Happy low-salt, low-fat Thanksgiving!

If you’re like me, you’ve been cooking since the pre-dawn hours today. Hopefully you’ve tried some of my low-salt, low-fat recipes and you saw my warning about checking the sodium content of your turkey before buying one.

So all that’s left is to finish the cooking and enjoy. Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday of the year because it transcends all religions, or lack of religions, and celebrates the American family coming together to give thanks for each other.

Time to eat all those turkeys! Happy Thanksgiving!

Time to eat all those turkeys! Happy Thanksgiving!

We will be doing that in a very special way at our house this year, my son is with us from Minneapolis, my wife’s brother is coming over and she has relatives and friends here all the way from Holland to share our special feast.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
John

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Low-sodium Thanksgiving stuffing: here’s how to make it

Any bread stuffing you come up with for Thanksgiving will be loaded with the salt that was in the bread. Which is why I was thrilled last year to find sodium-free whole wheat bread at Trader Joe’s. I’ve looked many other places since but have not found a similar product.

Salt-free bread stuffing

Salt-free bread stuffing

I used the bread in a stuffing recipe that also includes celery, apples and onions. This year, I’m adding some chestnuts too because I enjoy them and want to see what they bring to the party.
John

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Low-Salt Thanskgiving side dishes

So you bought your low-sodium fresh turkey, now what do you pair with it for your low-sodium, low-fat Thanksgiving feast?

Check out the possibilities for low-salt, low-fat side dishes on The No Salt, No Fat, No Sugar recipe page.

Put the trimmed broccoli in the steamer basket, cover and set the timer to the recommended cooking time.

Put the trimmed broccoli in the steamer basket, cover and set the timer to the recommended cooking time.

I’m planning to make broccoli in my large steamer, a must-have appliance for any kitchen trying to cook healthy. Also on the menu will be asparagus, steamed and then topped with low-sodium panko breadcrumbs and some fat-free cheese.

After that, I’ll be tackling a low-salt stuffing, read more about that here Wednesday.
John

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How to find a low-sodium Thanksgiving turkey

White-meat turkey is one of the only meats allowed on most low-fat diets. So a traditional Thanksgiving turkey should be no problem right? Think again, I’m afraid. As I’ve written before, any self-basting turkey is loaded with salt, upwards of 300 mgs in four ounces.

If you’re likely to eat much more than four ounces, there goes your salt count for the day. So scout out a fresh or organic turkey with no added salt. I found a great deal on a fresh turkey at Costco today, $1.09 a pound, considerably cheaper than the $2,49 a pound I saw at other retailers carrying fresh birds.

Costco has a great price of $1.09 a pound for fresh, low-sodium Butterball turkeys.

Costco has a great price of $1.09 a pound for fresh, low-sodium Butterball turkeys.

My Butterball fresh has only 70 mgs of sodium per four ounces, what’s naturally in the turkey itself. Always read the nutrition label before buying, I saw some Butterball fresh turkeys at local retailer Jewel that had more salt, I couldn’t tell what the difference was other than the salt content, the labeling looked identical. Continue reading

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Shaw’s: a Chicago seafood classic

With all the seafood I eat these days, it’s easier to meet friends for dinner at a seafood restaurant than at places that serve other types of cuisine that I largely can’t eat because it contains too much, salt, fat and sugar.

Recently, we met friends for dinner at Shaw’s Crab House, a long-time Chicago seafood place. I often frequented its downtown location when it was a new, hot spot to be. It now has a suburban outlet in Schaumburg, Il., near the massive Woodfield Mall, and we’ve enjoyed eating there in the past as well.

My delicious rainbow trout at Shaw's in Schaumburg.

My delicious rainbow trout at Shaw’s in Schaumburg.

Shaw’s did not disappoint on our latest visit, although it had too many seafood options gunked up with crusts and cheese and other things I can’t eat anymore, as far as I was concerned. Continue reading

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Drink plenty of water…oh wait, maybe not

One of the most basic tenets of post-angioplasty health these days is to drink plenty of water. I was told to drink at least two liters a day, about 64 ounces, which I pretty much do regularly, if for no other reason than there’s not much I can eat during a given day, so water has become my snack.

My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, I given it up for water on the advice of nutritionists...who didn't mention arsenic in water could be a cause of my heart troubles.

My Super Big Gulp days are over when it comes to diet soda, I given it up for water on the advice of nutritionists…who didn’t mention arsenic in water could be a cause of my heart troubles.

So imagine how I felt in reading a recent New York Times article saying that the very water I drink could have caused my heart problems!!! Continue reading

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Flounder: an old favorite re-enters my daily eating habits

I’ve been eating a lot more fish since my angioplasty two years ago, mostly salmon and tuna. But I’m also always looking for new varieties to try.

Flounder is delicate, so keep an eye on it while cooking. Here's mine with lots of green beans.

Flounder is delicate, so keep an eye on it while cooking. Here’s mine with lots of green beans.

Recently, I ran across an old favorite in the frozen fish case, flounder. Continue reading

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Ciao: a south suburban Chicago old-school Italian place

My wife spent part of her youth in Chicago’s southern suburbs and her parents still live there. We often journey from our northern suburban home to meet them for dinner there and I’m always taken by the vast array of restaurants that I think of as old-school places down there as opposd to the fancier, nouvelle places we have closer to home.

By old-school, I mean places with classic dishes at good prices. Nothing fancy or new wave, which is just fine with me. These are the sort of restaurants that truly give you more value for your money. We recently went to one such place, Ciao, for my mother-in-law’s birthday and the food did not disappoint. The service was very slow. We were warned at the start though, seem the place is trying to get more help to deal with its weekend crowds.

My 10-ounce filet at Ciao.

My 10-ounce filet at Ciao.

Ciao in Palos Hills, Il., is a throwback to the Italian restaurants of my youth in New York. You walk in, Frank Sinatra is singing, what more could you ask for? The owners are there, so you know who is watching the food quality and service levels. It’s Italian comfort food with some new twists. Continue reading

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Fennel: a fun food that fits in most any diet

Fennel was one of the fun foods of my Italian-American youth. We’d eat it raw, like celery, while playing New York’s many street sports in those days or just watching TV. It was also a fixture of our Thanksgiving table, again served raw and quartered as a palate cleanser before dessert came to the table.

Fennel at Trader Joe's is a convenient package. Fennel is normally a fall product but many stores now stock it year-round.

Fennel at Trader Joe’s is a convenient package. Fennel is normlaly a fall product but many stores now stock it year-round.

In recent years, I’ve also cooked fennel and served it as a fun side dish. First I trim off the frowns and longer stalks, and the center top, which tends to be dirty and tough. I then boil the fennel until it softens and then transfer the quarters to a cookie sheet, sprinkle on low-salt panko breadcrumbs and put under the broiler for a bit to brown. You also can add low-fat, or fat-free cheese. Continue reading

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Thomas’s multigrain English muffins: a tasty low-salt alternative

Bread is one of the biggest carriers of evil salt in our daily diets. If you’re trying to eliminate salt as I have been since my angioplasty, you’ve likely given up breads, indeed baked goods, of all kinds.

Thomas' multigrain English muffins

Thomas’ multigrain English muffins

I have found one alternative, a whole wheat, salt-free bread at Trader Joe’s that I use in my Thanksgiving stuffing now. But I miss baked goods terribly, so I’m always on the lookout for other options. Continue reading

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