You can have a magnificent Thanksgiving feast, without piling up the calories. If you’re watching your waistline this holiday season, use smart substitutions to keep your diet on track while enjoying your meals. Turkey day offers ample opportunity to make food choices you won’t regret.
Swap: Mashed Potatoes for Mashed Cauliflower
If you haven’t tried them, you’ll probably be very surprised. Mashed cauliflower is very similar to potatoes and totally delicious. The simple ingredients are just cauliflower, garlic, leeks, margarine, and the seasoning of your choice. It knocks the calories down to just 67 per serving, leaving plenty of leeway for toppings of your choosing. If you don’t think you can give up the real thing, try swapping out the real butter and sour cream for light sour cream, margarine, or olive oil.
Swap: Green Bean Casserole for Roasted Green Beans
Almost everyone loves that traditional casserole topped with french fried onions. None of us can deny how unhealthy it is, though. Coming in at 161 calories per serving and 530 mg of sodium, it can really put a dent in your diet. But you can make a quick, delicious alternative by simply roasting green beans in the oven with some olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. Prepared this way, a serving of green beans is only 37 calories and 196 mg of sodium per serving.
Swap: Deep Fried Turkey for Traditional Baked Turkey
Whether frying your bird is a recent method for you or a long time family tradition, consider putting it in the oven this year. A 3.5 ounce serving of baked turkey breast contains 165 calories and 7 grams of fat. The same size portion of fried turkey breast contains 190 calories and 11 grams of fat. Most people will opt for double that portion or more though, multiplying the difference in calories and fat. If you want to trim even more calories, opt for a skinless turkey.
Swap: Buttery Pumpkin Pie Crust for Graham Cracker and Flax Crust
Rather than using a premade pie crust, you can make this low calorie, nutrient dense version that tastes wonderful. Combine wheat germ, ground flaxseed and crumbled graham cracker to make your healthy crust with just 141 calories. You also get a boost of Vitamin E and Omega 3s from the wheat germ and flaxseed. You can use this recipe to create single serving pumpkin pies in a muffin tin.
Swap: Wine for Wine Spritzers
If you enjoy alcoholic beverages with Thanksgiving dinner, avoiding them can save you hundreds of calories. Wine drinkers can replace a few ounces of wine with club soda, saving about 60 calories. The result is a lighter, fizzy drink with the wine flavor you love. Sipping drinks made with fruit juice? Grab light versions of the juice. You can even buy light agave nectar and other reduced-calorie sweeteners for diet friendly holiday cocktails.
Sometimes the thought of switching your favorite, traditional dishes with “diet food” is just so unappealing you’d rather derail your diet. If you make smart choices that don’t feel too much like compromises, you can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and still slip into that cute New Years outfit.