A typical Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings can contain more than 2000 calories. TWO THOUSAND calories for one meal, in one sitting. Happily, there are ways to have your dinner and avoid the need to run a marathon after. Here are some of the typical segments of a Thanksgiving dinner with the calorie and fat counts, and some more diet-friendly options.
- Turkey is the mainstay of just about every Thanksgiving dinner, and, by itself, is a delicious lean protein. Trouble comes when you cover the meat with high-fat gravy. A 3.5 ounce serving of turkey breast with the skin removed will set you back around 170 calories with just 4 grams of fat. Add gravy, though, and you triple those numbers.
- Stuffing, or dressing, is a familiar side dish that probably contains the most sodium on the entire plate. A half cup serving will set you back about 170 calories with 4 grams of fat and a whopping 500 milligrams of sodium. Why not try this yummy version from Chef Rocco, made even better with added figs?
- Sweet potatoes alone are a phenomenal choice for your dinner menu, but avoid the traditional dish topped with marshmallows. Typical candied sweet potatoes are coated in more than 20 grams of sugar from melted marshmallows and clock in at over 350 calories in one serving. Instead, try this whipped sweet potato dish, with half of the calories and much less sugar.
- Mashed potatoes look fluffy and light but are crammed full of butter, cream and salt. I’ve even seen recipes that contain cream cheese! Think about switching the traditional mashed potatoes for our Onion Garlic Mashed potatoes or even for mashed cauliflower. You can save more than 200 calories and untold grams of fat.
- Green bean casserole. For many families, it’s not Thanksgiving without green bean casserole – but this mixture of green beans, cream soups and deep fried onions is a belly buster. It contains almost TEN TIMES the calorie content and 7 more grams of fat of steamed fresh green beans, which have just 20 calories per serving. If you really can’t face dinner without the ubiquitous casserole, try this healthier version.
- Finally, dessert. Pumpkin pie is the most common choice for Thanksgiving dinner, but a typical slice contains more than 300 calories and 20 grams of fat. Instead of ending the meal with a calorie bomb, try our low fat Weight Watchers pumpkin pie which is only 3 points.
Making healthy choices doesn’t have to mean you sacrifice your turkey day meal. With just a few substitutions, your meal will be just as amazing and not send you running for the hills!
November 15th, 2010