were not really hungry. Overeating on holidays, it’s tradition!

Another tradition in my side of the family is saving big family news to announce on that day. Often it has been who is engaged or finally set the date, who is pregnant, bought a home or car, decided on which college they would attend, etc. 2009 my niece was surprised along with us. Her boyfriend at the time (now husband) drove from Maine to my parents house with his parents to join us for the first time for Thanksgiving. He and his parents arrived before my niece. She had no idea he was coming. As soon as she arrived Eric rushed out to her car and proposed. We were all inside wondering if maybe that was what was happening:) That was awesome! I can’t wait to hear what this years announcement will be. (See below Tips for a Healthier Happy Thanksgiving and lighter recipes).

The food is always a big focus at Thanksgiving time but it is also a time to give thanks for the abundance of blessings in our lives big and small. For some people Thanksgiving tradition is going to a restaurant, a weekend away, visiting friends or relatives, a quiet day away from the normal hectic schedule. For some it might be just another day.

What is your tradition? What are you thankful for? No matter how challenging our lives are at times, we always do have some things to be thankful for. If you don’t currently have any family traditions, it is never too late to start your own traditions.

“If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. If nothing changes, nothing will change.” Do you want to make any changes in your health or life this Thanksgiving and into the new year? What do you want to change?

Tips for a Healthier Happy Thanksgiving

  • Take a walk or do some sort of exercise early in the day.
  • Be thankful for what IS good in your life!
  • Don’t wear loose clothing. If you give yourself room to bloom, you will!
  • Have a taste of everything you REALLY WANT.
  • Leave a little behind and you will have a little behind :)–leave a little food on your plate.
  • Have more vegetables. If you are going to someone’s home for the holiday, make a vegetable platter or make a dish that has vegetables in it.
  • Put the fork down between bites. Chew your food. Drink water between each mouthful.
  • Focus on conversation not just the food. ** Make some healthier side dishes (below).
  • Take a walk or play a game after the big meal.
  • Don’t gobble til you wobble!
  • Make it a HoliDAY not a HoliWEEK!
  • Remember if you over did it, forgive yourself. Get right back to healthier eating the very next day.

Every meal is another opportunity to start over.


Green Bean Casserole

  • 1 pound fresh green beans
  • 1 can low sodium cream of mushroom soup
  • 2-3 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 cup onions chopped
  • 2 egg whites, scrambled
  • 3/4 cup whole grain bread crumbs

Steam or boil the green beans in the chicken broth. Mix in the chopped mushrooms and Cream of Mushroom Soup. Set aside. Mix the chopped onions into the egg white mixture. Coat the onion mixture with the whole grain bread crumbs. Bake the onion rings on a cookie sheet for about 15 minutes. You can put the green bean mixture in the oven at the same time. After the 15 minutes spread the onion rings over the green beans (either around the edges as shown or all over. Bake another 10 minutes or until the onion rings are browned.

Cranberry Orange Apple Crisp

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 cup low fat granola
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 1/4 cup butter (chilled butter or stick, cut into small pieces)
  • 7 cups apples (diced peeled apples about 3 pounds) all one kind or a combination of different kinds of apples such as Granny Smith, Rome, Royal, Gala,etc. You could even make more variety by adding a pear or two
  • 1 cup cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 tsps grated orange (rind)
  • 3 tbsps orange juice (from the fresh orange)
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350. Lighly grease 13 x 9 pan. Peel, core and slice apples into a large bowl. Mix in the cranberries, grated orange (rind) orange juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir together to combine. Pour into baking pan. Set aside. In another bowl mix together the Topping Ingredients. Mix together with forks or a pastry blender to make a crumb topping. Spread over the apple, cranberry orange mixture. Bake for about an hour.


Apples: Low in calories and high in soluble fibers that help lower cholesterol, helps prevent constipation. Fructose, the sugar that naturally occurs in apples, is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly than sucrose (table sugar). Diabetics can enjoy an apple without worrying about an abrupt increase in blood glucose levels.

Cranberries: A good amount of vitamin C and fiber, juice helps prevent or alleviate cystitis and urinary tranct infections,they contain bioflavonoids, which are thought to protect eyesight and help prevent cancer. They are in the blueberry family and are also great antioxidants.

Green Beans:The major health benefit of beans is their ability to lower cholesterol due to their rich source of fiber. Studies have shown that the high fiber contained in beans prevents blood sugar levels form rising too rapidly after a meal. This makes beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance, or hypoglycemia.

Onions: Studies have shown that, like garlic, onions and onion extracts decrease blood lipid levels, prevent clot formation, and lower blood pressure. Studies have also revealed that onions have a significant effect in lowering blood sugar levels. Throughout history, onions have also been used to treat asthma. Their action in asthma is mostly due to their ability to inhibit the production of compounds that cause the bronchial muscle to spasm, which then causes the muscle to relax.

Oranges: Due to the combination of high vitamin C content and flavonoids, oranges are important wherever vitamin C is required to function. Oranges are especially beneficial for the immune system, lens of the eye, adrenal glands,connective tissues, the reproductive organs, and in promoting overall good health. Oranges contain a very important flavonoid called hesperidin. Studies have shown that hesperidin lowers cholesterol and high blood pressure. Plus it also contains strong anti-inflammatory properties. A high concentration of hesperidin is found in the inner part of the peel and in the white pulp of the orange.

For your improved health make sure you include at least 5 -7 serving of fruits and vegetables every day (more vegetables than fruit due to the sugar content). As you can see each fruit and vegetable has different nutrientsand various health benefits. The best medicine is what you put on your fork. Make your meals a rainbow of colors.

During this beautiful holiday season begin your METAMORPHOSIS ~ Body, Mind and Spirit.

Reminder: Metamorphosis~Body, Mind and Spirit Weigh-Less Program begins Monday, November 21. For more information on dates and times for the 8 Sessions check my EVENTS Page on my website

I will start a New Weigh-Less Program the first week in January and I will announce the dates available in a December newsletter. If you would like a Weigh-Less Program at your work ask me about it.

Wishing you, your families and your friends a very happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving.

Warm hugs,

Debbie Barbiero

Certified Holistic Health and Life Coach, AADP

A hug goes a long way. Have you hugged someone today?

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