The holiday season gives us an opportunity to spend time with our friends and family while we reflect on the past year. We all look forward to this season, though we are often concerned about weight gain and the hours of planning.
Harris Teeter is here to help! Our yourwellness e-guide will help you plan a healthy holiday meal from appetizers to desserts. It also gives you ideas on what to do with your leftovers, time management suggestions and perfect party planning tips.
Chef Philip Anderson, Director of Fresh Foods for Harris Teeter, has developed a delicious five course meal that your family and friends are sure to love. All the menu items are developed with your health in mind. If you are leary of trying healthy items don’t worry, you won’t be able to taste the difference.
Russell H. Greenfield, M.D. and Beth Avery, RD, MPH have teamed up with Harris Teeter since the launch of the yourwellness program.
Both Dr. Russ and Beth Avery have been working closely with Chef Phil to create a holiday meal for you and your family. "It is important to adhere to a healthy diet throughout the year, but, it’s okay to splurge within reason on special occasions, and in moderation," said Dr. Russ.
The recipes contained in our yourwellness recipe section are made with ingredients that are good for your body. "These recipes allow you to splurge with taste without having to cook or eat in unhealthy ways," added Dr. Russ.
Party Planning Tips:
- Make a master list of what must be done a month, week and day in advance.
- Choose the menu ahead of time and decide whether you want a sit-down dinner (see Chef Phil’s excellent suggestion) or a buffet. Think about every course, hors d'oeuvres, appetizers, salads and dressings, breads, entrees, vegetables, desserts and beverages. Always include healthy and low-calorie selections.
- Prepare and freeze whatever you can ahead of time; baked goods can be stored in tins; roasts, cooked the day before, can be served cold. Vegetables can be chopped and stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator.
- Pick up specialty items from the Harris Teeter Floral Gallery, Fresh Foods Department and meat department, in advance. Remember, if you are looking for a specialty item ask customer service, Harris Teeter may be able to order the product you are looking for.
- Buffets are usually easier than sit-down dinners. Avoid serving foods that can spoil when left out for hours.
- Tie silverware and napkins together with festive ribbons and perhaps a candy cane. Buy paper napkins in holiday colors. Decorate tabletops with holiday ornaments and candles.
- Buy bags of ice. Place the ice cubes in a large tin bucket and decorate with a ribbon to keep drinks cool.
- Before the party starts, place cloves, cinnamon and orange peels on a baking sheet in the oven. Set on a low temperature for an hour; the holiday aroma will fill your house for the entire party.
- Welcome your guests by lining the driveway with luminaries and decorate the front of your house to set a celebratory mood.
Health Tips for reducing holiday stress:
- There is nothing better for reducing stress than exercising. Go for a walk. A few extra minutes of exercise a day can benefit your overall health.
- Get outside. Wintertime is still a great time to get a little vitamin D from the sun.
- Get plenty of rest and try to get eight hours of sleep each day.
- Limit your alcohol intake.
- Limit your intake of caffeinated beverages.
- Eat well. Decrease the amount of fat and sugar you eat and add plenty of fruits and vegetables to your daily diet.
Time Management Strategies For Holiday Stress Relief:
- Take advantage of the Harris Teeter yourwellness shelf tags. We realize that searching product labels is time consuming. During the holiday season we don’t have that extra time to spare. To make it easier for shoppers, Harris Teeter has developed 23 wellness keys to help you shop for healthly items. The keys represent a variety of attributes.
- Make a list.
- Simplify your holiday activities – don’t try and do everything, do what you can.
- Get an early start - decorate, shop and send cards early. Don’t wait until the week before to get in the holiday spirit.
- Get help – Purchase prepared holiday treats, deli trays, and vegetable trays at Harris Teeter instead of making them.
- Treat yourself to a cleaning service.
- Avoid the crowds -- Shop online with Party to Go! This online service allows you to choose from a variety of cakes, fruit baskets, and deli, vegetable and seafood trays. Try to give our associates 24 hours notice and then stop by to pick up your delicious prepared items, made to your specifications.
- Turn chores into events. Make cookie baking a family affair, or invite some friends over for a tree-trimming night.
- Build time into your schedule to relax and enjoy the festive season.
- Plan ahead for the next holiday season. Supplies, such as decorations and gift wrap, are often available at discounted prices following the holidays; get prepared for next year!
Holiday Food Safety
Purchasing and thawing the Turkey…..And how to handle the leftovers:
- What size turkey should you buy?
- In general, you can figure on one pound of turkey per person. This will provide generous servings with enough left over for second day dishes.
- Immediately after grocery store checkout, take the frozen turkey home and store it in the freezer until ready to use.
- Stuffed turkeys should not be thawed before cooking; instead follow package directions for handling.
- Beware of the Danger Zone—a temperature range where harmful bacteria in food multiply rapidly – between 40° and 140° F.
- Thawing the turkey on the kitchen counter is not recommended! Even though the center of the package may still be frozen, the outer layer of the food is in the "danger zone," where harmful bacteria multiply rapidly.
- To thaw a turkey, the experts recommend refrigerator thawing. However, if you are short on time and need a quicker method for thawing, submerge the turkey in cold water. Thawing a turkey at room temperature allows bacterial growth and is not recommended.
- Refrigerator Thawing:
- Thaw breast side up in its unopened wrapper on a tray in the refrigerator. Allow at least one day of thawing for every four pounds of turkey.
- Cold Water Thawing:
- Thaw breast side down in its unopened wrapper and cover with cold water. Change the water every 30 minutes to keep the surface cold. Estimate minimum thawing time to be 30 minutes per pound for whole turkey.
- How do you check the temperature?
- The tip of the meat thermometer should be placed in the thigh muscle just above the lower part of the thighbone, but not touching the bone, and pointing towards the body. For the stuffing temperature, the tip of the thermometer should be in the center of the body cavity.
- Refrigerate cold foods as soon as possible, always within 2 hours. Serve your meal within 1 to 2 days.
- Refrigerate or freeze leftovers promptly in shallow containers. It is safe to refreeze leftover turkey and trimmings--even if you purchased them frozen. Wrap tightly for best quality. (see table below for food storage).
- Foods frozen for a long period remain safe, but may become dry and lose flavor.
- If desired, turkey may be eaten cold.
- Reheating a Whole Turkey is NOT Recommended.
- When reheating turkey part, slice the breast meat; legs and wings may be left whole. Reheat turkey pieces and all side dishes thoroughly to 165 ° F, until hot and steaming. Bring gravy to a rolling boil. If using a microwave oven, cover food and rotate dish so it heats evenly. Follow the microwave oven manufacturer's instructions.
Safe storage for leftovers:
|Fresh whole turkey
||1 – 2 days
|Fresh turkey parts
||1 – 2 days
|Ground turkey, giblets
||1 – 2 days
||3 – 4 months
||3 – 4 days
|Cooked turkey dishes
||3 – 4 days
||4 – 6 months
|Turkey broth, gravy
||1 – 2 days
||2 – 3 months
||Unopened 2 weeks or use manufacturers use by date; after opened 3-5 days
||1 – 2 months