Stuffing, also called dressing, is a staple during Thanksgiving day meals. In my family, I am the designated stuffing maker, and I am also the one who tends to eat the most, so finding new and fun ways to make this traditional dish is always a challenge of mine. If you want a great healthy way to make a tasty stuffing, there are a lot of easy recipes to make.
Modifying or adding to traditional stuffing recipes is easy and fun to do. First of all, the easiest way to serve a healthy stuffing dish is to forgo baking it inside of a turkey and cooking it separately, avoiding extra calories and fat. Instead of the juices from the bird moistening your stuffing, you can add chicken brother or water to this dish. Another modification suggested by the Mayo Clinic is to add heart healthy cranberries to your stuffing. In this recipe they also suggest using whole wheat bread cubes.
Other additions to traditional stuffing recipes include adding apples, mushrooms, walnuts, chestnuts or pecans. You can also bake your stuffing inside of a butternut squash or green peppers. The Carondelet Heart Institute has a great basic healthy stuffing recipe you can use.
Instead of using a bread base for your stuffing, consider using whole grain brown rice or wild rice. Minute Rice and Uncle Ben both make great microwavable rice that can be even faster and easier to make than instant stuffings. Rice based stuffing are heart healthy and taste great with all kinds of fruits and vegetables. One stuffing idea at Allrecipes.com includes using apples and wild rice. Riced based stuffings are good choices if any guest has an allergy to wheat or gluten.
One of the best parts of making stuffing is that it is such an easy and flexible dish that can be made by kids. It can be an excellent opportunity to teach you children about good eating choices by introducing stuffing recipes that are healthy. One tip that TLC gives to make a child-friendly Thanksgiving dish is to bake individual sized stuffing in a muffin pan. With this technique, you and your kids can all experiment with different types of stuffing recipes in small amounts.
You might even use this dish as an opportunity to explore foods as a family you might not otherwise eat. One great recipe is a Quinoa based stuffing. Quinoa can substitute for nearly any grain in cooking and is very easy to cook. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture similar to rice when cooked, and has a mild, slightly nutty flavor. It is especially appealing to vegetarians because it can be a protein substitute and main dish in itself.
The simplicity and variety of stuffing recipes helps make healthy meals during holidays a tasty and fun learning experience.