A healthier Thanksgiving feast

By • Published: November 21st, 2011
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. You know what that means: family time, football, the parade … and the beginning of a season of holiday weight gain.

But enjoying your holiday favorites doesn’t have to mean you pile on the pounds. There are many ways to put a lighter spin on traditional Thanksgiving dishes. Take a look at your family’s favorite recipes and see where you can substitute healthier ingredients for those that are diet busters. You’ll trim calories, cholesterol and fat for all your guests. Here are a few excellent suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:

Reduce the amount of butter or oil in a recipe by replacing half of it with applesauce or prune puree. Or pick up a butter substitute at the grocery store that’s free of trans fats. If a recipe calls for shortening or butter to prevent sticking, reach for low-fat cooking spray or a nonstick pan instead.

Fat-free half-and-half or evaporated skim milk works well in place of cream, which is high in fat and calories.

Another tip? Increase the nutritional value of breads, pasta and desserts by using half whole-wheat flour and half white flour, or buying pre-made whole-wheat versions of these products. And think brown or wild rice instead of white.

Don’t fatten up your fruit. When buying it canned, opt for fruit packed in its own juice or in water, not sugary syrups.

If you’re not in the kitchen this Thanksgiving, look for ways to cut calories at the table. After the turkey’s carved, select white meat pieces instead of dark ones, and skip the skin, which is chock-full of calories. Substitute water for one of your glasses of wine or soda. Most importantly, pay attention to your tummy and stop eating when you’re full.

Then maybe you’ll actually stay awake for the football games. And your waistline will thank you for it later.