Makeover Your Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving is a holiday famous for over-indulgence. The typical holiday meal usually spans several hours and can easily exceed a day’s worth of calories. But by making a few simple substitutions, you can reduce calorie and fat intake while still enjoying traditional favorites. Here’s how:

Appetizers: Try pairing raw vegetables with salsa, or lighten up dip mixes with fat-free sour cream instead of cream cheese or full-fat sour cream. Serve this with a fresh fruit assortment and light vanilla yogurt for dipping to hold off even the hungriest of guests.

Meats: Roast meats on a rack to allow excess fat to drip off, and try basting with fat-free Italian dressing or broth instead of oil-based rubs. Also, remember to trim excess fat and skin before serving.

Side Dishes: Always use skim milk instead of whole milk when cooking. Mashed potatoes and other casseroles will taste just as creamy without the extra fat. To lighten up stuffing and vegetable dishes, use chicken broth instead of water to add flavor and skip the butter.

Gravy and Sauces: Top your meat and sides with 98% fat-free cream of chicken or mushroom soup instead of gravy made with meat drippings.

Dessert: Slim down baked goods with unsweetened applesauce instead of oil (equal portions) and egg whites instead of eggs (1 whole egg = 2 egg whites). Also, you can lighten up creamy desserts by serving them “naked”— without the crust, that is! Portion your favorite pie filling into individual custard dishes and top with fat-free whipped topping for a sweet finish to a delicious day.

Christina Rollins is a Clinical Dietitian III at Memorial Medical Center.

RECIPE: Not-So-Sinful Sweet Potato Casserole

Recipe Provided by MMC Food and Nutrition Services

Potato Mixture
3 cups sweet potatoes (cooked, peeled and cubed)
4 egg whites
¼ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Pecan Topping
½ cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons margarine
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 1¼-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Set aside. Using a food processor or electric mixer, mix the sweet potatoes, egg whites, sugar, vanilla and flour until smooth. Transfer the mixture into the prepared casserole dish. Set aside. In a small bowl, use your fingers to rub together the brown sugar, flour, and margarine until crumbly. Stir in the pecans. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the potatoes. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition facts: Calories 296, Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 10 mg.