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Simple Steps for a Happy, Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving

November 10, 2022

White Plains, N.Y. (November 10, 2022) – Thanksgiving is about enjoying time with family and celebrating with traditional foods we know and love. While many classic holiday dishes are high in fat and calories, making a few simple swaps in your Thanksgiving dinner and dessert recipes can make the meal much healthier for your heart.

“Using smart substitutions in your holiday baking and cooking can have a positive impact on keeping your health in check over Thanksgiving,” says Dr. Gary Gabelman, Director of Cardiology Group Services at White Plains Hospital.

These simple suggestions make your favorite holiday recipes better for heart health.


  • Use cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar added applesauce instead of butter
  • Use a lower-calorie sugar substitute
  • Choose low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk
  • Swap out half of your white flour for whole-wheat flour
  • Swap chocolate chips or candies in favor of dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries
  • Add flavor with extracts like vanilla, almond and peppermint instead of sugar or butter


  • Instead of butter, try vegetable oils like olive oil – even in your mashed potatoes!
  • Flavor dishes with herbs and spices like rosemary and cloves, instead of butter or salt
  • Use whole-grain breads and pastas
  • Bake, grill or steam your vegetables instead of frying
  • Use low-fat or skim milk instead of whole milk or heavy cream

“Now that you’ve prepared some of your Thanksgiving meal with healthy substitutes, prepare yourself a balanced plate – starting with a salad and vegetables,” says Dr. Gabelman. “Eating vegetables will ensure you get the nutrients you need and will help fill you up so you don’t overload on other, less healthy foods like rolls, stuffing and pie.”

In addition, the American Heart Association advises increasing physical activity over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to combat the extra calories and stress. Play catch with your kids, walk your dog, or carve out 40 minutes in your schedule to hit the gym for an endorphin boost. Make exercise a family affair by taking a walk together after each meal or gathering.

To find more ways to live healthy, visit

About White Plains Hospital  

White Plains Hospital is a proud member of the Montefiore Health System, serving as its tertiary hub of advanced care in the Hudson Valley. The Hospital is a 292-bed not-for-profit health care organization with the primary mission of providing exceptional acute and preventive medical care to all people who live in, work in or visit Westchester County and its surrounding areas. Centers of Excellence include the Center for Cancer Care and The William & Sylvia Silberstein Neonatal & Maternity Center. The Hospital’s Flanzer Emergency Department is the busiest in Westchester County. White Plains Hospital performs lifesaving emergency and elective angioplasty in its Joan and Alan Herfort, MD, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and Marie Promuto Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory and in 2021, the Hospital formally launched its cardiac surgery program with its first-ever open-heart surgery in partnership with world-class cardiac surgeons from Montefiore Einstein. White Plains Hospital has outpatient medical facilities across Westchester, including multispecialty practices in Armonk, New Rochelle, Somers and Yorktown Heights; and Scarsdale Medical Group locations in Harrison and Scarsdale.

The Hospital is fully accredited by the Joint Commission and earned its recognition as a Top Performer for Key Quality Measures® in 2019. In 2022, White Plains Hospital received a 5-star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) — the highest distinction offered by that federal agency. In addition, the Hospital received Magnet® designation three times, most recently in 2021 from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The Hospital recently received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® Gold Achievement Award for its treatment of patients who suffer severe heart attacks in its Emergency Department and Cardiac Catherization labs and its mortality rate is amongst the lowest in the country according to the National Cardiovascular Data Registry (NCDR). The Hospital has been reaccredited by the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer, and by the for providing high-quality, patient-centered cancer care to their patients and the community. It has earned a three-year accreditation from the National Accreditation Program for Rectal Cancer (NAPRC), one of 60 hospitals in the nation, and the Hospital’s Bariatric Surgical Center was reaccredited as a Comprehensive Center under the Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Accreditation and Quality Improvement Program (MBSAQIP) in 2022. White Plains Hospital has received full accreditation for its breast cancer program four times from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) and The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program (ACS NSQIP®) granted White Plains Hospital with two meritorious outcomes for surgical patient care in 2022. Also in 2022, the Hospital received the Outstanding Patient Experience Award from Healthgrades® for the 7th time, and in 2022 became the only Hospital in Westchester to be awarded with an A Safety Grade from the Leapfrog Group for the 7th time.