Can you believe, the average American eats an astounding 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat during a traditional Thanksgiving meal? That’s more than two times the calories and three times the amount of fat an adult should eat in one day. And that is just one meal – not to mention all the leftovers. And we haven’t begun to calculate the extra calories and fat grams that are surely hiding in the rest of your favorite holiday foods and beverages.
If that is a bit too much for you to swallow, consider a few subtle changes to your menu that can make a difference in reducing calories and fat and help you avoid the typical holiday “weight gain.” Below are a few simple tips to help you prepare more healthful foods for Thanksgiving.
- Turkey: Select skinless roasted turkey breast and save 11 grams of saturated fat per three ounce serving compared to other parts of the turkey.
- Stuffing: The trick is to go heavy on vegetables such as onions, garlic, celery, mushrooms, yellow squash, etc. and light on the bread, meat, and added fat. Also consider adding a bit of sweet to the savory by mixing in fruit such as cranberries, apples, or apricots.
- Gravy: Pan drippings are loaded with fat. Make sure to refrigerate the pan drippings to solidify and remove the fat before making the gravy. That will save about 56 grams of fat per cup of gravy.
- Vegetables: Serve a colorful assortment of lightly seasoned roasted vegetables. Consider broccoli, carrots, Brussel sprouts, butternut and yellow squash, leafy greens, rutabagas, turnips, parsnips and sweet potatoes. For your green bean and sweet potato casserole diehards prepare a healthier version this year. Check the Internet for a lower calorie version.
- Mashed Potatoes: Use fat-free milk or low-sodium chicken broth instead of whole milk and butter.
Check out USDA MyPlate Holiday Makeover for other healthy holiday eating tips.