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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. -- Susan Moores, Kowalski's Markets nutritionists joined us in the KARE 11 Kitchen to take a look at the lighter and healthier side of Thanksgiving.

Here are her tips and recipes for a happier, healthier, holiday season:

Turkey: It's an excellent, lower fat source of protein + a good source of iron, zinc, selenium (an antioxidant) and B-vitamins. White meat has about 10 calories less/ounce than dark meat. Enjoy whichever you favor. Portion size: 3-6 ounces (the size of 1-2 decks of cards).

Mashed potatoes: Leave skins on the potatoes to ramp up the nutrition and save yourself time. The skins provide fiber, potassium and phytonutrients. One-half cup has 1/4 the vitamin C you need in a day + a handful of B vitamins.*

* Substitute our mashed cauliflower recipe for potatoes (delicious). Calories are cut in half plus you get several nutrients linked with digestive health.

Stuffing: In its traditional mode, stuffing is not a nutritional all-star. Tweak a few ingredients and things change. Switch from white to whole-wheat bread; add wild rice to the recipe; add fresh herbs and vegetables such as carrots, onions and celery. Try adding dried fruit such as cherries, cranberries or apricots. Cook the stuffing in a separate dish vs. inside the turkey--saves 70 calories per tablespoon.

Cranberries: They're an excellent source of vitamin C and a good source of fiber. They contain compounds that can help fight the growth of harmful bacteria in your body. Go with whole or grated berries vs. the gelled versions. Less processed - more benefits.

Squash and sweet potatoes: A serving of either offers a day's worth of vitamin A plus other health-helping nutrients such as potassium and B vitamins. Drizzle with olive oil, bake and season with a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon.

Vegetables: Bring them on. Pick a vegetable, any vegetable - steamed and seasoned (hold the butter and sauces) and you'll get plenty of wonderful health benefits. Second helpings encouraged.

Nuts: They contain heart-healthy fats, protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Choose those you have to crack will help slow down the eating.

Pumpkin pie: 1/8th of a 9" pie offers 95% vitamin A needed in a day + it's a good source of fiber, vitamin K, and several B vitamins.

Fruited Wild Rice Pilaf:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. Kowalski's Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
  • 1½ cups chopped celery
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup Kowalski's Wild Rice
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1½ tbsp. julienned fresh sage
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • ½ cup chopped dried apricots
  • ¼ cup snipped dried cherries
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • ¾ tsp. kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. Kowalski's Coarse Ground Black Pepper

In 6 qt. saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium-high heat. Add celery, onion, garlic and wild rice to the pan; sauté until vegetables are nearly translucent and rice is softened slightly (about 4 min.).

Add stock and sage; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer 35 min. Stir in basmati rice; increase heat to bring pot to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer covered, until liquid is absorbed (about 20 min.). Remove from heat; let stand covered 10 min.

Drizzle with remaining oil; stir in remaining ingredients.

Serves 12.

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