What Thanksgiving Dinner Does to Your Health, Along with Thanksgiving dinner comes our ability to consume inhuman amounts of food at a single meal. While gluttony is certainly in season, you can make the meal a little healthier with a few tweaks to the menu. Here are a few tips to help keep your Turkey Day consumption in check. Thanksgiving dinner consumption + 5,000 calories, Healthy alternatives to Thanksgiving dinner,

Turkey The star attraction of the day is actually one of the healthier items on your plate, so don’t be shy about taking an extra helping. If you stick with white meat without the skin, a serving only has about 150 calories and less than a gram of fat. As for all the T-Day talk about tryptophan, don’t fall for it.

“It’s the sheer quantity of food that people eat on Thanksgiving that puts them in that sleepy food coma, not the little bit of tryptophan you’re getting in the turkey,” notes Tara Gidus, RD, a nutritionist in Orlando. low calorie turkey baste, tryptophan turkey not enough to make you sleepy, turkey + white meat vs.dark meat,Portion size for roast turkey + 3.5 oz. + deck of cards,
Gravy The good news is that this turkey, mashed potato and stuffing accompaniment isn’t all that bad for you. While it can be a bit greasy, it’s mostly just juices from the bird plus a little flour or cornstarch for thickening. It will, however, be pretty high in sodium, so don’t add any extra salt (and if you’re watching your sodium intake, you might have to skimp on gravy). tips for making healthy turkey gravy, How to separate fat from turkey drippings, Turkey gravy + serving size + quarter cup,
Mashed potatoes Although the white variety sometimes gets a bad rap, potatoes aren’t really the problem here. With mashed potatoes, the unhealthy culprits are all the high-fat, high-calorie stuff you add to the basic spuds. Mix in a stick of butter, whole milk (or even heavy cream in some recipes!), and you’ve got a side dish that can deliver in the neighborhood of 10 grams of fat per serving-spoon-full. Reducing calories in mashed potatoes, white potatoes + health benefits, Yukon gold + best potatoes for mashed potatoes,
Sweet potato casserole While it’s hard to quantify the total damage without seeing your secret family recipe for this Thanksgiving concoction, it’s pretty safe to assume that this dish is packing quite a whollop. The sweet potatoes themselves are innocent participants but once they meet up with a couple of cups of brown sugar, some butter, and a bag of mini marshmallows, those potatoes are now super high in calories, fat and sugar. low-fat topping options for sweet potato casserole, Yam + rarely found in U.S. + called sweet potato, health benefits of sweet potatoes,
Stuffing Again, the real issue here isn’t the basic ingredient (in this case, bread) but what else you add to it “In order to make it moist, people add things that are high in fat—like oil or butter,” says Gidus. Add that’s before they toss in the other really high-fat extras like sausage. The better approach is to skip the high-cal, high-fat add-ins and opt for ones that are lower in both fat and calories, provide a little extra nutrition, and spread out the bread a bit so that the overall dish is lower in calories. Vegetables + stuffing, rice alternative to stuffing, Stuffing vs. dressing + inside or alongside the bird,
Dinner rolls With all the yummy stuff on the table, you need to include this filler of a dish on your menu? Really? But if it’s tradition to have a basket of rolls on your Thanksgiving table—and you can’t mess with tradition on this sacred holiday—then at least look for a better option than crescents that are packed with extra butter. Muffins + whole wheat + reduced carbs + dinner rolls, dinner rolls for thanksgiving, dinner rolls for thanksgiving
Cranberry relish With just 50 calories and zero fat (other health benefits) per serving, this zesty side dish is a relatively safe way to indulge your sweet tooth. But beware that you really are feeding your sweet tooth — all the added sugars can total about 13 grams per serving. “Cranberries are incredibly tart, so you don’t have much choice but to add a bunch of sugar to them,” says Gidus. Her advice: Use it as a compliment to add some refreshing sweetness to your plate of savories, but don’t overindulge. cranberry relish spices + allspice, cloves, fresh cranberries + more nutrients and higher fiber than canned,
Green bean casserole It’s great that there is some small amount of green veggies showing up at your Thanksgiving feast, but if you drown those poor little green beans in a fat-laden sauce (made with cream of mushroom soup and sour cream), top them with fried onions and then bake the life out of them, you’re kind of missing the point. “Having a green vegetable adds important antioxidants to your meal and they can be a low-calorie addition to an otherwise highly caloric occasion,” says Gidus. Healthy green bean casserole, Benefits of green vegetables,
Pumpkin Pie No self-respecting Thanksgiving celebration could possibly end without the requisite slice (or two or three) of pumpkin pie. But know that that indulgence is adding at least another 300 calories and 14 grams of fat per slice to an already over-the-top meal. Pumpkin on its own is actually really good for you but once you blend in enough sugar to make it a sweet treat and stuff it into a crust made with butter (or worse yet, shortening), all that goodness is pretty much cancelled out. lowering fat content in pumpkin pie

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