November 2012 Issue

Going Meatless
By Judith Riddle
Today’s Dietitian
Vol. 14 No. 11 P. 6

If you were a guest at my house on Thanksgiving Day, you’d have roasted turkey; roast beef seasoned with salt, pepper, and rosemary; cornbread stuffing and gravy; sweet potatoes with a melted marshmallow topping; made from scratch cranberry sauce; macaroni and cheese; black-eyed peas and rice; collard greens; and baked Dutch apple pie and pumpkin pie à la mode. I’m already getting hungry just thinking about this.

I could lower the fat and calorie content of this meal by using low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheese in the macaroni, nixing the marshmallows and using less brown sugar in the sweet potatoes, and serving a low-calorie dessert. But that wouldn’t go over well with the relatives.

Like my family, many people are sticklers about keeping tradition. Try to break with tradition, and you risk ruffling many feathers (no pun intended). But for clients who want to start a new trend and eat healthier foods, suggest they prepare a vegetarian meal—a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey, beef, or ham. In our cover story “Happy Thanksgiving Veggie Style!” on page 22, Carol Meerschaert, MBA, RD, recalls her experience of preparing a nontraditional, but tasty, vegetarian feast for her family last year and describes how well it was received.

She offers ideas for appetizers, the main course, and desserts, and provides six vegetarian recipes to share with clients who are vegan, gluten intolerant, or who just want to eat a more plant-based diet.

Of course, there are those clients who believe there’s no such thing as Thanksgiving without a turkey and are simply interested in how to prepare one. If that’s the case, turn to “Turkey Talk” on page XX where Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, discusses how to defrost and cook a turkey safely to avoid foodborne illness.

Know a dietitian who deserves recognition in the pages of Today’s Dietitian? Our March 2013 issue will honor 10 dedicated RDs nominated by their peers in the field. To nominate a colleague, visit our website at

Enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and the issue!