According to the Calorie Control Council, the typical number of calories in a Thanksgiving dinner can reach 4,500 calories – that’s 2-3 times the amount an average person should consume in an entire day. Strategies to prevent your meal from reaching this tremendous calorie level include controlling portion sizes and modifying traditional recipes to include lighter ingredients.
If you’re set on using Mom’s traditional recipes, it’s important to watch portions.
Examples of appropriate portion sizes include:
½ cup Mashed or Sweet Potatoes
3 oz Turkey
1 Dinner Roll
8 oz Milk
½ cup Cooked Vegetables
½ cup Canned Fruit
1 tsp Margarine
Also, remember to wait at least 15 minutes before reaching for seconds – it takes at least this long for your body to register it’s full. If you’re still hungry after the first round, go back for more veggies to avoid overeating.
If you’d like to challenge yourself with making some healthier recipes this Thanksgiving, here are some to try:
Mushroom Fennel Quinoa Stuffing
Servings: 7 - Serving Size: 3/4 cup - Calories: 136 - Fat: 4 g - Carb: 21 g - Fiber: 3 g - Protein: 5 g - Sugar: 1.5 g - Sodium: 113 mg
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed well
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth (or low sodium vegetable broth)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
3/4 cup fennel, diced
1/2 cup celery, diced
1/2 cup carrots, diced
8 oz sliced fresh mushrooms
Cook rinsed quinoa in broth according to package directions.
While the quinoa is cooking, Add olive oil and onion to a large sauté pan. Sauté for one minute.
Add the fennel, celery, and carrots, salt and pepper to taste
Cook about 12-15 minutes over medium heat, until vegetables are soft.
Add the mushrooms to the pan stirring for 5 minutes, then cook covered for 2 minutes, or until the mushrooms have released their juice and are cooked through.
Add the cooked quinoa to the pan and mix well.
**See Linda Crowley’s Blog Post "Make "Better Stuffing" This Thanksgiving" for another Stuffing Recipe to Try!**
Sweet Potato Casserole
Servings: 10 - Serving Size: 1/10th Casserole - Calories: 132 - Fat: 2 g - Protein: 1.5 g- Carb: 29 g - Fiber: 2.7 g - Sugar: 10 g - Sodium: 15 mg
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp agave
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1 cup mini marshmallows
Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks
Boil potatoes in a large pot covered with water until potatoes are soft if pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot.
Preheat oven to 400°.
Mash the sweet potatoes and add in raisins, agave, spices and pineapple.
Lightly spray a pie dish or casserole dish. Spoon in sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans and marshmallows.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Skinny Pumpkin Pie
Servings: 8 - Serving Size: 1/8th pie - Calories: 172 - Fat: 6.4 g Total Carb: 31.4 - Fiber: 1.7 - Protein: 3.5 g - Sugar: 20 g - Sodium: 143 mg
15 oz canned pumpkin
2 tbsp light butter, softened
3/4 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/2 cup fat free milk
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 frozen pie crust sheet, Pillsbury (thawed to room temperature)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Lightly dust a large cutting board or flat surface with flour.
Roll out pie crust thinner than usual (the idea is to save some calories by removing ~1/3 of the crust when placed into the pan)
Place into a 9-inch pie dish, cutting off excess dough.
Place pumpkin in a large bowl.
Add softened light butter, and mix well.
Using an electric mixer, mix in brown sugar, milk, eggs, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
Bake 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.
Serve with whipped topping and enjoy!
**Recipes Adapted from Skinnytaste.com – Check out this site for more recipes to “lighten up” your Thanksgiving.
Finally, staying active this holiday season can also keep your waistline in check. Some ways to incorporate exercise into your holiday are below.
•Instead of spending the day watching football, start your own game of touch football with the family.
•Go on a walk before or after Thanksgiving Dinner
•Have a gourd hunt (similar to an Easter Egg Hunt). The person to find the most gourds around the yard gets their serving of dessert first!
Using some of these tips and tricks can help you prevent weight gain during the holidays. Don't wait until January 1st to commit to being a healthier you!
Wishing everyone a happy and healthy holiday season!