60,000-79,999 SparkPoints 68,725

Wellness Tips

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Below is an email I received at work. We have a Wellness committee and we get these types of emails about once a month. This one is about Thanksgiving. It is long and there are recipes at the end. Enjoy and have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!


Holiday Travel Advice
7 Ways to Stay Safe on the Busiest Travel Day of the Year

If you’re one of the millions planning to hit the crowded highways for the Thanksgiving holiday this year, here are seven pieces of sound holiday travel advice to save you gas, save your sanity, and maybe even save your life:

1: Pack for your back
Loading up your family’s luggage the morning of the day you leave could be a pain in your back. Fluids pool in your spinal disks while you sleep, and that makes your lower back tight and sensitive to irritation when you first wake up. Pack the car the night before, and you may need fewer painkillers as you drive.
Another simple but important bit of holiday travel advice: Tilt the rearview mirror up a bit so you won’t slouch while driving. Your spine will appreciate it.

2: Ditch the drive-thru
Fast food is a drain on your wallet and your energy levels, and, considering how much you’ll be eating this weekend, you just don’t need all that fat-, sugar-, and salt-laden fare. Instead, pack a cooler full of sandwiches on whole-wheat bread, which boosts your energy levels and makes you more alert.
Throw in a few peppermints; they’re healthier and studies find they’re as stimulating as caffeine. As a bonus, packing your own lunch will save you gas: Idling in drive-thrus can cost you up to 19 percent of your fuel economy.

3. Drive at, or slightly below, the speed limit
Automotive experts note that most cars get optimal gas mileage when driving between 60 and 65 miles per hour on the highway.

4. Plan for hills
Even cars with good mileage ratings have a hard time getting the best gas mileage on hilly roads, so if your route runs through mountains or foothills, avoid using cruise control. Cruise-control systems in most cars accelerate too aggressively uphill, wasting gas, but don't allow you to save gas by coasting down the other side. On the other hand, if your route crosses flat terrain, let the car cruise and give your lead foot a break. By doing so, you’ll use between 7 and 14 percent less gas.

5. Remember to stop
Our “gotta get there” mentalities make it hard to remember that we need to stop—and not just when the kids have to go. Plan pit stops every 2 to 3 hours to stretch your legs and prevent deep-vein thrombosis, a condition that occurs when leg circulation isn’t very good. Passengers and drivers alike should flex their ankles every so often during the ride to help with leg circulation.

6. Let your navigator do the talking—and the navigating
Whether it’s your cellphone, your GPS, the satellite radio, or even the low-tech paper map, drivers face a lot of distractions these days. You may know better than to text while driving, which leads to a 23-fold increase in your risk of a crash, but it’s not a good idea to hold phone conversations (even with a hands-free device) or fiddle with any gadgets. The rate of crashes is four times higher among people who talk on hands-free phones while driving (often because the crashes take place while someone is dialing a number), and reading a paper map while driving is seven times riskier than talking on the phone. Let the other travelers do the navigating, or if you're driving alone, set the GPS and don’t fiddle with it until you’ve stopped.

7. Plan some vacation exercise
Perhaps the best piece of holiday travel advice we can give is to take a walk, considering that the average Thanksgiving dinner contains upwards of 4,500 calories. Besides, after all the time cooped up inside cooking and eating, the fresh air will feel good. Go for a nice long walk every day during the holiday break, and it could become a healthy habit by the time the work week starts.

Ten Fun Thanksgiving Food Facts
by Hilary Meyer

There’s a lot that’s changed about Thanksgiving in the years since the Pilgrims gathered for their first meal of thanks. For instance, they weren’t were watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while they basted their bird (that started in 1924) or rummaging through sale racks for a bargain sweater the day after on Black Friday. Here are a few fun Thanksgiving food facts to mull over while you enjoy your meal.

1. Thanksgiving Hasn't Always Been a National Holiday
What do nursery rhymes and Thanksgiving have in common? Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor who also happened to write “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” She lobbied for making Thanksgiving a national holiday. Seventeen years and five presidents later, Abraham Lincoln finally established Thanksgiving as a holiday in 1863. You go, girl.

2. Thanksgiving Hasn’t Always Been on the Same Date
Abraham Lincoln declared in 1863 that Thanksgiving fall on the fourth Thursday of November. But in order to stimulate the economy and extend the holiday shopping season during tough times, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the date in 1939 to the third Thursday. It stayed that way for two years until Roosevelt moved it back to the fourth Thursday, where it stands today. (By the way, this year we have five Thursdays in November.)

