John McBride, Baker and Line Chef at the UVM Medical Center, bakes away in our hospital kitchen.

John McBride, Baker and Line Chef at the UVM Medical Center, bakes away in our hospital kitchen.

Thanksgiving – the time for family, friends, and of course, food. It’s easy to go overboard when cooking up your holiday feast. With these easy tips and tricks, you can ensure that your Thanksgiving dinner is not only delicious, but healthier, too.

  1. Bake with cornmeal. Cornmeal is reminiscent of the first Thanksgiving. Cornmeal is a rich source of dietary fiber, iron, and phosphorus. It is not made from wheat grains, making it a safe cooking ingredient for those following gluten-free diets. at the UVM Medical Center, we like to use the Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont’s High Meadow Yellow certified organic cornmeal. It’s a wonderful local choice because it is slow-milled to retain its nutrients. Try cooking with cornmeal for yourself in the recipe for Indian pudding featured below.
  2. Skinnify your pumpkin pie. No Thanksgiving feast is complete without a slice of this treasured classic. You can still bake your pie and eat it, too. Simply use healthier ingredients. You can try low-fat milk, an egg substitute, and less butter. I like to use Smart Balance instead of butter in my pie dough.
  3. Stuff yourself…on veggies. An acorn squash is the perfect vessel for all manner of delicious things. I like to fill mine with a delicious savory cranberry relish made with honey, cider vinegar, and orange juice. Your imagination is the limit. Quinoa, wild rice, even apples all make good fillings – and will fill you up! (Post your ideas in the comments section below!)

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s a recipe for Indian Pudding that I will be serving at our family dinner.


Find more Thanksgiving recipes on the UVM Medical Center’s Pinterest Board. 

John McBride is a Line Chef and Baker at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Prior to the UVM Medical Center, he taught at New England Culinary Institute and Paul Smiths College. Learn more about why food matters at the UVM Medical Center.

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