By Lindsay Wolfman, RD
Thanksgiving dinner can easily add up to 4,000 calories. Holidays tend to be food-focused, but you can make these foods healthier. This year, start by making better choices. Here are some tips to help you avoid that calorie-packed plate this Thanksgiving.
Turkey: A lean protein, turkey has virtually no saturated fat — unless you purchase a self-basting turkey that has been injected with butter or oil. Avoid these and baste your bird with low-fat, low-salt broth, wine or juice.
Mashed potatoes: Save yourself some work, leave the skins on. They provide fiber and potassium. Or try mashed sweet potatoes. Use Greek yogurt instead of cream to richen the starch you provide.
Stuffing: Try whole-wheat bread and get the benefit of whole grains. Add flavor with fresh herbs and aromatic veggies such as carrots, onions and celery. Wild rice stuffing is fantastic, too. Mix in unsweetened dried fruit for a little texture.
Green beans: Keep the beans, but skip the cream of mushroom soup. Lightly roast your green beans and sprinkle them with slivered almonds to serve. You could also try Brussels sprouts, asparagus or broccoli. Lightly steam them and top with lemon zest.
Pie: Pecan pie is a holiday favorite. While the antioxidant-packed nuts are good for you, in moderation, the corn syrup, butter and sugar can pad your hips with up to 800 calories per slice. Opt for a small slice of pumpkin pie minus the crust for a dessert that is lower in fat and calories but also provides a nice dose of beta-carotene.
Put health first this holiday season. Start your day by being active – run a race, take a walk or try a yoga class. Then trim your turkey day plate down by cooking in a more healthful way. Most importantly, don’t reach for seconds. Rremember leftovers are always the best part.