The holiday season is amongst us and we are about 9 days away from stuffing our faces with turkey!
As a dietitian, I can’t help but look at a meal- any meal- and think of ways it could be healthier. That is not to say that you shouldn’t indulge in all of your favorite foods and desserts at Thanksgiving… it is just 1 meal, after all. But if you can add some more nutritional value to your food without sacrificing taste then why not?
Here are some of my favorite tips for cutting some calories and fat from the best meal of the year!!
Turkey: Skip the skin and stick with light meat. Dark meat and skin are both higher in calories and saturated fat. I like to reserve those two for more important foods… like dessert
Cranberry Sauce: Many canned cranberry sauces are made with high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients that I can’t even pronounce. In the spirit of eating “real food”, try your hand at making cranberry sauce from scratch. A quick google search found lots of popular slow cooker cranberry sauce recipes that aren’t too involved (such as this one).
Gravy: Prepare your gravy in advance and refrigerate it. The fat will solidify at the top and you can scrape it off.
Mashed Potatoes: Make em’ dirty. And by that, I mean leave the skin on. This will double the fiber content and you’ll get more nutrients. You can read more about all of that here. Lastly, boiling potatoes removes some of the vitamins. An easy way to cook them and avoid this is to toss them in your crock pot. The skin will get nice and soft… perfect for mashing!
Stuffing: So I really love stuffing in all of its carb-filled glory. Seriously, I could eat an entire plate of stuffing swimming in gravy. The good news is that there are lots of simple ways to increase the nutrient-density of this dish without sacrificing taste. The first is to use whole grain bread instead of white bread, which will increase the fiber and nutrients. The second way is to add some vegetables to your stuffing, such as carrots, onions and celery. Doing so will increase nutrients and decrease carbs and calories per serving. And on a more serious note, if anyone at your table has diabetes than I wouldn’t go with a fruit-filled stuffing (many recipes out there call for cranberries and apples). I’m sure there will be plenty of other carbohydrates on your table to make up for this
Don’t forget about exercise! Completing a Turkey Trot with your friends or family is the perfect way to start out your Thanksgiving.
I hope you find some of these tips useful! Have a great day!