Thanksgiving is all about food, making it one of the most difficult holidays when it comes to eating healthy. While it is calorie-packed, it does only come once a year. Life is all about balance. It may not be necessary to forgo all of your favorites just to trim a few calories off your bottom line.
Here are some basic tips for eating healthier on Thanksgiving:
• Put less on your plate. Instead of missing out on something you love, simply take less of everything.
• Drink lots of water. Choosing water over alcoholic beverages is a great way to shave some calories.
• Stay away from fried foods.
• Skip the bread basket. Why fill up on bread when you can have sweet potato pie?
Thanksgiving specific calorie cutters:
• White meat has fewer calories than dark meat (approximately 30 calories less) but it does have more vitamins and minerals. Skip the skin (1 oz is 80 calories!) instead.
• The fattest meat is ham, with a whopping 25% RDA of saturated fat in one serving.
• Gravy is good but at 20 calories per ounce, don't go overboard.
• Vegetables are a safe bet, especially if they are steamed without sauces.
• Coleslaw can be a great option when it's made with vinegar rather than mayonnaise.
• Cranberries are great for you; however, the canned kind is full of sugar, if possible, opt for fresh ones.
• Choose cornbread over biscuits and skip the butter (one pat of butter is 30 calories).
Some of my favorite Thanksgiving foods are the sides; unfortunately, these are also some of the most dangerous dishes. Here are some sneaky sides to watch out for:
• Au gratin potatoes are so tasty but any time you add cream to a dish, the calories and fat start rising.
• Macaroni and cheese is another one to watch for: cheese, butter and cream are a dangerous trifecta.
• Baked Beans are good for you, chock full of fiber and iron. However, when this dish is made with molasses, honey and brown sugar, it moves to the fatty list.
• Spinach is an awesome veggie… until you layer on the cream.
• Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving favorite but it's not the best thing for you. You can slim it down a little bit by leaving off the fried onion topping but… they kind of make the casserole.
Pumpkin pie or apple pie?
Pumpkin pie usually has around 14 grams of fat per slice and is around 315 calories. The same size slice of apple pie is typically 19 grams of fat and 411 calories.
When it comes to toppings, whipped cream has fewer calories and less fat than vanilla ice cream.
Have a happy & healthy Thanksgiving!