Dietitian describes healthy holiday meal

Photo illustration by Andrew Hartnett, The Campus Ledger

Kim Harms

Sports editor

The holiday season is approaching and as families begin to plan their Thanksgiving meals, people who are dieting are planning what they won’t be able to eat. Those who are dieting have to search for substitutions for the dishes that do not fit into their meal plan.

Claudia Martin-Ayoade, the college’s registered dietitian, explained which Thanksgiving dishes to be looking out for if you are on a diet. She explained that side dishes are one of the main things you need to keep your eye on and talked about the side dishes she typically uses for her Thanksgiving dinner.

“When I make green beans I always sauté them with almonds instead of sauce. Sauce tends to have lots of sodium,” Martin-Ayoade said. “I do all of my vegetables separate. I don’t use anything cream-based. I don’t use any bacon in anything. I use a lot of vegetable dishes. I’ll typically have some kind of rice dish.”

Martin-Ayoade spoke about the main entree at a Thanksgiving dinner — the turkey. She said the turkey is usually safe for those who are dieting, however, she does offer an alternative.

“We always have a turkey and one turkey will typically last [my family] a week or more because we only eat a little bit at a time,” Martin-Ayoade said. “I do have friends who come over to my house who are vegetarian and they will have fish. I’ll usually have salmon or some other fish for them.”

Pumpkin pie is the final touch for a Thanksgiving dinner and is loaded with sugar and extra calories. Martin-Ayoade listed a few alternatives for the dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth and won’t spoil your diet.

“You could do a pumpkin mousse, gluten-free ice cream and fresh fruits,” Martin-Ayoade said. “You could do baked pears with a chocolate sauce. Just try to stick to fruits and other natural foods. I make mini cheesecakes for my vegetarian friends so you could do those too.”

If you are on a restricted diet such as gluten-free or vegetarian, you can still enjoy a traditional meal. Martin-Ayoade explained what you can’t have if you’re on a restrictive diet and what your other options are.

“You could do a whole vegetarian Thanksgiving with some of the traditional ingredients modified,” Martin-Ayoade said. “[If you’re on a gluten free diet] you have to watch out for almost everything. You have gluten hidden in spaces like gravy. Anything that is flour based. You can have a pumpkin mousse or a pumpkin pie with gluten free crust. Anything that has any additional sauce, even things such as soy sauce can have gluten.”

Planning for your Thanksgiving dinner starts now as the holiday is only weeks away. Martin-Ayoade listed why you need to plan your meal weeks in advance, even if you are not the one who is preparing the dinner.

“Planning ahead is always important. You need to plan what you’re going to eat, how you’re going to eat, who’s going to prepare it and get recipes in place if you are the one who is going to prepare it,” Martin-Ayoade said. “Bring something that you know you like. Don’t be afraid to speak and ask for what you prefer because people are more accommodating than you think.”

College students wanting to learn more about eating healthier both on and off campus can contact Claudia Martin-Ayoade at or at 913-469-8500 ext. 3271.


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