By Marian Siljeholm
With the average Thanksgiving dinner containing over 2000 calories, this festive holiday poses an annual challenge to Americans watching their waistlines.
What few know is that Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a diet-buster. By following some easy guidelines and altering a few ingredients, this meal can be both delicious and nutritious.
Healthy eating begins with breakfast, which should not be skipped. Eating light meals beforehand will prevent gorging on high-calorie foods when dinner is finally served.
Stay hydrated. On holidays this is especially important as thirst can often be confused for hunger.
As far Steamed vegetables are high in fiber and low in calories; however, be aware of butter or oil, which can add hundreds of calories.
As far as dinner, not all main courses are stuffed with fat, Turkey is a good protein source, but opt for white meat over dark, do without the heavy gravy, and try to avoid the skin, which has the highest fat concentration of any part of the meat.
Despite potatoes’ bad reputation, these vegetables, filled with vitamin C and fiber, can be a healthy and filling as long as they are served un-mashed and without high fat toppings such as butter or sour cream.
Cranberry sauce can also be healthy, as long as it’s not the store-bought, canned type usually served, in which the added sugars amount to 418 calories per cup.
As a final staple of the Thanksgiving meal, instead of traditional bread based stuffing, try a seasoning or lighter vinegar dressing to reduce carbohydrates.
When it comes to side dishes, portion control is everything as well as avoiding fried and creamy dishes.
Finally, to cut calories at dessert, use variations on traditional treats. Instead of pumpkin pie, make individual pumpkin custard cups and apple crisp instead of apple pie as this will eliminate the high-fat crust.