Thanksgiving has a way of tripping up even the most successful of dieters. This holiday marks a time of year in which overeating is “socially-acceptable” and even expected. Fortunately, it’s not as hard as you think to have a healthy Thanksgiving meal. With a little pre-planning and a commitment to moderation, the holidays don’t have to sabotage your weight loss goals.
“If you are committed to sticking with your healthy lifestyle this Thanksgiving holiday, you don’t have to miss out on all your favorites. Whether you are doing TheFittChick plan, counting Weight Watchers points or doing the South Beach thing, here are some healthy tweaks for a guilt-free Thanksgiving.
Green Beans…Nix the green bean casserole and look for a plate of roasted greens instead. Green beans are rich in fiber and low in calories; they may even be the best way to kick off your meal, filling you up before you have a chance to overindulge with the crowd. Skip the butter to turn this into a truly healthy side. (The typical green bean casserole has 350 calories for 2 large spoonfuls)
Mashed Potatoes…This dish is loaded with cream and butter for the most part. Try substituting the cream with any type of low fat milk or buttermilk. You’ll be surprised how little you miss that added fat, and how many hundreds of calories you can save. My favorite alternative is TheFittChick Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower. (2 large spoonfuls of mashed potatoes clocks in at 237 calories.)
Turkey without Gravy…It is easy to stick with your healthy intentions if you like turkey. White meat turkey sans the gravy is a great source of protein and will fill you up faster than loading up on soufflés and crescent rolls. Gravy usually relies on starch like flour to thicken it. Try using a stock for gravy, letting it simmer over medium heat until it is reduced and a little thicker. Using your diet-friendly gravy and taking off the fatty skin of the turkey will leave you a lean and diet-friendly entrée. (A 3.5 oz serving of turkey with gravy has about 332 calories.)
Sweet Potatoes…If the host of the Thanksgiving meal has cooked up a simple side of boiled sweet potatoes, you’re in luck. Sweet potatoes with the skin contain high levels of antioxidants, potassium and fiber. They’re also fairly filling, which means you can stop an overeating session in its tracks. Just skip the extra seasonings – and hold the butter – to make the most of this healthy side. (A sweet potato casserole has 285 calories for 1 cup)
Cranberry Sauce…It’s an easy way to dress up your turkey and give your Thanksgiving plate some balance with its sweet and tart taste. Cranberry sauce and fresh cranberries are also rich in antioxidants and fiber, and can help you enhance the flavors of other dishes on your plate. Yes, they are usually made with sugar, but if the rest of your choices are diet friendly, this sweet treat may help you skip the candied yams and monkey bread. (Cranberry sauce has 110 calories per 1/2 cup.)
Pumpkin Pie…The actual pumpkin filling in a pumpkin pie is relatively low in calories and fat – it’s the crust that does a number on your diet. When you want to keep dessert healthy, just remove the crust and enjoy the rich and creamy pumpkin pie filling for an after dinner treat. Pumpkin is a valuable source of Vitamin A, and enjoying A FEW BITES of the filling will keep your diet in check. (Pumpkin pie filling has 70 calories per ½ cup VS. 323 calories per slice.)
Think of Thursday like any normal day. Don’t stress out too much about this one meal. Treat it like any other normal day by eating a good breakfast followed by your typical lunch and snacks. Try getting in some exercise and being ready to eat in moderation when dinner time rolls around. Holidays are a great chance to catch up with loved ones and use their company as an outlet to avoid overeating. People who eat slower eat less. Take your time and savor this once-a-year meal and you may just realize you’re fuller sooner than you expected! The average American may consume 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat during a typical Thanksgiving feast. You can easily trim the calories with these simple and tasty alternatives. Follow TheFittChick tips this year and you will be sure to have a wonderful holiday without packing on the pounds!
Eat Yourself Skinny!