As we all know, Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which means lots of turkey and other festive favorites! You may be feeling overwhelmed by the prospects of high-fat foods in your future, but with a few ideas for making your Thanksgiving fare lighter, you might not feel so unprepared for the holidays after all.
Give cooking from scratch a try. Some homemade recipes may actually be lower in calories and fat, especially if you pay close attention to the ingredients you're putting in them.
Here are 9 no-stress tips from a Franciscan Health registered dietitian on how to whittle down those calories without skimping on taste this Thanksgiving season.
- Baste your turkey with white wine or low-sodium broth instead of butter to save on fat calories.
- What's Thanksgiving dinner without gravy? You can still enjoy gravy on your turkey or potatoes with one simple step. Before you add your pan juices to your gravy, skim the fat, and you’ll cut calories without flavor.
- Swap low-sodium chicken broth for most of the butter in your stuffing. Saves at least 50 calories per serving and cuts the fat in half.
- Sneak more vegetables in your stuffing. Onions, carrots, mushrooms and celery are all tasty additions.
- Instead of traditional green bean casserole, give steamed green beans a chance. Toss them with a little olive oil and/or lemon if you desire.
- If you want to make Mom's casserole, use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. For each can of condensed soup, you'll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with reduced-fat version.
- Instead of high-fat croissants or biscuits, choose mini whole-grain rolls from your local bakery to increase your fiber intake.
- Want pie for dessert? You likely won't miss the top crust. Aim for fruit-based pies such as apple or pumpkin. A typical slice of pie can pack in as many as 400 calories, so portion size and moderation are key!
- If making candied sweet potatoes, cut the sugar in half, use a low-calorie sweetener instead or reduce the quantity of marshmallows used.
Most of all, don't beat yourself up or go overboard on restrictions – enjoy the day and eat mindfully. You can do it!
Smart Swapping: Recipe Substitutions
|Instead of…||Use this…|
|Whole milk or 2% milk||Skim or 1% milk|
|Condensed milk||Reduced-fat condensed milk|
|Cream||Equal parts half-and-half and fat-free evaporated milk|
|Butter||Olive/canola oil, applesauce|
|Eggs||2 egg whites per egg or ¼ cup egg substitute per 1 egg|
|Sugar or Brown sugar||Splenda baking blend or cut amount of sugar down in recipe|
|Chocolate chips||Dried fruit|
|White flour||100% whole-wheat flour or oats|
|Sour cream or mayo||Light sour cream, light mayo|
|Pie crust||Graham cracker crust|
|Nuts||Halve the amount in the recipe|
By Franciscan WELLCARE Staff