3. We Consume an Average of 3,000 Calories at Thanksgiving
From the butter volcano in the mashed potatoes to the mishmash of sweet potato casserole and cornbread stuffing slathered in gravy, each American is estimated to consume anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 calories at the average Thanksgiving meal. (Check out this healthier menu: How to Cut 1,273 Calories from Thanksgiving Dinner (And Never Miss Them.)
But the biggest calorie bomb on your Thanksgiving table? [Drum roll, please.] Pecan pie! It packs a whopping 503 calories a slice (compared to 316 calories for pumpkin pie and 411 calories for apple pie). Where does this seemingly innocent pie get all of its calories? Sugar, mostly, and copious amounts of pecans, which harbor lots of fat. But on the bright side, much of that is “good fat” (including omega-3s) and pecans contain more antioxidants—compounds that sweep up tissue-damaging free radicals—than any other tree nut, according to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Pecans also provide notable amounts of zinc, a mineral that may help combat colds. In second place for calorie-packed dishes, we have sweet potato casserole at 460 calories a serving, and in third, don’t forget that wine adds up fast: 382 calories for three average-size glasses.

4. The Original Thanksgiving Lacked A Few of Today’s Must-Haves
What wasn’t part of the original Thanksgiving? A fork! The Pilgrims ate with spoons, knives and their hands. (I hope they had plenty of napkins!) Forks didn’t become regulars at American tables until years later. Also missing from the settlers’ table: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

5. You’d Have to Run a Marathon (Plus!) to Burn Off Your Thanksgiving Calories
If you want to exercise to “erase” the calories from turkey, gravy and everything else you ate at Thanksgiving dinner, I hope you have a comfortable pair of running shoes. A 150-pound person would have to run an average of 29 miles to burn off 2,800 calories. If you weigh more, congratulations! You get to run less. But whatever you weigh, clear your calendar and get out your reflective running gear because you are going to be busy (and winded).

6. We Eat (Way More Than) A Ton of Turkey
It’s estimated that Americans consume 736 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving Day alone. That’s 368,000 tons or, put into perspective, the weight equivalent of almost 20 Queen Mary 2 cruise ships. Or about the weight of the Empire State Building.

7. Most of Our Turkeys Come From Minnesota
Which state gives us the most turkeys? Minnesota, at around 46 million birds. North Carolina comes in second at 32 million and then Arkansas at 30.5 million.

8. Turkey Does NOT Make You Tired
Sleepy? Maybe it was the wine. Contrary to popular belief, eating turkey does not make you tired. While turkey does contain tryptophan, an amino acid which when released into the brain produces serotonin—a serenity-boosting neurotransmitter—“tryptophan-c
ontaining foods don’t produce the hypnotic effects pure tryptophan does, because other amino acids in those foods compete to get into the brain,” explains Art Spielman, Ph.D., an insomnia expert and professor of psychology at the City College of New York. So turkey doesn’t make you sleepy but booze, carbohydrates and in-laws do.

9. It’s Okay to Throw Food (Well, Cranberries At Least)
It’s not always a good idea to throw your food, but it might be okay when you’re talking cranberries. How can you tell if cranberries are ripe? Use this age-old growers’ test: throw them on the ground and see if they bounce. If they’re ripe and ready to eat, the air pockets inside allow them to bounce. If a cranberry is old or damaged, it won’t have as much spring.

10. If You Cook Thanksgiving Dinner, You’ll Burn A Quarter of the Calories You Eat
If you’ve ever pulled off cooking a Thanksgiving dinner yourself, then you already know it’s a workout. How much of a workout? More than you might think! If you make the whole dinner yourself (that’s everything from turkey to gravy, sides and dessert, with about 4½ hours in the kitchen chopping, stuffing and rubbing), you’ll burn about 700 calories! See the breakdown here

Wellness Wednesday Recipes –Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Ideas
Leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. Here are some tasty ways to enjoy what remains of your holiday turkey!

Wellness Wednesday Recipes
Thanksgiving Leftover Turkey Ideas

Barley, Turkey and Butternut Squash Casserole

• Cooking spray
• 2 small butternut squash
• 2 tsp. olive oil
• 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
• 1/2 cup minced onion
• 1 tsp. dried sage
• Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
• 2 cups fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
• 3/4 cup quick-cooking barley
• 1/2 lb. cooked turkey breast, cubed or diced
• 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 4-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
2. In a large pot of rapidly boiling water, boil squash halves 5 minutes or until not quite tender. Drain. When cool enough to handle, scoop flesh from each half and dice. Set aside.
3. In a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add green pepper, onion and diced squash. Sauté 3 minutes. Add sage and pepper and stir to coat. Add broth and bring to a boil. Add barley and return to boil.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10 minutes, until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Mix in diced turkey. Transfer mixture to prepared baking dish and top with feta cheese. Bake, uncovered, 30 minutes, or until cheese is golden.
Makes 6 servings. Per serving: 275 calories, 5 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 42 g carbohydrate, 18 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber, 368 mg sodium, WW PPV 7

