Thanksgiving dinner is all about food, family, and even more food. A Thanksgiving meal contains on average 3,000 calories, which is about 1,000 calories more than the average person should consume in a day. And don’t forget about the leftovers! There are many things you can do to cut the calories including taking away the casseroles, removing creamy sauces from the table, or limiting dessert to only pumpkin pie. Besides these calorie-lowering changes, here are some helpful tips and changes you can make to your Thanksgiving meal that are delicious and easy to do.
Add a soup
Whether you make it on your own or buy it from the store, serving soup as a starter for your Thanksgiving meal will not only make you and your guests more full, soup is also an easy way to sneak more vegetables into their meal. The best hardy low calorie soups are broth and water based, contain a lot of vegetables, and include barley. Barley is a grain that is commonly found in soup and will add a lot of bulk to the starter meal. Good hardy vegetables to include in your soup are carrots, potatoes, and corn. Starting a meal with soup will cause you to eat less and lower your calorie intake, while still feeling full.
Use real cranberries
Often times families will use canned cranberries with their Thanksgiving meal instead of buying fresh cranberries and making their own cranberry sauce. Although making cranberry sauce for the family meal is time consuming, it is a much more healthy option and should replace the canned cranberry habit. Canned cranberries contain 80 more grams of sugar, 300 more calories, and have a 3 times higher inflammatory response than a homemade cranberry sauce made from fresh cranberries. Canned cranberry sauces are heavily processed, contain lots of added sugar and other ingredients and do not have the fresh delicious taste that fresh cranberry sauces do.
The potato dish
The classic white potato is commonly seen across Thanksgiving Day dinner tables. The potato is usually served mashed with a lot of cream, butter, or salt turning this vegetable into a high calorie and high fat side dish. An easy and delicious substitute for the classic potato is a sweet potato, which is considered a super food to many nutritionists. The sweet potato has 1,300 times more vitamin A, 10 mg more vitamin C, 140 times more vitamin E, and contains 100 less calories per serving than the white potato. Simply switching this vitamin packed substitute for the nutritional dud potato will not only sweeten up your Thanksgiving meal, it will also cut out the fatty butter and gravy sauces that are commonly added the potato at the table. A delicious and guilt free way to prepare the sweet potato is baked or mashed, with a little brown sugar or maple syrup. Some interesting ingredients you can also add to your sweet potato are shredded coconut or walnut halves.
Baked fruit dessert
Along with the classic pumpkin pie, people will commonly add cakes, chocolates, or other fatty desserts to their end of meal dessert menu. These choices just add more fat to a traditionally fatty meal and should be re-evaluated. Along with the classic pumpkin pie, a delicious dessert should be baked apples, pears, or peaches. These baked fruits are naturally sweet, high in fiber, and are a perfect warm ending to a Thanksgiving meal. After baking the halved fruit, sprinkle on some sugar and cinnamon for a delicious finish. This dessert can be served guilt free with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or vanilla yogurt. Enjoy!
More helpful Thanksgiving dinner recipes:
Cranberry sauce: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/foodnation-with-bobby-flay/cranberry-sauce-recipe/index.html
Sweet potato side: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/maple_roasted_sweet_potatoes.html
Baked fruit dessert: http://www.stemilt.com/recipes/RecipeDetails.cfm?recipe_ID=50