Let’s be honest. We all know we can overindulge during the holidays. Around Thanksgiving, especially, we’re so enticed by the variety of dishes and their endless quantities that we often forget what we’re really focusing on, our loved ones. In the spirit of the health and wellness of you and your family, we’re sharing with you a few ways you can cut unnecessary calories from your Thanksgiving menu, without cutting the flavor or fun!
Cutting Calories from Turkey & Meat Recipes
Your turkey doesn’t need a coating in a full tub of butter to be moist, nor does it require brining days in advance for flavor. The traditional turkey recipe packs in about 400 calories per serving.
If you swap out the brining process for a bit of white miso paste, and use a rub made mostly of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, you’re looking to save about half the calories, but still maintain that savory depth of flavor.
The Web is full of tons of great recipes, try searching for thanksgiving turkey recipes with miso for some good ideas to start.
Cutting Calories from Mashed Potatoes & Side Recipes
In preparation for our healthy holiday eating web chat, we shared with you a post on modifying your mashed potato recipe with cauliflower. (Check out the post & recipe for more). If you don’t like the idea of mashed cauliflower, we have a few more options for you:
- use your normal mashed potato recipe, but swap half the potatoes for cauliflower. With this method, you’ll keep that potato taste, but lighten up the recipe from both a texture and calorie standpoint.
- cut extra fat by cutting half the butter. If you swap out at least half the butter of your normal recipe and swap it instead for low-fat sour cream, plain yogurt, or a combination of the two, you’ll eliminate extra fat and calories but keep that creamy texture you love!
Other Thanksgiving meal sides have room for substitution as well. Try incorporating long grain rice, nuts, and dried fruit into your stuffing recipe in exchange for some of its bread base. This is a great way to make the texture and flavor of your stuffing more interesting.
Cutting Calories from Pumpkin Pie & Dessert Recipes
Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving favorite, and rightfully so. It’s a great seasonal recipe and a go-to Thanksgiving comfort food. What’s not so comforting, however, is the amount of bad fat in most pie crusts. Whether you’re using a store bought crust or a “standard” recipe, you can cut calories with just a few modifications to your pie crust.
There are lots of pie crust recipes online (like this one) that you can use, but try searching for crusts that replace the butter with low fat plain or vanilla yogurt instead of butter. You can also try adding some extra cinnamon to the mix for added flavor.
Our best advice when it comes to Thanksgiving and your beverage selection? Unless it’s millk, don’t drink your calories. Eggnog and other similar heavy seasonal drinks add hundreds of calories to your menu. If you want room for dessert, skip the fancy drinks.
Chat with Us!
Join Registered Dietitian from the Emory Bariatric Center, Meagan Mohammadione, on Thursday, November 10th, for an online chat about healthy holiday eating. She’ll be sharing lots of substitution ideas, recipe tips and ideas to help you enjoy your holiday favorites without all the guilt. You can ask Meagan as many or as few questions as you’d like and participation in the chat is completely free!