It’s hard to believe that Thanksgiving is already here! Here at home in Arlington, Texas, the temperatures have dropped, and everywhere you look the halls are being decked. If you’re like us, then it is hard to think about Christmas when we still have so much to do for Thanksgiving! For many, the Thanksgiving meal is the perfect opportunity to throw diets out the window and indulge in your favorite yearly treats. However, for those of us who are looking to eat cleaner or consume a moderate amount of calories, it can be daunting to choose foods that are delicious, festive, and healthy.
Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal comes in at over 2,200 calories per person? The staff at this Arlington, TX dentist office are all committed to leading healthy and active lives, and we believe we can do that even at Thanksgiving. To help you plan your menu or just make better decisions when faced with a spread of food this year, we’ve complied a short list of what to eat and what to avoid. Let us know if you have any special recipes that you serve each Thanksgiving!
Don’t Eat: Dark turkey meat with skin
Do Eat: Skinless light meat
Is it really Thanksgiving if you don’t eat the Turkey? This traditional dish can be a diet buster or, if eaten correctly, can pack a significant protein punch that fills you up and helps you avoid mindlessly snacking or too many sweets. Dark meat contains significantly more fat than light meat, especially when you leave the skin on. By opting for light meat, you are choosing both a low-calorie and low-fat alternative.
Don’t Eat: Sausage stuffing
Do Eat: Mushroom gravy
When polled, many Americans actually prefer the stuffing to the turkey. However, while delicious, sausage stuffing is packed with fat and sodium. Coming in at over 300 calories for less than a cup (and who eats that little?), it’s best to avoid. However, if you are looking for something to add to spice up your turkey, mushroom gravy is the perfect alternative. Unlike sausage stuffing, it’s low in sodium, which means you won’t feel bloated after eating. With only 27 calories in a 4tbsp. serving, you’ll also have enough buffer in your calorie budget to grab that dessert!
Don’t Eat: Green bean casserole
Do Eat: Cooked green beans
Do you know the perfect way to hide vegetables? Throw them in a casserole and spread fried onions on top! While delicious, it really has no nutritional value. After cooking the green beans and pouring creamy soups on top, there is really nothing redeeming left. Instead, opt for fresh (not canned) green beans and cook them with a little bacon and onion to add flavor. Even with the fat from the bacon, you will be saving hundreds of calories and grams of fat while consuming healthy, flavorful fiber.
Don’t Eat: Mac and cheese
Do Eat: Mashed potatoes
We bet that you didn’t see this one coming! While mac and cheese is an American staple, it also contains as many calories as two slices of pumpkin pie—plus half a day’s worth of fat! However, we know a Thanksgiving meal wouldn’t be complete without a starch, so opt for homemade mashed potatoes. To make it heart healthy, ease up on the butter and substitute milk for heavy cream. Add your mushroom gravy on top, and you won’t feel like you’ve sacrificed anything at all!
Don’t Eat: Pecan pie
Do Eat: Pumpkin pie
Pecan pie is traditionally made with a good amount corn syrup or brown sugar, which only contributes unnecessary sugar and calories to your meal. What’s more, the crust can be a big source of fat—especially saturated fat. Although pecans have many healthy attributes, more doesn’t mean it’s healthier. And while pumpkin pie shouldn’t be considered a health food, it does help to satisfy our daily requirement for orange vegetables, not to mention that need for sweet after a big Thanksgiving meal. In addition, it boosts healthy antioxidants and vitamins!
Have any healthy Thanksgiving tips to add? Share them with us on Facebook!
Also published on Medium.