But Thanksgiving is more than eating, Chuck. You heard what Linus was saying out there. Those early Pilgrims were thankful for what had happened to them, and we should be thankful, too. We should just be thankful for being together. I think that's what they mean by 'Thanksgiving,' Charlie Brown.--Marcie
Here are healthy tips from Richard S. Cohen, a dietitian and educator at Kettering Health Network’s Kettering Weight Loss Solutions:
1. Eat Breakfast: (my favorite tip): Include high fiber food items, low fat dairy and some fruit for a sweet treat. Also take a 30 minute walk in the morning. The key here is: don’t show up to Turkey dinner HUNGRY!
2. Turkey Tips: If you are cooking the turkey, start off with an unbasted turkey instead of prebasted kind. The prebasted usually means it contains added salt and oils. When cooking, make slits in the skin and stuff some fresh herbs under the skin like rosemary, sage and thyme. Use an oven bag to help seal in moisture! Also note the cooking time in the instruction. Skinless, white meat turkey is lower in fat and calories (~35 kcals/ounce) than dark meat (~50 kcals/ounce). Skip or peel off the sin as it is mostly fat and more than double the calories of the dark meat!
3. Fix Fatty Gravy: Regularly prepared gravy can contain up to 800 calories per cup. To lower the calories, put the pan juices into a fat separator cup, and pour off the fat. If you don’t have a separator cup, pour the juices into a bowl, place in the freezer or add a few ice cubes. The cold allows the fat to rise to the top and harden, where it can easily be skimmed off. There are also several good tasting choices of nonfat or low fat gravies that can be purchased in the grocery store.
4. Shake up the Stuffing: Cook the stuffing outside of the turkey. Use a fat free broth instead of fat to moisten your stuffing. Also to add some nutritional benefits – try whole grain bread instead of white. Also instead of using salt for flavor – add lots of celery, onions, peppers, etc. as well as herbs/spices. Maybe mix it up with some fruit like apples and raisins!?
5. Trim the Fat: Decrease or remove the fat from the side dishes and casseroles. Prepare your mashed potatoes with fat free chicken broth or skim milk. Use nonfat yogurt or nonfat sour cream to add a rich flavor. If you are making a casserole, leave out or reduce the butter or margarine and cut calories by using nonfat or low-fat cheeses, nonfat sour cream and low fat-cream soups. Cinnamon added to sweet potatoes or winter squash dishes adds flavor without the calories from sugar!
6. Delight with Dessert: Try modifying holiday dessert recipes: like using evaporated fat free skim milk in pumpkin pies or substituting egg white for whole eggs to reduce fat and cholesterol. Reducing sugar by 25% in recipes won’t significantly affect the flavor but will save calories. Cut 50-75% of the oil in quick breads and add sweet potatoes or pumpkin for moistness. Also using pastry flour for quick breads yields a better product.
7. Cut out the Crust: If one is tempted to eat pie, try eating only the insides of a fruit pie. The crust is the most concentrated source of calories at about 150 kcals per ounce while the fruit filling is only about 25 kcals per ounce. One way to reduce temptation when the desserts come out is to get up and take a walk, go play with the dog or kids!
8. Location, location, location: Be careful to not sit next to the high calorie appetizers…because you will end up eating them! Sit as far away as possible or face away from them. Although nuts have healthy fats, they are very high in calories at about 800 kcals/cup. Stick with vegetable or fruit based choices. Also, during the main course don’t sit in the middle of the table because it puts too much of the food at arm’s length. Sitting at the end of the table limits access AND calories
9. Avoid the Alcohol: Alcoholic beverages can really help pile on the calories by stimulating your appetite. Wine is about 20 calories per ounce, beer is about 12 calories per ounce and liquors about 100 calories per ounce. Try making a wine spritzer, and drink slowly. Better yet – sip on a unsweetened iced tea or water
10. Start it off Right: Start the meal off with a clear soup. This strategy has been shown to cut down on total calories eaten at a meal. One could also fill up on vegetable based salads (but be sure to avoid high calorie salad dressings.) If you feel you need seconds, wait at least 20 minutes before taking it. You may realize that you are very full and not want it at all.