Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

( Do you know that the average Thanksgiving dinner has
over 2000 calories? It can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline. The following are some eating tips so that you can still look good and be
healthy after the Thanksgiving dinner without having to deprive yourself.

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Thanksgiving

If you are a guest of a Thanksgiving dinner:

  • Don't go to the Thanksgiving dinner hungry: we often eat faster and more when we are hungry - therefore eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch on the day to avoid overeating at dinner time.

  • Thanksgiving dinner is not an all-you-can-eat buffet: Fill your plate half with vegetables, one quarter with a lean meat and the rest with a starch of your choice. Eat slowly and stop when you are full.

  • Turkey - Go skinless: choose your 4-oz turkey portion skinless to slash away some fat and cholesterol. Save your appetite for the side dishes and desserts.

  • Side Dishes - watch your portion size: go for smaller portions. This way you can sample all the different foods. Moderation is always the key.

  • Make a conscious choice to limit high fat items: high fat food items can be found in fried and creamy dishes as well as cheese-filled casseroles in a traditional Thanksgiving meal . For instance, mashed potatoes are usually made with butter and milk; green bean casseroles are often prepared with cream of mushroom soup, cheese and milk and topped with fried onions; candied yams are loaded with cream, sugar and marshmallows. If you cannot control the ingredients that go in to a dish, simply limit yourself to a smaller helping size. Again moderation is the key.

  • Drink plenty of water: alcohol and coffee can dehydrate your body. Drink calorie-free water to help fill up your stomach and keep you hydrated.
If you are the honorable chef of a Thanksgiving dinner:
  • Substitute high fat ingredients with lower-fat or fat-free ingredients. Here are some examples:

    1. Try a low-fat or fat-free version
      Almost all packaged ingredients like butter, cream, sour cream, and mayonnaise also come in a lower fat or fat-free version, so why not take advantage of them? For instance, instead of using regular cream of mushroom soup and whole milk in your green bean casserole, try 98% fat-free cream of mushroom soup and 1% milk. This simple change slashes 14 grams of fat (~125 calories). Apply the same strategy for your mashed potatoes. Swapping half & half cream and regular butter with buttermilk and light butter will save 21 grams of fat (~190 calories). It's that simple!

    2. Consider substituting sugar
      Studies have revealed that the average American eats the equivalent of 20 teaspoons of sugar a day, and the intake skyrockets during the holiday season. Sugar intake is of particular concern for people with diabetes. As a general rule, you may substitute unsweetened applesauce or pureed prunes for half the sugar in recipes. In addition, you may consider no-calorie artificial sweeteners such as Splenda. You could shave 380 calories from a cake recipe that calls for one cup of sugar by replacing half with an artificial sweetener. You will shave 770 calories if you replace it all with a sweetener.

    3. Try a different kind of whip
      We have a love affair with whipped cream! We add whipped cream to specialty coffee, hot chocolate, desserts like sundaes, pies, etc. But one cup of whipped cream contains 14 grams of fat. Try making your own whipped cream using evaporated milk. This will trim half of the fat away! Alternately, try non-dairy Cool Whip Free. It offers a similar mouth feel without the fat and guilt.

    4. De-fattening your eggs
      If you're making pies and cakes this holiday season, eggs are in integral ingredient on your baking list. If your guests have heart health concerns, try substituting one egg with 2 egg whites to cut down on fat and cholesterol. However, be careful, because this substitution may not work in all recipes. For bakery recipes requiring eggs as an emulsifier, you can look for commercial fat-free, cholesterol-free egg substitutes like Egg Beaters. As a general rule, substitute one egg with 1/4 cup of egg substitutes.

    5. Go skinless
      It's not a holiday meal without the turkey! And believe it or not, turkey is considered a healthy food item on the holiday menu. In addition to being an excellent source of protein, turkey offers the least amount of fat per serving among all meats, if you pass on the skin. One serving (3 1/2 oz) of deep-fried turkey with the skin on contains about 12 grams of fat, compared with 10 grams in roasted turkey with skin. But if you remove the skin, you will save 5 to 7 grams of fat.

  • Leftover Turkey? Instead of turkey sandwiches, use the leftover turkey to make a pot of soup with fresh chunky vegetables.

  • Experiment with new recipes: we did a search on Google and found numerous delicious yet healthy low-fat contemporary Thanksgiving recipes. Experiment!

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