Foods to be thankful for this Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a special time for embracing everything we are thankful for and displaying gratitude. Showing our gratitude is an empowering emotion. It makes us stop and think, a pause in our normal routine, to recognize all we are grateful for. Thanksgiving is a day that we tend to think of when sharing our gratitude with family and friends. We can do that with food as well. Here are some foods to be thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Sweet Potatoes: One medium-sized sweet potato contains more than three times one’s daily need for Vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also a good source of fiber, vitamin C and potassium. A medium sweet potato has more fiber than a bowl of your morning oatmeal. Believe it or not, a sweet potato contains only 20g of carbohydrate, a little over 100 calories and only 1 gram of fat per serving and would be a lovely addition to your holiday meal.

Cranberries: This tart fruit contains proanthocyanidins (PACs) that may prevent the adhesion of certain of bacteria, including E. coli, associated with urinary tract infections. The anti-adhesion properties of cranberry may also slow down the bacteria associated with gum disease and stomach ulcers. Recent scientific research shows that cranberries and cranberry products contain significant amounts of antioxidants and other phytonutrients that may help protect against heart disease, cancer and other diseases. Fresh cranberries are currently in season, buy them now and freeze them to use later.

Walnuts: In addition to antioxidants and essential ALA omega-3 fatty acids, an ounce of walnuts provides 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Walnuts are also a good source of magnesium and phosphorus. Eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low-saturated fat and low-cholesterol diet, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and may assist in decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.

Creamy Grape Salad with Candied Walnuts

Serves: 12 (1/2 cup each)

Source: adapted from Eating Well, Inc.

All you need:

Candied Walnuts:

1/2 c. Hy-Vee chopped walnuts

2 tsp water

1 tbsp Hy-Vee light brown sugar

Pinch of salt

Grape Salad:

1/2 c. reduced-fat sour cream

4 oz Hy-Vee reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature

3 tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

6 c. seedless grapes, preferably red and green (about 2 pounds)

All you do:

1. To prepare walnuts: Line a small baking pan with parchment paper or foil; coat with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Toss walnuts in a bowl with water. Sprinkle with brown sugar and salt; toss to coat well. Transfer to the prepared pan. Bake until the sugar is melted and the nuts are barely starting to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool in the pan until the sugar hardens, about 6 minutes.

3. To prepare salad: Meanwhile, combine sour cream, cream cheese, honey and vanilla in a food processor; puree until smooth and creamy. Transfer to a large bowl. Add grapes; gently stir to combine. Transfer to a serving dish. Crumble the candied walnuts on top just before serving.

4. To make ahead: Store candied walnuts at room temperature for up to 8 hours; refrigerate salad for up to 8 hours. Top the salad with the walnuts just before serving.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories: 143, Fat: 7g, Carbohydrate: 21g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 11mg, Dietary Fiber: 1g, Protein: 2g, Sodium: 50mg

This information is not intended as medical advice.

Katie Wilhelmi is a registered dietitian at the New Ulm Hy-Vee.

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