2. Mashed Potatoes with Gravy
4. Pumpkin Pie
6. Green Bean Casserole
7. Sweet Potatoes
10. Macaroni & Cheese
Considering the average American consumes ~4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day from these foods and others, we have to come up with modifications, substitutions or decide to eliminate some of the foods altogether. I'm not one for eliminating foods so we will try to focus on modifications or substitutions.
1. Turkey-preparation is key with saving calories on turkey. Be sure to bake NOT fry! Remove the skin which contains most of the fat (calories). Don't smother in gravy (200 cals per 1/4 cup)-use sparingly if at all.
2. Mashed Potatoes-utilize your biggest asset when it comes to saving calories and getting nutrition, the Health One Meal Replacement (HOMR). This recipe is delicious and uses only a fraction of the calories with the same great taste. If you aren't going to be using the HOMR, use pepper & Mrs. Dash to flavor and next the butter, heavy cream, and sour cream to save calories.
3. Ham-similar to turkey, saving calories on ham comes from selection of the ham and preparation. Select a ham that is lean, be sure to bake & don't add any "special" (key word for calorie-loaded) sauces/glazes like brown sugar or honey, etc. Trim the visible fat before eating to save additional calories
4. Pumpkin Pie-since pumpkin pie is the 'dessert of choice' for many on Thanksgiving, portions are key! Instead of having 1/6th of the pie (or more) enjoy a small slice, consider 1/12th, of the pie to save calories instantly but still enjoy the taste of traditional pumpkin pie. Or, you could opt to make "Crustless" Pumpkin Pie or the Pumpkin Roll from the HOMR to provide at least 25% of your daily nutrition needs while saving on calories.
5. Cranberry-usually served sliced from the can which can cost as much as 420+ calories per cup! Even though you may not eat 1 cup, consider an alternative like sugar-free cranberry jello that is 20 calories/cup. Or, make your own sugar-free cranberry sauce that uses fresh cranberries and a sugar substitute to save calories.
6. Green Bean Casserole-easiest solution is keeping those non-starchy veggies naked and with out sauce to save calories. Try instead flavoring with minced onion and garlic, Mrs. Dash, and pepper and leaving the bacon/ham, cream of "whatever" off, as well as the fried crunchies on top. You'll be satisfied knowing your green beans are 35-40 calories per cup instead of ~100 per cup.
7. Sweet Potatoes-similar to green beans in that they are great to add to the meal plan, but not so great when they are loaded with sugars/brown sugars, syrups, marshmallows, and butter! Sure they taste good, but can clock in at over 350 calories per 1/2 cup especially when you add the pecans on top. All you need to do is bake a sweet potato and top with cinnamon, spray butter, and a sugar substitute, if desired, and voila you have reduced calories and put in less work.
8. Rolls-Another "costly" calorie food (up to 250-300 per roll with butter and/or jelly) readily served at Thanksgiving. Tip to save calories = eat only 1 or 1/2 of one and limit toppings & stay AWAY from the ROLLS!
9. Stuffing/Dressing-portion size is again the biggest solution to still be able to enjoy but not pack on tons of calories. Traditional stuffing or dressing include lots of bread, eggs, butter/fat, sometimes meat, and sometimes vegetables so it all depends on what you are including in your dish. Use a recipe you can trust to provide lower calories such as Hungry Girl's "Save the Day Stuffing"! In this recipe she uses light bread, lots of low-calorie veggies & egg beaters to keep the calories low.
10. Macaroni & Cheese- Starch and fat = perfect combination for high calories! Limit portion size, but also consider using spaghetti squash and a low-fat cheese (like cheese wedges) to save calories. Also consider adding broccoli or other vegetables that can be found in this Hungry Girl's "Too-EZ Mac 'n Cheese" Recipe.
It's harmless to get your Thanksgiving Day top 10 food list in shape and you might even find a few recipes that you would like to use each year. Try to fool family members with lower-calorie versions, but don't fool yourself into thinking that not counting or tracking the calories is a good idea. After all 3,500 calories can quickly add up!