Healthy Holiday Food Swaps
It’s that time of year again when feasts become a centerpiece of the holidays. The traditional Thanksgiving table is laden with all sorts of high-calorie, high-carb, and high-fat foods: mashed potatoes and gravy, stuffing, creamy casseroles, and pies. Let’s swap some of those favorites for healthy—yet still delicious—sides. You’ll be thankful you did.
“Eating well on Thanksgiving starts with breakfast,” says Courtney Lambrow, Curves nutritionist. “Sometimes people skip breakfast and lunch to ‘save themselves’ for the big holiday meal, but that will leave you so ravenous when the turkey and all its trimmings are served that you’re likely to overindulge. Stick to your usual meal plan on Thanksgiving day.”
Lambrow also suggests serving a vegetable platter before sitting down to your holiday meal to curb your appetite so you don’t fill up on calorie-dense foods. And for the dinner itself? Try these alternatives to the usual high-calorie sides.
Swap mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower
Roast cauliflower and garlic with a teaspoon of olive oil until lightly browned then whip in a food processor with some chives and a pinch of salt and pepper. “Not only will you save on calories,” says Lambrow. “You’ll get a boost of vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and folic acid.”
Swap traditional stuffing with whole grain
Use whole grain bread rather than white in your stuffing for fewer calories and carbs and more protein, fiber, folate, and B vitamins. Add low-sodium chicken broth to moisten the bread, and flavor it with your favorite stuffing seasonings.
Swap turkey juices with broth
For a gravy without the guilt, toss the turkey drippings and make a savory sauce with low-sodium broth and good-for-you olive oil. You’ll save calories and fat.
Swap canned soup with a homemade sauce
Green bean casserole puts a grin on everyone’s face but can put pounds around your waist. Instead of making it with condensed cream of mushroom soup, make a cream sauce by heating low-fat milk, all-purpose flour and your choice of seasoning to cut calories, fat, and sodium.
Swap dessert with an activity
After enjoying a wonderful meal, take the family outside for a game of touch football, tag, hide-and-seek, or just go for a walk through the neighborhood. You’ll be really thankful you did when you step on the scale post-holiday. And if you just can’t say no to pumpkin pie, try this crustless pumpkin pie recipe.
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