Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes Made Healthier

Staff Writer
Fill your plate at Thanksgiving dinner, guilt-free
Your Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes Made Healthier
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Make Thanksgiving stuffing healthier by using whole-wheat bread crumbs or rolled oats and loading it up with fiber-rich apples.

When you’re piling your Thanksgiving plate with turkey legs and rivers of brown gravy, remember that the average American consumes 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner. And that number doesn’t even take into account the olives on toothpicks or cheese cubes you were snacking on before the meal. Factor in your late-night turkey sandwich and some extra slices of pie, and you could easily eat double a day’s recommended calories in a single meal. Yikes.

It’s all right to splurge once in a while, but Thanksgiving officially kicks off the holiday season, and between the big meal on turkey day, a half dozen holiday parties, Christmas cookies, and Champagne toasts, it’s no wonder that between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, most Americans gain between five and ten pounds. But there are lots of little ways to cut back on calories, make Thanksgiving dinner a little bit healthier, and kick off a new year of smart food decisions.

Click here to see the Thanksgiving Favorites Made Healthier (Slideshow)

Many healthy substitutions don’t affect the taste of the food. Protein-packed plain, low-fat Greek yogurt, for example, makes a wonderful substitute for most dairy products. This includes whole milk, sour cream, and even heavy whipping cream in some cases. Plus, most people find that yogurt makes mashed potatoes just as fluffy as butter or whole milk.

Another simple swap? Getting rid of canned ingredients; it can help you cut down on sodium and preservatives. If a recipe calls for a cream-based canned soup, try using broth thickened with three tablespoons of flour and low-fat milk instead. You’ll get a lot of flavor with fewer additives and less sodium.

We’re not suggesting a radical nutrition overhaul (that would ruin the spirit of holiday indulgence) but, rather, a few simple tweaks that can make many of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes healthier.    

Gravy

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We know what you’re thinking: there’s no way to make healthy gravy taste good. But using beef broth, mushrooms, and cornstarch (instead of flour and oil) can transform your turkey drippings into delicious gravy without adding tons of fat and calories.

Mashed Potatoes

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And while you’re diet-proofing your gravy, why not mash your potatoes with low-fat Greek yogurt, salt, pepper, and a little lemon juice instead of butter and whole milk? They’ll be just as creamy without all the guilt.

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