It’s almost that time of year again! It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t love Thanksgiving dinner, but for the person on a weight loss program, navigating the buffet table can be like dodging calorie bullets and fat bombs! Go ahead and enjoy your holiday, but keep these handy food swaps in mind in order to lower your calorie count. You can enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without ruining your weight loss plans.
Turkey. Looking forward to roasting that bird? If you normally go for a drumstick with skin, pass it up for some breast meat without skin. You can cut your calories from 147 to 97 in a 3-ounce portion, and your fat content from 5 grams to just 3 grams.
Cornbread stuffing. To stuff or not to stuff; that is often the big Thanksgiving dilemma. If you choose to stuff your bird with traditional cornbread stuffing, just be aware that a one-cup serving can contain about 470 calories and 17 grams of fat if it’s made with whole milk and butter. A light version, made with fat-free buttermilk and half of the butter, can drop your calories to 319 and your fat grams down to about 10.
Gravy. What’s turkey without gravy, right? But depending how you make homemade gravy, it can be pretty fat-laden and calorie heavy. Swap out your typical ¼ cup serving of homemade gravy for ¼ cup of low-sodium prepared gravy mix, and you can cut calories from 131 to just 25. Plus, fat grams will drop from 9 to just 1.
Cranberry sauce. For some people, it just isn’t Thanksgiving without cranberry sauce. But a 1/4-cup serving of canned sauce packs 105 calories (no fat, though). Try a serving of fresh cranberry relish to slash those calories down to about 67.
Sweet potato casserole. This traditional favorite is possibly the worst calorie offender of all. A one-cup serving of the classic casserole dish contains 558 calories and 9 grams of fat. By contrast, a baked sweet potato, topped with one tablespoon of brown sugar and a tablespoon of chopped pecans, drops the calorie content down to 138.
Green bean casserole. Everyone has an opinion about green bean casserole. Some love it, while others just don’t get the appeal. If you’re one of those who love it, you might be dismayed to learn that the typical recipe (with cream of mushroom soup and fried onions) packs 235 calories into a one-cup serving. Swap it out for one cup of green beans, sauteed in a little butter and topped with one tablespoon of friend onions, and you can cut your calories down to just 91.
Dessert. Who doesn’t love pecan pie? The traditional Southern favorite has made its way across the nation, and is a staple at Thanksgiving dinners everywhere. But just one slice (one-eighth of a 9-inch pie) contains a whopping 806 calories and 25 grams of fat! Swap it out for a slice of classic pumpkin pie, and you’ll only consume about 265 calories and 9 grams of fat. Thanksgiving only comes around once per year, so go ahead and enjoy a reasonable dessert!