Families in Danville Learn Healthier Thanksgiving Meal Options

Danville, VA - Thanksgiving is a few days away, but one kitchen in Danville couldn't wait that long. Their kitchen was filled with the aroma of a delicious Thanksgiving feast Saturday.

Three families gathered at God's Storehouse to learn how to prepare a yummy and healthy option. It's all part of an effort of The Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community.

They were cracking eggs, slicing lettuce, and greasing pans; everything that entails getting ready for one of the biggest meals of the year.

This year, however, Thanksgiving will be a little different for three families in Danville.

"We're learning how to do a Thanksgiving dinner which is low in sodium and healthy for your family, instead of doing it the regular way and putting and a lot of fats and salt," said Rhonda Buchanan.

"Part of our initiatives of the Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community is to promote a healthier lifestyle. In spirit of cooking, Thanksgiving is all about family and kinship and fellowship and cooking is a great time to come together and it's also a great time for you to share your healthy behaviors with your family," said Alisa McKenzie, Chairperson for the Nutrition Subcommittee of the Dan River Partnership for a Healthy Community.

For this Thanksgiving feast, the families were tossing out the fatty ingredients, and substituting them for healthier options.

"In our mac and cheese, we're using reduced fat cheese and reduced fat milk," said McKenzie.

"Fruit salad with yogurt," said Torhonda Martin.

"Still doing the sweet potatoes," said Buchanan.

"I did some double corn bread," added Tameka Hodge.

The families say a key thing they learned is to make cooking a family affair. That way, they're passing down healthy habits to the younger ones.

"It's very helpful for them because they are the next generation," Martin said.

"I have a huge family, so we normally don't cook together and have fun like that, we just have mom and grandma do it and then we all come and eat, but it's fun to do it all together," Buchanan said.

After all of the cooking, the families sat down and had an early Thanksgiving meal. They also left with a book of recipes and bags of groceries to recreate that healthy Thanksgiving meal next week.