Turkey Lasagna

• 6 whole-wheat lasagna noodles (or use no boil noodles)
• Canola oil cooking spray
• 1 medium onion, diced or chopped into medium pieces
• 1 1/2 lb. diced cooked turkey breast
• 1 tsp. dried oregano
• 15 ounces low-fat ricotta cheese
• 1 large egg, beaten
• 1 10-ounce package frozen spinach, cooked per package directions, well drained
• 3 cups low-sodium marinara sauce
• 1 cup part-skim milk mozzarella cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook lasagna noodles according to package directions. Set aside on cloth towel.
3. Spray large skillet with cooking oil, and over medium heat, cook onion until soft. Add turkey and cook until heated through. Stir in oregano.
4. In medium bowl, mix together ricotta, egg and spinach.
5. Place 1 cup sauce in the bottom of 13 x 9-inch baking dish and spread to cover the bottom. Layer with 3 lasagna noodles, half the ricotta cheese mixture and half the turkey mixture. Repeat layering starting with sauce, then cheese then turkey mixture. Top with mozzarella.
6. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake for additional 10-15 minutes or until bubbling and top is golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 290 calories, 8 g total fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 22 g carbohydrate, 34 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 280 mg sodium, WW PPV 7

Turkey Salad with Warm Sweet Potato Fries
Leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving. This is a tasty way to enjoy what remains of your holiday turkey.


For the Sweet Potato Fries:
• 2-3 sweet potatoes (about 1 lb.), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch wide shoestrings
• 4 tablespoons olive oil
• 4 teaspoons finely chopped sage leaves
• Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Salad Dressing:
• 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/3 cup cranberry juice
• 1 1/2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• 1 1/2 teaspoons grated orange zest
• 2 green onions, chopped
• Sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 6 cups Romaine lettuce, sliced 3/4 inches wide
• 2 cups cubed, cooked turkey
• 2 stalks celery, thinly sliced
• 1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
• 1/4 cup dried cranberries

1. Make the Sweet Potato Fries: Preheat the oven to 425˚ F. Toss the sweet potatoes in a large bowl with the olive oil, sage, and salt and pepper to taste. Transfer the potatoes to an oiled baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, turning once after the first 10 minutes.
2. Make the Salad Dressing: While the sweet potatoes cook, combine the dressing ingredients in a medium bowl and stir with a whisk.
3. Make the Salad: Arrange the lettuce in a large salad bowl. Add turkey, celery, pecans and dried cranberries.

4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss. Serve on individual plates, topped with warm sweet potato fries.
Makes 6 servings. Per Serving: Calories: 300, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Sodium: 125mg, Carbohydrate: 25g, Fiber: 5g, Protein: 17g, WW PPV: 8

Mexican Turkey Stew
Yield: 8 servings Per serving: Calories: 213, Fat: 6.8g, Saturated fat: 2.3g, Monounsaturated fat: 1.9g, Polyunsaturated fat: 1.6g, Protein: 25.4g, Carbohydrate: 13.5g, Fiber: 3.2g, Cholesterol: 56mg, Iron: 1.7mg, Sodium: 483mg, Calcium: 88mg, WW PPV: 5

• 3 large Anaheim chiles, seeded and halved lengthwise
• 2 teaspoons canola oil
• Cooking spray
• 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
• 4 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons ground guajillo chile powder (Substitute ancho chile powder if guajillo is unavailable)
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 4 cups water
• 3 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
• 1 (15-ounce) can golden or white hominy, drained
• 4 cups leftover shredded cooked turkey breast
• 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 cup roasted unsalted pumpkinseed kernels
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced radishes
• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions
• 1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled queso fresco cheese
• Lime wedges (optional)
1. Preheat broiler.
2. Place pepper halves, skin side up, on a foil-lined baking sheet. Broil 6 minutes or until blackened. Place in a paper bag, and fold to close tightly. Let stand for 15 minutes. Peel and chop; set aside.
3. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven coated with cooking spray over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add chile powder and oregano; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in 4 cups water, broth, and hominy; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes. Stir in Anaheim chiles and turkey; cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cilantro and salt; cook 3 minutes. Ladle about 1 1/3 cups soup into each of 8 bowls. Top each serving with 1 tablespoon pumpkinseed kernels, 1 tablespoon radishes, 1 tablespoon green onions, and 1 tablespoon cheese. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.
Beer note: With Anaheim and guajillo chiles lending their subtle heat, reach for a flavorful chilled beer, like a Scottish-style ale. Oskar Blues Old Chub Scotch Ale ($8.99/six-pack), from Colorado, has a rich, malty sweetness, hinting of caramel, that works to balance the peppery posole, while the beer's dark chocolate, toasted nut, and smoky notes complement the roasted pumpkinseeds in this richly layered soup.

There are some links in this post and below are the ones that you should be able to click.

Share This Post With Others
Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Love this blog!!!!!!! I feel so prepared now!!! Thanks for sharing it!
    2012 days ago
    Those are great tips, especially the packing part - i'm guilty of last-minute packing - i bet most of us don't know aboyt that.

    I like those fun facts - there are facts but made me laugh abd those recipes are interesting to try but dunno where i can find turkey here.
    2012 days ago
    Thanks for a bountiful blog of information. DD tells me they had eel at the first Thanksgiving. Happy Turkey Day to you! emoticon
    2013 days ago
  • LDAVIS648
    great ideas emoticon
    2013 days ago
  • Add Your Comment to the Blog Post

    Log in to post a comment

    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.