There’s no shortage of extra calories at the Thanksgiving table. While we’d never tell you not to indulge, these effortless options can shave more than 500 calories off your holiday meal.
Option 1: Meaty Stuffing
Pitfall: Big portions of high-fat meats
Healthier Holiday Meal: Each ounce of bacon or sausage has 100 calories – slim down the portions while you’re cooking and you can save everyone at the table 100 calories per serving.
Option 2: Turkey Skin
Pitfall: Endless picking
Healthier Holiday Meal: There are nearly 125 calories and 11 grams of fat in each one of those large pieces of skin you pick off the bird before dinner If you must have some skin, stick to the small amount that comes on your slice of turkey.
Option 3: Butter and Cream-Drenched Mashed Potatoes
Pitfall: Creamy calories
Healthier Holiday Meal: You’ll find 100 calories in each tablespoon of butter and another 50 in the same amount of heavy cream. Use less of these high fat add-ins and try creamy potatoes like Yukon Gold or russet to add natural creaminess instead.
Option 4: Greasy Green Beans
Pitfall: Fried topping
Healthier Holiday Meal: Green bean casserole wouldn’t live up to the hype if it wasn’t for the crispy French fried onions, but each quarter cup will set you back 100 calories (and most recipes call for 5 times that amount!). Slim down portions to a light sprinkle and try our other lightened up options.
Option 5: Pies, Cakes and Other Turkey Day Desserts
Pitfall: Endless dessert table
Healthier Holiday Meal: While you’ve probably met your calorie quota by the end of dinner, it would be nearly impossible to ignore dessert all together. Split a piece of pie with Uncle Jim or simply pass on the whipped cream or the pie a la mode. Poof – another 100 calories saved from your daily total!
Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition. See Dana’s full bio »