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Missy Chase Lapine

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The Sneaky Chef's Thanksgiving Tips And Recipes

Posted: 11/18/11 10:38 AM ET

Let's be honest...the Thanksgiving feast doesn't just last one day -- it marks the beginning of a free-for-all eating season that lasts through New Year's. A time when we celebrate less, not more, structure in our food lives. However, the holiday food fest doesn't have to derail any work you've done feeding your family healthier meals.

As The Sneaky Chef, I'm known for hiding healthy foods in everyone's favorite meals -- and one of my key "methods of disguise" is simply adding puréed vegetables to traditional comfort foods. Research now validates this method as a way to cut calories and increase vegetable intake for kids and adults alike. In a recent study, researchers at Penn State found that by "adding puréed vegetables to favorite foods, children consumed nearly twice as many vegetables and 11 percent fewer calories over the course of a day."

Don't worry, I'm not going to suggest cutting out pumpkin pie or not serving creamy mashed potatoes. But I am going to suggest making small alterations to your already loved and anticipated Thanksgiving recipes. Even the most traditional dishes offer lots of great hiding places for us Sneaky Chefs to slip in the good stuff, cut calories, and enhance nutrition and flavor.

So who says we can't have our pumpkin pie and eat it too? Just follow some of my simple tips and sneaky swaps below!

A Special Treat For The Kids: Sneaky Temples
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As we're often blessed to be surrounded by children at our table, let's try to make them happy without causing a sugar rush that can interfere with the tranquility of this holiday. If your kids are anything like mine, they will love and appreciate anything special you make for them. But instead of providing a common Shirley Temple filed with color dyes and sugars, why not make them a Sneaky Temple? Merely swap ginger ale (which is high in sugars) for plain seltzer and swap out the grenadine (made with food dye) for real pomegranate juice! For extra pizzazz, place a real cherry or strawberry in each glass, and let them enjoy this fun mocktail.


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