SLCH Thanksgiving Wellness Guide Enjoy these holiday tips & recipes

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!



1. Safely Thaw Your Turkey

Thaw turkeys in the refrigerator, in a sink of cold water that is changed every 30 minutes, or in the microwave. Never thaw your turkey by leaving it out on the counter. A frozen turkey is safe indefinitely, but a thawing turkey must defrost at a safe temperature. When the turkey is left out at room temperature for more than two hours, its temperature becomes unsafe as it moves into the danger zone between 40°F and 140°F, where bacteria can grow rapidly.

2. Safely Handle Your Turkey

Bacteria from raw poultry can contaminate anything that it touches. Follow the four steps to food safety – cook, clean, chill, and separate – to prevent the spread of bacteria to your food and family.

3. Safely Stuff Your Turkey

Cook stuffing in a casserole dish to make sure it is thoroughly cooked. If you stuff the turkey, do so just before cooking. Use a food thermometer to make sure the stuffing's center reaches 165°F. Bacteria can survive in stuffing that has not reached 165°F and possibly cause food poisoning. If the stuffing is inside a whole turkey, take the bird out of the oven and let it stand 20 minutes before removing the stuffing. Learn more about how to safely prepare stuffing.

4. Safely Cook Your Turkey

Set the oven temperature to at least 325°F. Place the completely thawed turkey with the breast side up in a roasting pan that is 2 to 2-1/2 inches deep. Cooking times will vary depending on the weight of the turkey. To make sure the turkey has reached a safe internal temperature of 165°F, check by inserting a food thermometer into the center of the stuffing and the thickest portions of the breast, thigh, and wing joint. Let the turkey stand 20 minutes before removing all stuffing from the cavity and carving the meat.

Take Care with Leftovers

Clostridium perfringens are bacteria that grows in cooked foods left at room temperature. It is the second most common bacterial cause of food poisoning. Symptoms can include vomiting and abdominal cramps within 6 to 24 hours after eating.

Outbreaks occur most often in November and December

Meat and poultry accounted for 92% of outbreaks with an identified single food source.

Refrigerate leftovers at 40°F or colder as soon as possible and within two hours of preparation to prevent food poisoning.

Information courtesy of

Herb-Roasted Turkey


  • 1 10-12-pound turkey
  • 1/4 cup fresh herbs, plus 20 whole sprigs, such as thyme, rosemary, sage, oregano and/or marjoram, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola, oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • Aromatics:, onion, apple, lemon and/or orange, cut into 2-inch pieces (1 1/2 cups)
  • 3 cups water, plus more as needed


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven; preheat to 475°F.

Remove giblets and neck from turkey cavities and reserve for making gravy. Place the turkey, breast-side up, on a rack in a large roasting pan; pat dry with paper towels. Mix minced herbs, oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the herb mixture all over the turkey, under the skin and onto the breast meat. Place aromatics and 10 of the herb sprigs in the cavity. Tuck the wing tips under the turkey. Tie the legs together with kitchen string. Add 3 cups water and the remaining 10 herb sprigs to the pan.

Roast the turkey until the skin is golden brown, 45 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven. If using a remote digital thermometer, insert it into the deepest part of the thigh, close to the joint. Cover the breast with a double layer of foil, cutting as necessary to conform to the breast. Reduce oven temperature to 350° and continue roasting for 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours more. If the pan dries out, tilt the turkey to let juices run out of the cavity into the pan and add 1 cup water. The turkey is done when the thermometer (or an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh without touching bone) registers 165°F.

Transfer the turkey to a serving platter and cover with foil. Let the turkey rest for 20 minutes. Remove string and carve.

Recipe courtesy of

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts


  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup 100-percent apple juice
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries


Preheat oven to 425°F.

Combine Brussels sprouts, olive oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl; toss. Spread Brussels sprouts in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes.

Add pecans to the baking sheet and stir. Roast 5 to 7 more minutes, or until Brussels sprouts are tender and slightly browned and pecans are golden.

