Time to Lighten Up on Thanksgiving

Posted 11/23/2016 | By HealthCorps

If you read Tuesday’s blog then you are hopefully armed with ways to manage the next several weeks of holiday celebrations.  Here’s a list of ways you can “lighten the load” on Thanksgiving:

  • Make sure everyone has agreed to take a post-feast walk before you eat dessert.
  • If you are going to someone else’s house for the Thanksgiving meal, offer to bring a salad, vegetable dish or fruit salad. This way you know there will be one lower calorie dish.
  • Test-run some recipes using less oil, butter, cheese and sugar. Many recipes can bear limiting these ingredients without dramatically changing flavor.
  • Have a vegetable-based soup or a light appetizer, instead of both, before the main course.
  • Use hummus and bean dips or opt for light mayo and Greek yogurt as a base for dips.
  • Slim down your favorite egg nog recipe with evaporated skim milk instead of cream. Dilute store bought egg nog with skim or soy milk or find newer lower calorie/low fat versions.
  • Make hot chocolate with skim milk.
  • Add diced apples to tart cranberry sauce to cut down on the sugar.
  • Use low fat buttermilk and sautéed garlic plus herbs to jazz up the mashed potatoes, while lowering calories and fat
  • Don’t skip breakfast or lunch, but eat two smaller meals like a breakfast yogurt with a hardboiled egg and then a salad and protein (add beans) for lunch. Save the carbohydrates for the Thanksgiving meal.
  • Serve a salad and fruit salad family-style on the main table, but serve the rest of the main dishes and side dishes, buffet style. That way people will think twice before getting up to take seconds.
  • Use smaller serving spoons and smaller dinner plates.
  • Use swap outs like fat free sour cream or Greek yogurt instead of heavy cream in soups and other creamy dishes.
  • Steam your veggies and top with a drizzle of olive oil, fresh herbs and slivered almonds.
  • Consider making a citrus-stuffed turkey with orange, lemon and lime halves.
  • Bake with pureed fruit to limit oils and fats in your baked goods.
  • Lose the dinner rolls if you are serving potatoes and stuffing.
  • Silken tofu can also replace cream in some recipes and add a nice dose of protein.
  • Use whole grain rice or ancient grains for some of your side dishes to bump up the fiber.
  • Refrigerate the gravy so you can skim off the fat before reheating and serving with the meal.
  • Following the ChooseMyPlate Fill half your dinner plate with fruit and vegetables, one quarter of the plate with a protein and one quarter of the plate with whole grains (or select some holiday side dishes).  You can also use a small salad plate for measured portions of treats, and savor them slowly during the meal.
  • Resume your diet or normal pattern of eating the next day and make sure to exercise. Don’t compensate by eating less, which can set you up for a possible binge on leftovers days later.

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