Thanksgiving is a time that we gather with friends and family to celebrate all that we’re thankful for. While many of us are thankful for good health, we don’t often take our health into consideration when filling up on all of our Thanksgiving favorites. Here are some tips about how to put together a Thanksgiving dinner that you can feel a little better about feasting upon.
This year, instead of breaking out the eggnog (170 calories per serving) try delighting your guests with some hot apple cider (80 calories per serving). At less than half the calories, hot apple cider is a delicious beverage that is just as festive as its heavier rival. For those who like to imbibe, the lower calories in hot apple cider make it a perfect mixer for spiced rum.
One of the simplest appetizers to provide for your guests is chips and dip. Instead of the ranch or mayonnaise based dips (average of 80 calories per serving) that are prevalent in the potato chip aisle, try making your own dip with a Greek yogurt base (average of 60 calories per serving). Homemade hummus is also a healthy, delicious, and vegan-friendly dip. It’s also important to choose the right chip. This year, try foregoing potato chips (150+ calories per serving) for a vegetable chip (120 calories per serving), or slice raw veggies for a crudité platter.
First and foremost, we’re not going to tell you to skip the turkey, but stick to cooking it in the oven—not a deep fryer. If you’re trying to eat healthy for Thanksgiving, it’s a good idea to forego the dark meat (200 calories per serving) for the white meat without skin (100 calories per serving).
Now we’re to the real meat and potatoes of Thanksgiving calories (well, the potatoes at least). Rather than preparing candied yams (250 calories per serving), try roasting sweet potatoes (100 calories) instead. Sweet potatoes have many vitamins and nutrients in them, so they make an excellent side dish for Thanksgiving. Instead of making a green bean casserole (150 calories per serving), try pan searing your green beans (75 calories per serving). Finally, you can cut the calorie count in half by skipping the canned, jellied cranberry sauce and making your own with fresh cranberries and a sugar substitute.
Two Thanksgiving mainstays on the dessert table are pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Pumpkin pie has a whopping 300 calories per serving, but that’s nothing compared to the 500 calories per serving that pecan pie delivers. This means that you don’t even need to skip the dollop of whipped cream (additional 15 calories) on your pumpkin pie to be choosing the healthier alternative. Just make sure to exercise portion control.
By following these simple suggestions, you can consume nearly 1000 less calories. Thanksgiving is all about tradition, but there are plenty of ways to lighten up your family’s favorites. Look online or in cooking magazines for more recipes that are low in calories, but big in flavor.
Access Physical Therapy & Wellness wants to wish all of our patients a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.