Take 5: How to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers

Days are spent planning and shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, and hours are spent preparing the much-anticipated meal. So why let any of what’s left over go to waste. We asked Gail Weismann, registered dietitian and Beacon’s Nutritional Services director and clinical manager, to take five minutes and answer five common questions that will be on our minds after everyone finishes dinner. Here are her thoughts:
  • How long are your leftovers good? Refrigerated cooked turkey should be eaten within three to four days. Stuffing and gravy should be eaten within one to two days. Casseroles and cooked vegetables should be eaten within three to four days. And fruit and cream pies should be eaten within two to three days.
  • Wondering what to do with all the leftovers? Use left-over turkey in your favorite chili recipe instead of ground beef. Make a wrap with turkey, cranberry sauce, spinach leaf and a whole wheat tortilla. Blend left over cranberries with greek yogurt and orange juice for a smoothie. 
  • An alternative to having too many leftovers in your refrigerator? Have to-go containers ready for your guests to fill as they are leaving. This cuts down on over-eating and helps with food waste and portion control.
  • How can you avoid feeling stuffed? Remember that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you are full. So before getting seconds, wait 20 minutes to decide if you are still hungry before reaching for more.
  • What’s a good way to start burning some of those Thanksgiving dinner calories? Walking briskly for an hour while trying to get the best deals can burn 250 calories per hour. But note: this is equivalent to just one piece of pumpkin pie.