Millions of Americans, health professionals among them, are sitting down to all the Thanksgiving classics. The good news is a big juicy bird, pie, mountains of mash potatoes and Grandma’s casseroles don’t have to be fattening. Here are a few lean cooking and preparation tips that can **significantly reduce calories and fat from your Thanksgiving meal.
- Healthy Dining Tip #1: For leaner turkey, try this: Baste your bird with low-sodium chicken broth or white wine instead of butter. You can also let the turkey rest for 30 minutes before carving, so it retains its natural yummy juices, making gravy unnecessary. Remember, turkey breast without the skin cuts 3 grams of fat per serving, saving up to **20 calories per 3 oz. slice. But don’t be too quick to turn down dark meat; while more caloric than white meat and higher in fat, it’s also much richer in iron, containing about 15% of your daily recommended intake.
- Healthy Dining Tip #2: For leaner stuffing, try this: Dust off your favorite stuffing recipe and substitute white wine or low-sodium chicken broth for the butter; doing this saves at least **50 calories per serving, and cuts the fat in half! You can also bake stuffing in muffin tins for instant portion control.
- Healthy Dining Tip #3: For the bread basket, do this: Everyone fills up faster when they go high fiber; accomplish this at Thanksgiving by filling the bread basket with whole-wheat or multigrain breads.
- Healthy Dining Tip #4: For healthier casseroles: If you’re going to use canned soups in your casserole dishes, choose reduced fat versions of cream of mushroom, cream of celery, etc. Per can of condensed soup, you'll save **120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with the reduced-fat version. Choose low-sodium, and you'll cut nearly **1,000 milligrams of sodium from the traditional green bean casserole recipe.
- Healthy Dining Tip #5: For a healthier version of mashed potatoes: Classic mashed potatoes have around 220 calories and 8 grams of fat per 1-cup serving. There are certainly ways to teak and curve those numbers using skim milk; however, if you want to skip the dairy altogether and get more vitamins into your diet, try this savory “Spicy Sweet Potato Smash” from Healthy Careers.
- Healthy Dining Tip #6: For super healthy cranberry sauce, do this: When served from a can, cranberries can be full of sugar, corn syrup and other sweeteners, putting a quarter cup of the stuff around 110 calories. Try this homemade “guiltless cranberry sauce” instead; offered by Healthy Careers, it has more nutritional value than canned, less sugar, and is just 20 calories per ¼ cup.
- Healthy Dining Tip #7: For a less caloric pie than the rest, choose pumpkin: It makes a nice finish to a Thanksgiving meal. When cut into 8 slices, one slice of traditional apple pie (with a lattice crust on top) contains 400 calories and 21 grams of fat. Pumpkin pie has 13 fat grams per slice, but fewer calories; just 240.
Happy Thanksgiving from Healthy Careers!
Healthy Careers wishes the registered nurses working nationwide a wonderful holiday—may the choices you make perpetuate a healthy lifestyle for you now, and into the New Year!
**Tips for this Healthy Careers post were gleaned from Sparkpeople.com’s article: 21 Ways to Slim Down Your Thanksgiving Feast