Thanksgiving is all about abundance. Everyone wants to bring their favorite dish, or needs to have both pumpkin and pecan pie. With all the rich choices, there is a distinct chance that Thanksgiving will turn into overindulgence. You could be staggering away from the table, barely able to move. But it does not have to be that way! With reasonable portion sizes and healthier dishes that do not sacrifice flavor, Thanksgiving dinner can still be joyful, delicious and healthy.
- The skin of turkey and chicken is loaded with saturated fat. Per gram, all fats are higher in calories than protein or carbohydrates, and they contribute to high cholesterol. Dark meat has more fat per bite than white meat.
TIP: Serve yourself turkey breast or other white meat without the skin
- Stuffing is typically loaded with butter and assorted high-fat meats, such as sausage. A single scoop may have up to 550 calories.
TIP: Replace butter with low-sodium chicken broth, and skip pork sausage in favor of a low-fat chicken, oyster, or fruit alternative. Or try making wild or brown rice stuffing instead.
- Mash potatoes, usually has a lot of milk, butter, and salt that go into this classic comfort food. A cup of homemade mashed potatoes made with whole milk and butter can have 237 calories.
TIP: Mash the potatoes with low-fat milk or low sodium, fat-free chicken stock and skip the butter, or salt.
- Sweet potatoes are very nutritious vegetables. They’ve got vitamins A and C, plus a dose of calcium and potassium. But these are often served in a unhealthy fashion like in casseroles made with marshmallows, butter, and lots of sugar.
TIP: Leave out the butter, cut the sugar in half, and lightly top with mini marshmallows. This will shave calories and fat, not taste
- Although pecans are packed with healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals, pecan pie is a minefield of sugar and calories. A typical slice of pecan pie has more than 500 calories. That’s because it’s usually made with oodles of corn syrup, butter, and sugar.
TIP: Nibble on a bowl of mixed nuts instead. If you can’t resist the pie, choose pumpkin or opt for a very small slice and don’t eat the crust.