A Lighter Thanksgiving


Ah…Thanksgiving. Halfway between Halloween and Christmas we find ourselves stuffed more than the traditional turkey. Year after year, we wonder how to enjoy ourselves without feeling guilty about it. Can we eat the lower fat versions of our favorite foods and still feel satisfied? The answer is Yes.
Before detailing the optional dishes, here are other ways to control our eating habits, and our blood pressure:

Drink plenty of water

Water contains zero calories. The sodas and fruit drinks you chug down with your meal easy packs on pounds that can be avoided. So stock your fridge with bottles of water and have ice ready in the freezer. If you must drink soda and fruit drinks with the meal, drink water in between them.

Snack wisely

Before the big meal, everyone is starving. Having (cut) fruits and veggies, nuts, and even crackers around to munch on keeps you and your guests from overeating.

Clean as you cook

Not only does this save you from a big mess to clean up the next day, but also it’s a way to exercise without thinking about exercise.

Store some leftovers in the freezer. Just because you cooked a lot doesn’t mean you have to eat a lot. If there is food stored safely in the freezer, you will not be tempted to eat what’s in the fridge “before it goes bad”. You can always microwave it when you are ready.

Take a walk

Invite family or friends along for an after dinner stroll. Contrary to popular belief, this burns more calories than sitting in front of the television does.

food-salad-feastNow we get to the good part. How do we prepare our favorite foods, but lighter? The most important rule of all: If no one notices that it’s lower in fat, do not tell them any different. Why ruin it for them? The second rule is: Switch to light salt. Your blood pressure will thank you. Following are small ways to cut the fat out of our holiday meal, but still leave it tasty.

Green Bean Casserole. Substitute regular mushroom soup with the lighter version. Try not to use the whole can of fried onions on top.

Sweet Potato Pie. Ditch the crust. Ditch the cream as well. Mix canned sweet potatoes with brown sugar and your regular spices. Put it an oven safe dish. Top with nuts. When it’s almost done baking, pull it out and top with graham crackers or just the top crust and more spices if you like, and put back in to brown the crust.

Potato Salad. Use light mayo or Miracle Whip. With the onions, celery, pickles and other ingredients, who will notice the difference?

Macaroni and Cheese. Please stop putting flour in this dish. It is really not necessary. A whole stick of butter is not either.

Stuffing. Everyone makes a different version. But eggs are the common denominator. Cut the use of yolks in half and substitute with whites. Or try Egg Beaters instead.

Greens. Smoked turkey legs can be used instead of bacon to cook them down with. Also the turkey legs can be eaten, as no one eats the bacon.

These are just a few ways to enjoy your Thanksgiving meal without feeling so guilty about it. But this advice can and should be used year around.