Turkey & Gravy:
- If you use butter spritz it on the skin of your meat for color or BEST yet use some low sodium broth to coat pour over your skin or maybe some white whine
- Roast Your turkey, avoid deep frying your bird this year
- Skip eating the skin and avoid the extra fat
- Aim for lean white meat but don't hesitate to grab some dark meat that yields more iron for your body and well worth the few extra calories for the added nutrients
- Use a fat separator for your gravy! (if you don't have one try putting your stock in the freezer to help freeze up the lard and get to the stock with less fat)
- Make Your own Cranberry Sauce and you'll consume less sugar and get added antioxidant boost that you just can't get from the canned jelly stuff!
- Instead of taking fresh cranberries and adding table sugar add an apple juice concentrate
- Stop making the boxed version (Stove Top...NO MORE!) Time for authentic healthy version!
- Make Your Own using whole grain bread
- Cook outside the bird so they grease does not soak into the bread stuffing
- Bake your stuffing in Muffin Tins for great portion control, further avoid using all the butter in most recipes and replace with more low sodium chicken broth
- Reduce the Carbs in your stuffing by adding more fillers like onions, celery, vegetables and dried fruit
- Use Low Fat cream of mushroom soup
- Ditch the idea of the casserole and exchange the indulgent dish for a simple baked, broiled green bean spritzed with olive oil and dashed with seasoning!
Candied Yams/Sweet Potato's:
- Time to start thinking of Sweet Potato's and yams like a vegetable and not a Dessert! That means recipe rehab is needed!
- Skip the marshmallows on your sweet potato's! Trust me you won't miss it! While you are at it skip the maple syrup and just add some ginger or cinnamon for a bit of flavor
- Make your own healthy version of any recipe and enjoy your indulgence!
- Use Low fat Ice Cream or Low Fat/Non Fat Whipped Cream on top your pie
- Ditch the top/bottom crust to save the calories (do you really love it anyways?)
- Moderate your Alcohol Consumption by planning ahead how many drinks you will have.
- Choose light beer, wine, or drinks made with no calorie mixers
- Alternate between alcoholic drink and water to stay hydrated and keep calories lower.
When You are Cooking:
- Recipe Rehab! That is be diligent to find healthier versions of your most favorite foods.
- Avoid the Butter. Not everything has to be covered in lard.
- Use plenty of herbs/spices to flavor up your side dishes (think ginger, cinnamon etc)
- Roast, bake your dishes and avoid frying them in unhealthy oils
- Oils and butter in these recipes can be substituted with apple sauce, prune puree, or bananas.
- Add fresh veggie & olive trays to your dinner table before the meal so that you snack on healthy fruits/veggies instead of breads, dips
- Use low fat/ non fat cheese and spreads
- Use Greek yogurt in replacement of sour creams
- Use Egg Whites instead of full eggs
- If a recipe ask for 1/2 cup of sugar for example try making it with just 1/4 cup to save on calories and to reduce carb overload
- Portion control your carbohydrates (how many carbohydrates will be on your plate at Thanksgiving?
- Make just enough side dishes for the meal (you really don't need side dish left overs!) the greatest left over is turkey which is a Great source of lean protein
- Use a smaller dinner plate
- Stick to one plate of food (no seconds! or Thirds!)
- Use portion control on the easy to digest sugars (refined sugars) like sweet potato, potato, bread rolls. should be about 1/4-1/2 cup size!
- Dedicate which foods you will "indulge" on ahead of time and ration your sides accordingly.
- put the fork down, clear the table, put the food away, wash the dishes right away!
- Fill up half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables like salad, green beans and 1/4 of your plate with turkey and the other 1/4 with your enjoyment
We Give thanks not through Food, We are Not Celebrating what's at our Table! We are to Remember why we are gathered around and take time to celebrate each other and to give Blessings for our tides and offerings. Enjoy your bounty of food with moderation. Take pride in control.
Remember if this time of the year is tough for you and you are struggling emotionally then being diligent and pro-active by reading and using these small steps can help you maintain control during a vulnerable time of the year for you.