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Carisa Cegavske

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November 27, 2013
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Healthy Wednesday: Some skip the dressing while others pour on the gravy for Thanksgiving

Winchester resident Shirley Saeter believes Thanksgiving is not the time to scrimp on calories.

This year’s menu includes the traditional turkey, stuffing, potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans topped with french onions and, “of course, pumpkin pie.”

The Saeter family won’t be holding the whipped cream on that pie either.

“Healthy is for another day,” Saeter, 77, said, echoing the sentiment of many News-Review readers who told us what they have planned for Thanksgiving dinner. Others say they will continue eating healthy meals right through one of the year’s most potentially fattening holidays.

Millie Pietz of Umpqua has already cooked her turkey. She and her husband have been eating it for several days — without the stuffing and mashed potatoes. She steams yams and if she makes gravy, cools the juices from the turkey first and skims off the fat.

Pietz makes pumpkin pie with just a half cup of sugar and bakes it in a rectangular casserole dish with no crust.

“It tastes very good to me, but I don’t like things to be overly sweet,” she said.

On Thanksgiving Day, she will dine with friends in Roseburg, but will skip the traditional meal and enjoy a little ham and homemade, low-sugar biscotti with walnuts instead.

She attributes her 124-pound frame and low blood pressure to her diet. She said many members of her and her husband’s families have suffered from diabetes or heart problems, which motivates her to eat right.

“I don’t have diabetes or heart problems, and I’m 76 years old,” she said.

Winston resident Melanie Trevisiol, 51, said she usually eats fairly healthy food — lots of fruits and vegetables — and watches portion sizes.

Thursday she will be “saying ‘no’ to healthy for the day.”

Trevisiol, a second-grade teacher at Winchester Elementary School, will host 11 relatives at her home Thursday.

“It’s my favorite holiday of the year, even more so than Christmas. It feels good to just all get together with family and friends and have a good meal at my place,” Trevisiol said.“It’s just a time to be thankful and get together with friends and family and know that lots of people aren’t so lucky, and we should be grateful for what we have.”

She and her sister planned to begin cooking today, baking pies and preparing a traditional stuffing recipe handed down from their grandmother and mother. The secret ingredient is Jimmy Dean sage-flavored sausage.

“Everybody anticipates it and we have to make it or it’s not Thanksgiving,” said Trevisiol, who sent the recipe this year to a daughter-in-law in California who can’t join them Thursday.

“She’s going to make it for my son, so it’s getting passed on,” she said.

Josie Schwendiman, 65, of Sutherlin plans to make turkey and stuffing, but also will have vegetables on the menu. She will serve green peas and sweet potatoes with a little pear jam instead of marshmallows to sweeten them.

For vegan Ian Smith, 33, of Roseburg, the Thanksgiving table is turkey-free but otherwise looks much like that of the average omnivore.

“A lot of the kind of traditional Thanksgiving menu is largely vegetables,” he said.

Smith and his fiancee will enjoy mashed and sweet potatoes along with their Field Roast, a meat substitute made from wheat and barley and filled with stuffing.

“I think it’s pretty convincing. Of course, I haven’t eaten meat in over 10 years, so my idea of what meat tastes like is sort of skewed,” he said.

The mashed potatoes will be mixed with spinach and garlic. Another vegetable, probably broccoli, will also grace the table. A dessert of pumpkin cheesecake will be made with nondairy cream cheese, but they won’t hold the sugar and may add a second dessert of chocolate mousse pie, made with silken tofu for a light, creamy texture.

“On the whole, it’s probably a pretty healthy meal,” Smith said.

Rená Cox, 55, of Sutherlin plans a traditional meal of “turkey and all the trimmings.”

“I have to have the pumpkin pie. My husband is an excellent baker,” she said.

The healthiest offering of the day will be a side dish of green beans.

“Sometimes I used to fix them in bacon grease ... but my husband didn’t like them that way,” Cox said.

These days, they take their green beans steamed, with an apple-cider vinegar sauce.

Carl Hainey, 74, of Fair Oaks loves a good vegetable. He grows and preserves his own beans, tomatoes, broccoli and squash and takes pride in a healthy diet.

When it comes to Thanksgiving though, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie carry the day.

“It’s just kind of the thing we do. It’s one day we don’t have to worry about it,” he said.

Hainey said the Thanksgiving potatoes will be fresh from the garden and more flavorful than those from a store.

The Haineys will serve homemade cranberry relish, made from fresh cranberries, apples, oranges and lemon, and homemade cranberry sauce.

“Our grandson won’t eat the kind in the can anymore after tasting grandma’s homemade sauce,” he said.

• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or ccegavske@nrtoday.com.

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The News-Review Updated Nov 27, 2013 11:51AM Published Nov 29, 2013 01:43PM Copyright 2013 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.