Healthy Thanksgiving Food Alternatives

November 22, 2017


With the holidays approaching, it can be easy to forget that the calories of your Thanksgiving meal still count. Average Americans consume 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving day alone, which is more than twice the recommended daily allowance! Putting a little thought into making each dish of your meal a little healthier can have a big impact, while still keeping Thanksgiving food delicious and hearty. Here are some tips and easy switches that could help you feel better about eating your Thanksgiving meal.

A juicy turkey is a common staple on everyone’s table. Starting out with a white meat turkey that has thawed in a refrigerator for several days, roasting the turkey is the healthiest option and produces the best flavor. Turkey is a low-fat meat to start, but using white meat decreases the amount of saturated fat by over half. Using fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make stuffing is another good way to reduce calories and fat.

When baking, reduce the amount of added sugar whenever possible. Using fruit puree in place of sugar still gives sweetness but has fewer calories. Another tip is to reduce the use of oil and butter, or use canola oil instead. These items add calories to a usually already high-calorie food. Most meats can cook in their own oil, and a warm, tasty roll is just as tasty dipped into the gravy you were already planning to eat! Using fat-free sour cream or plain yogurt for dips, mashed potatoes and casseroles is another good idea and can reduce the calories of these dishes by more than half, while still keeping a rich and creamy texture. Watch your portion sizes by using a smaller plate, which makes you think twice about heading back for seconds. Having less alcohol can also help cut down on calories before and during the meal and give you more room for your favorite dish.

Food aside, there are other ways to keep Thanksgiving healthy. Eating breakfast in the morning, going for a brisk walk or being active in any way, staying hydrated throughout the day, having a small snack before dinner, and socializing with friends and family away from food can all help curb thanksgiving calories while still having a great meal. All things in moderation, you will be able to have a healthy and guilt-free Thanksgiving meal.

Check out these links for healthy Thanksgiving dish alternatives!

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