Save Money and Calories on Thanksgiving Dinner

With rising food prices, preparing Thanks­giving dinner can be expensive. In addition, large holiday meals with high calorie foods cause people to overeat. Here are some helpful tips to save both money and calories on the Thanksgiving meal.

Do not go overboard with variety. Do you serve mashed potatoes, stuffing, and sweet potatoes? Do you serve two meats? Remember, you do not have to have everyone’s favorite holiday food at one meal. Choose one meat, one starchy vegetable (mashed potatoes OR sweet potatoes), and one green vegetable that appeals to everyone. Doing so will help you save money and eat less.

Take guests up on their offer to bring a dish. Some of your guests would love to show off their cooking skills with a salad or dessert. Others with less time or ability could be asked to bring a dozen rolls from the bakery, a purchased dessert, or some type of beverage.

Simplify your recipes. Every dish does not have to be fancy. Try fresh or frozen green beans with a touch of olive oil instead of green bean casserole. Have a fruit salad with a mixture of canned and fresh seasonal fruits without lots of whipped topping or sweetened condensed milk.

Watch for sales. Many grocery stores put items frequently used for the Thanksgiv­ing meal on sale a few weeks before hand. Plan your meal ahead of time so that
you can buy items when they are on sale. Consider stocking up on some of these items that can be stored on the shelf or in the freezer and used throughout the year (e.g., fresh cranberries, canned pumpkin, turkey, brown sugar).

Know how many people are attending dinner. This is important so you do not end up making too much food and spending extra money. Make only as much as you need for the people who are attending unless you are deliberately planning for leftovers.

For more tips on saving money at the grocery store and budget friendly recipes, visit the Spend Smart. Eat Smart. website

Old-Fashioned Stuffing

StuffingServes:  10 (Serving size: ½ cup)

Ingredients

  • 8 cups dried whole wheat bread cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms or one can mushrooms (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 3/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken or turkey broth

Directions

  1. Toast bread cubes and set aside- see “Tips” below.
  2. Melt margarine or butter in a medium sized frying pan.
  3. Add celery and onion, cook until tender, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add mushrooms, seasoning, and broth.  Cook 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from heat and add toasted bread cubes.  Cover and let stand 10 minutes.  Serve immediately.  Refrigerate leftovers within 2hours.

Tip

Bread cubes can be toasted by cutting 15 to 20 slices of bread into cubes, spreading the cubes evenly over a cookie sheet, and bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Nurtrient information per serving

118 calories, 4.5 grams total fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 17 grams carbohydrate, 1.5 grams fiber, 2.8 grams protein, 398.5 mg sodium

For more recipes and to access the full nutritional profile of this recipe, visit www.extension.iastate.edu/foodsavings.

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