Meanwhile, combine balsamic vinegar and apple juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce heat to medium, and simmer 15 minutes or until thickened and reduced to about ¼ cup. Remove from heat.

Transfer Brussels sprout mixture to a large bowl; add cranberries. Drizzle with balsamic glaze, and toss until blended well. Serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Jessica Cox, RD | Sourced from

Meringue-Topped Sweet Potato Casserole


Sweet Potato Casserole

  • 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, (about 3 medium), peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 8-ounce can crushed pineapple, undrained
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted (see Tip)

Meringue Topping

  • 4 teaspoons dried egg whites, (see Note), reconstituted according to package directions, or 2 large pasteurized egg whites, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar

Note: Pasteurized dried egg whites are a wise choice in recipes that call for uncooked egg whites. Look for brands like Just Whites in the baking section of most supermarkets.


Place sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Drain well and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square (or similar 2-quart) broiler-safe baking dish (see Tip) with cooking spray.

Whisk whole eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon, oil, evaporated milk, vanilla and salt in a large bowl until smooth. Add the sweet potato; whisk until smooth. Stir in pineapple and its juice. Spread the mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with pecans.

Bake the casserole until heated through and the edges are bubbling, 35 to 45 minutes. Set aside while you make the topping.

To prepare meringue topping: Position rack in top third of oven; preheat broiler. Beat egg whites in a medium bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until soft peaks form (see Tip). Beat in granulated sugar in a slow, steady stream. Continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Spoon the meringue into a gallon-size sealable bag. Seal the bag, pressing out as much air as possible. Cut a 1/2-inch hole in one corner. Pipe the meringue onto the casserole, making marshmallow-size dots. (Alternatively, use a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch tip or spread the meringue over the casserole as if you were frosting a cake.) Broil until lightly browned, watching carefully to prevent burning, 30 to 90 seconds.

Recipe courtesy of

Crunchy Pumpkin Pie

While this is not considered a low fat food, the fat comes from healthy, unsaturated fats, and it is low in sodium, so it is considered heart healthy! A healthier choice for your holiday table!

Pie Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick cooking oats
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup whole wheat flour
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup ground almonds
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar

Pie Filling Ingredients

  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup evaporated skim milk


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F
  2. Mix oats, flour, almonds, sugar, and salt together in a small mixing bowl
  3. Blend oil and water together in measuring cup with fork or small wire whisk
  4. Add oil mixture to dry ingredients and mix well. If needed, add small amount of water to hold mixture together
  5. Press into a nine-inch pie pan and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until light brown
  6. Turn down the oven to 350°F
  7. Mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl
  8. Add eggs and vanilla and mix to blend ingredients
  9. Add pumpkin and milk and stir to combine
  10. Pour into prepared pie shell
  11. Bake 45 minutes at 350°F or until knife inserted near center comes out clean
Sourced from “Stay Young at Heart” from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute;


Enjoy Guilt Free Holiday Celebrations

Worried enjoying a traditional holiday meal and party foods with family and friends will destroy healthful food habits nurtured all year? The good news is any foods, even beloved holiday dishes, can fit into a healthful eating plan with practice and planning.

For starters, trying to lose weight during the holidays may be a self-defeating goal. Instead of trying to shed pounds, strive to maintain your current weight.

Party Pregame

Prepare small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can eat celebration foods without overdoing your calorie intake for the day. Enjoy a small, low-calorie snack such as fruit or whole-grain toast before you head out the door to curb hunger and avoid overeating at the party.

Upon Arrival

Remember, conversation is calorie-free, and you may eat less if you settle into the festivities instead of heading straight to the buffet. Ask for sparkling water and lime, which doesn’t supply calories, and start mingling.

Post-Time Activity

Balance “party calories” with more physical activity. Even though it may be cold outside, these everyday activities can take only 10 minutes at a time, and will help you get moving during the holidays.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
  • Play actively with your kids, grandkids or pets.
  • After dinner, take a walk with your family — even if it’s just around the block.
  • Catch up with housework: wash the windows, vacuum or sweep.

