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Healthy Eating Alternatives for Thanksgiving Dinner

By HERWriter
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alternatives for healthy eating at Thanksgiving Ryan McVay/Photodisc/Thinkstock

Thanksgiving dinner and football games are both true American traditions. But are most of us going to be playing the eating game while we pack on about 3,000 calories?

That is what is in the Thanksgiving meal, according to research from the Calorie Control Council. The organization also says that an additional 1500 calories are consumed and more than 200 grams of fat in just one day.

“Combined, that's the equivalent of more than 2 1/4 times the average daily calorie intake and almost 3 1/2 times the fat. The typical holiday dinner can be loaded with 45 percent of calories from fat. In fact, the average person may consume enough fat at a holiday meal to equal three sticks of butter.”

Let’s start with the bird. According to Advanceyourhealth.org, the typical turkey cooking process is approximately 400 calories per helping.

They suggest, “swapping out the brining process for a bit of white miso paste, and use a rub made mostly of olive oil, lemon juice and garlic, you’re looking to save about half the calories, but still maintain that savory depth of flavor.”

If you prefer dark turkey meat over the white meat, CBS.com suggests, “Going for the drumstick will save you a little -- 240 calories compared to 270, but because much of what's in a drumstick is bone, and it takes longer to eat, you may feel like you're eating more.”

Let’s head to the sidelines for some delicious alternative side dishes. In an article on Shape.com Holly Corbett, suggests cooking the stuffing separate and not in the bird to save on fat.

She also suggests healthier carbs for ingredients, “One more trick to slim down stuffing: Prepare it with barley instead of bread for a high-fiber, whole grain alternative.”

The article features some healthy ways to spice up your sweet potatoes.

“Rather than using maple syrup to add flavor, try mixing in spices such as ginger and cinnamon…For a tangy taste, add a little orange juice—you won't even miss the marshmallows on top!”

Who said you had to mash potatoes for a creamy decadent side dish? My mother-in-law uses the South Beach Cauliflower Mash recipe below each year as an alternative.

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EmpowHER Guest

I was surprised to see "2 Tablespoons Butter Flavored Cooking Spray" listed on the "healthy" Cauliflower Mash recipe. While there may be "0" calories in 5 sprays of a product like I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Cooking Spray, it actually has 20 calories and 2 grams of fat in just one teaspoon. It also adds chemicals and other potentially dangerous ingredients to an otherwise healthy dish.

November 20, 2012 - 3:44pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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