With everything from snacking, drinking, and the big Thanksgiving dinner, the average American consumes more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to research from the Calorie Control Council. To spare you from guessing calorie amounts or even worse, listening to what your cravings say, we broke it down into appetizers, alcoholic beverages, dinner, and dessert. Learn how to spend your calories wisely so that you can enjoy Thanksgiving the healthy way.
Starting the night off with appetizers can be good and bad depending on what you choose. If you have been slaving away in the kitchen all day and have skipped lunch, a healthy appetizer, such as vegetable dippers and hummus could be the perfect thing to satisfy you and prevent you from overeating at dinner. Aim for one-fourth of a cup of hummus with unlimited vegetables.
If you plan on drinking alcohol, do not forget to drink one glass of water equal to every serving of alcohol you have. To hydrate while you drink, try making a wine spritzer. Combine half a glass of wine with half a glass of sparkling water and you will reach about 60 calories per spritzer. That way, you won’t feel as guilty going in for a second or third.
“Making cranberry sauce homemade will allow you to control the ingredients, specifically avoiding any added sugar,” said Amanda Foti, registered dietitian of Selvera Wellness. “One-fourth of a cup contains 40 calories, 18 grams carbohydrates, three grams fiber, zero grams fat, and zero grams protein.”
“Any fibrous vegetable served fresh, steamed, sautéed, or baked without any added sauces you can add to your plate,” Foti said. “One cup or serving of green beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower, spinach, or side salad contains on average 40 calories, two grams protein, zero grams fat, five grams carbohydrates, and three grams fiber.”
“Any dish that has a combination of adequate protein, healthy fats, and high fiber from nutrient-rich vegetables is a recipe for keeping you satisfied and less likely to grab unhealthy alternatives,” said Colette Heimowitz, Atkins’ VP of nutrition and education and resident nutritionist. “Feeling full longer is a recipe for success. For protein, options like turkey, ham, chicken, fish, or deviled eggs as an appetizer. For healthy fats, go with some kind of avocado dip and dip vegetables like peppers, cucumbers, celery, and broccoli. Or, use an olive oil-based dressing on your salad. For fiber, choose the most colorful veggies, like leafy greens, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, and squash.”