July 21, 2019 | 83° F

Thanksgiving Dinner Healthy Alternatives


It’s the time of year when we gather around huge plates of food with our loved ones and stuff as much into our mouths as we can. Before we know it, we’re back to those New Year’s resolutions that involve trying to fit back into the pants you swore fit a month ago. Eating healthy during the holidays sounds like a joke, but it’s definitely possible with minimal effort. 

The simplest way to watch what you are eating is to manage your portion sizes. It is the first step in avoiding the post-feast slump. Your meat should be the size of your palm. Potatoes, stuffing and bread should be about as big as a stack of post-its. Veggies should be the size of an iPhone 4. Dole out a spoonful or two of cranberry sauce to brighten things up a bit. The biggest side of your pie slice should be about the length of your pinky finger. 

The next best thing to do is to swap certain foods for others. We’ve all heard a zillion times that white meat is better than dark meat, and yes, this is true, but what about the rest of your Thanksgiving plate? 

Take advantage of these easy switcheroos to create one delicious (and lighter) meal!

Instead of…

Mashed potatoes, try mashed turnips:

Turnips have the same light color and creaminess without that extra starch that potatoes have.

Sweet potatoes with marshmallows, try sweet potatoes with pecans and cinnamon:

Still enjoy dressed-up potatoes, but get the added benefits of crunch and heart-healthy fats from the nuts. 

Green Bean Casserole, try plain green beans:

That creamy, salty soup and those fried onions are filled with fat. Have some green beans by themselves and you will feel so much better. (If you must have the soup coating, at least dig to the bottom of the dish to leave out the greasy onions!)

Creamed Cauliflower, try broccoli:

Broccoli is basically a super food. It is filled with tons of antioxidants, Vitamin C and calcium that its lighter-colored twin can’t boast about. 

Roll, try cornbread:

White bread really has nothing but carbohydrates. The key here is focusing on whole grains. Cornbread can be made from whole grain cornmeal, and that’s something worth devouring. 

Applesauce, try cranberry sauce:

No, not the jellied kind! Homemade cranberry sauce is a great alternative to applesauce because it has a lot more antioxidants. Just make sure you keep it tart because too much sugar will throw your efforts away. 

Boxed stuffing, try homemade stuffing:

Stuffing is so easy to create and making it homemade ensures that you don’t have too much salt or preservatives. Make sure to use whole grain bread and you are set.

Apple pie, try pumpkin pie:

Swapping pumpkin pie for apple pie will save calories because you’ll avoid the buttery crust and vanilla ice cream alongside. A small dollop of homemade whipped cream on top will do the trick.

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