Information from

Heart-Healthy Holiday Tips to Reduce Stress

Sourced from

You are not alone if you are experiencing heightened levels of stress throughout the holiday season! Amid the hustle and bustle of the holidays, stress can easily rise. Take stress out of the equation so you stay happy, relaxed and heart-healthy with these tips for the holidays.

Stay active

Even in the madness of the holiday season, keeping active is important to keep your heart health in check and to avoid excess weight gain. Take a brisk walk after dinner. Do active chores around the house. If it’s not too cold, take your children to the park. Even 10 to 15 minutes of exercise a day can help. Yoga is also a great activity to reduce stress and engage in fitness from the comfort of your own home.

Don’t over do it

Parties, events and family obligations can seem overwhelming on top of work or your normal routine. While you may need to wake up 30 minutes earlier or work an hour later to get it all done, don’t go overboard with your personal expectations. Plan your days ahead of time so you can assess everything you need to do—and the things that have to drop off the list so you can reduce your stress.

Eat healthy first

Unhealthy foods are almost unavoidable over the holidays. Heavier meals, hors d’oeuvres, cookies and sweets abound, all of which may have extra calories and sodium to enhance their taste and appeal. So, to keep your diet on track, try eating healthier foods as a snack ahead of big meals or parties to fill you up first and give you more of the nutrients you need. Lean protein and high fiber are important components to a healthy snack. Try vegetables and hummus, a fruit salad, a hand-full of almonds or even oatmeal with cinnamon and apples ahead of a big meal or event to avoid over-eating unhealthy foods.

Drink wisely

Holiday cocktail parties and festivities typically involve alcoholic drinks, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t healthy choices you can make. Avoid sugary cocktails and choose red wine or club soda with lemon or lime with your choice of liquor instead. Both of these options have fewer calories and all-natural ingredients.

Take time for yourself

The holidays can be a joyful and reflective time. Try to carve out 20 minutes every day just for you. You can workout, meditate, practice yoga, read a book or magazine, take a long bath, cook something you love—whatever makes you happy. Taking time for yourself can help you minimize stress and increase your positive feelings.

Plan the months ahead

Reduce stress in the New Year by planning out the months ahead. Set realistic goals for yourself as they relate to your health, work, family or friends. If working out three times a week hasn’t happened yet for you, try committing yourself to doing it the month of January, and see how it goes. Setting distinct timeframes around your goals can help motivate you to accomplish them.


Black Friday Nutrition Tips

The unofficial start of the holiday shopping season – commonly referred to as “Black Friday” – is just a few days away. People everywhere will start their day standing in line at 4 a.m. and shop till they drop. Get the most bang for your nutrition buck on Black Friday by planning meals and snacks in advance.

  • Grab a sandwich on your way out the door made with your leftover turkey on whole-grain bread with spinach, tomato (or whatever veggies you have in the house) and mustard or low-fat mayonnaise.
  • Pack individual servings of unsalted nuts like almonds, walnuts, peanuts or pecans, to have in your pocket while on the go.
  • Fill up on prewashed fruits like apples, bananas and grapes.
  • Pack your purse with granola bars or single-serve packages of whole-grain cereal.
  • Bring a large bottle of water to drink throughout the day.

Holiday Shopping Safety Tips


  • Keep a record of all of your credit card numbers in a safe place at home.
  • Carry your keys, cash and credit cards separate from each other.
  • Avoid going to ATMs at night, especially if you are alone. Use ATMs in populated places and pay close attention to what is going on around you.


  • Always have your car keys in your hand to ensure easy access to your vehicle.
  • If you feel threatened, press the alarm button on your car remote. If the alarm goes off on the car, it will normally discourage would-be perpetrators.


  • Be aware and vigilant
  • Look around the area
  • Look around, under and into (seat wells front & rear) your car before entering

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