CHICAGO, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Warm, rich meals and cool, fall air go hand-in-hand, especially with Thanksgiving fast approaching. The American Medical Association (AMA) is offering tips and recipes to help lighten up traditional Thanksgiving and winter comfort dishes, so they can be enjoyed with less waistline expansion.

"Thanksgiving is the gateway to the holiday season, when many people ingest lots of calories in food and beverages and don't get enough physical activity to burn those extra calories," said J. James Rohack, M.D., AMA president-elect. "By making a plan early to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the season, you can enjoy yourself without having to pay for it in the new year."

As part of the AMA Healthier Life Steps campaign, the AMA is providing these healthful tips for use in holiday cooking:

     --  Use fat-free and low-sodium broths in soups and stews.     --  Replace the sour cream in dips with low-fat or nonfat sour cream or         yogurt.     --  Add a green vegetable to every meal, like broccoli in your omelet,         spinach on your sandwich and green beans on your dinner plate. It's         a great way to sneak extra vitamins into your diet. 

"Thanksgiving isn't usually a calorie-conscious holiday, but by swapping out a few ingredients with healthier alternatives, you can really help reduce calorie and fat intake while keeping great flavor," said Dr. Rohack.

The holiday season also brings about more opportunities for get-togethers and parties. The following tips will help you navigate healthfully through the holidays while still enjoying time with friends and family:

     --  Don't linger near the appetizers. It makes it too easy to         mindlessly eat while chatting with friends.     --  Limit your desserts. Take just a taste instead of a full serving.     --  Drink alcohol in moderation. Not only are alcoholic beverages full of         empty calories and sugar, but drinking may lower inhibitions and cause         you to eat foods you otherwise wouldn't.     --  Fill your plate with fruits and veggies, instead of fried foods and         creamy dips.     --  Take a walk. It's a great way to catch-up with family and friends         while getting exercise. 

"Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season is a great time to connect with family and friends and start planning for the new year ahead," said Dr. Rohack. "By making wise food and drink choices and getting regular exercise, you can keep yourself happy and healthy all season long."

For more tips and resources on how to improve diet, get more exercise and reduce or eliminate unhealthy behaviors, visit


Makes 4 side-dish servings


2 1/2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch chunks

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1 teaspoon salt

2/3 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 cup fat-free or reduced-fat sour cream

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg


     1. Place the potatoes and garlic in a large saucepan and add enough water to        cover. Bring to a boil over high heat and add 1 teaspoon salt. Reduce the        heat to medium, cover, and cook until the potatoes are tender - about 15        minutes. Drain the potatoes, return them to the pot, and place over low        heat for about 1 minute until thoroughly dry. Transfer to a large bowl,        or leave them in the saucepan to mash.     2. Add the broth to the potatoes and mash with a potato masher until        potatoes achieve your desired consistency. Add the sour cream and        continue to mash until the potatoes are light and fluffy. Season with        pepper, nutmeg, and salt to taste. 

PER SERVING: About 238 calories, 12 calories from fat, 1 g total fat, 0 g saturated fat, 567 mg sodium, 52 g total carbs, 3 g fiber, 5 g protein


Makes 8 servings


2 teaspoons unsalted butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large celery rib, chopped

1/3 cup fat-free, low-sodium chicken broth, add extra if dry

1 package frozen chopped kale, or ¾ pound fresh kale

2/3 cup fresh cranberries, chopped

4 cups low-fat corn bread, crumbled

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon savory

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


     1. In a large skillet, heat the butter and cook the onion and celery until        tender. Add the chicken broth and kale. Cook, covered, stirring        occasionally until kale is tender - about 6 minutes for fresh kale and 3        minutes for frozen. Add the cranberries and cook, covered, for 3 minutes.        Add the corn bread, sage, thyme, savory, salt and pepper. Toss to        combine.     2. Transfer the stuffing to a large ovenproof dish and cover.     3. Preheat the over to 350 degrees. Bake the covered casserole 20 to 25        minutes until heated through. If stuffing seems dry during baking add a        bit more chicken broth. 

This recipe can also be made ahead of time and refrigerated. If baking after refrigeration, bake 40 to 50 minutes.

PER SERVING: About 107 calories, 34 calories from fat, 4 g total fat, 1 g saturated fat, 221 mg sodium, 15 g total carbs, 3 g fiber, 3 g protein

SOURCE American Medical Association