Makeover Your Thanksgiving Meal

Thanksgiving, healthy Thanksgiving, turkey

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. Wendi Schutte, a clinical manager with Memorial Wellness Center, shares some tips:

  • Appetizers: Try pairing raw vegetables with salsa or lighten up dip mixes with non-fat Greek yogurt or light cream cheese instead of full fat 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. 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: Use skim or 1% 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: You can still use meat drippings to make gravy and save calories and fat. Pour the drippings through a fine mesh strainer and press to extract all the broth and flavor. To remove the fat, either pour the broth into a grease separator or let it cool and spoon the fat off the top. Add store bought broth as needed and make a flour slurry to thicken while cooking.
  • 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.