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A healthy look at Thanksgiving

Sunday, November 20, 2011

To the Editor:

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching and many Americans are rushing to pull together the perfect meal.

As a dietitian, I want to offer tips for how to create a memorable -- and healthful -- feast.

The secret is forgoing the turkey -- and instead filling your table with a lentil roast, stuffed with winter squash, or perhaps a soy- or wheat-based "turkey," and the usual vegetable sides.

Studies show that people who eat more plant-based foods are healthier and feel better all around.

Vegetarians have significantly lower blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index, blood sugar and triglycerides, compared with non-vegetarians, according to a recent study published in Diabetes Care.

You'll be surprised by how open your guests will be to a table filled with fresh vegetables and creative, healthful twists on the worn-out Thanksgiving foods that left everyone feeling ill.

Give your family members an extra reason to be thankful this year -- a meal that satisfies the taste buds without leaving them feeling overloaded and sick.

Sincerely,

Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,

Director of Nutrition Education,

Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine,

Washington, D.C.