Turkey day doesn’t have to send your health spiraling down and your weight soaring up for the rest of the holidays.
We’re not suggesting that you diet on turkey day, but Thanksgiving doesn’t have to send your health spiraling down and your weight soaring up for the rest of the holidays, either. Here’s how to indulge in every course without breaking the 1,000-calorie barrier.
1. Go for light, white meat.
This part is easy. Turkey breast is already super lean: just 44 calories, 1 gram of fat and no saturated fat per skinless ounce. Plus, the big bird is a great source of iron, zinc, potassium and B vitamins. Eliminate drumstick temptation by serving a breast ready for slicing. Or, if you do cook a whole turkey, roast or bake it—don’t even go near a deep fryer.
2. Add gravy that has more flavor than fat.
1. Use low-fat, low-sodium broth rather than drippings from the roasting pan.
2. If drippings are a family requirement, stick them in the freezer for about 15 minutes. Chilling makes it easier to skim off fat before using the juices to make gravy.
3. Stuff your bird with whole grains.
Bake the stuffing separately so it doesn’t soak up grease from the bird (safer, too, says the bacteria police—it ensures that the stuff gets cooked all the way through). Instead of boring white bread crumbs, wow your guests with a whole-grain mixture. Try the slightly nutty flavor of quinoa or rice pilaf. You won’t save calories, but you’ll gain oodles of antioxidants plus fiber, iron, magnesium, selenium, B vitamins—and compliments.
4. Add a touch of green.
Cut calories in half by shelving the green bean casserole this year and boiling fresh beans until just tender. Then season them with just a touch of olive oil, sea salt and black pepper. Sounds simple, but the flavor’s amazing. And you’ll get fiber, protein, calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and vitamins A, C, K and B6.
5. Don’t forget the superberries.
Cranberries contain a powerful group of free-radical demolishers. But skip the canned sauces, which are jammed with added sugar (about 44 grams and 170 calories per inch-thick slice). Instead, type “cranberry sauce recipes” into Bing and pick one of the recipes that’s sweetened with fruit—pears, currents, apples, raisins (and maybe walnuts, too). Then use half the sugar called for. You’ll be amazed. So will your guests.
6. Slim the spuds.
We learned this trick from our friends at EatingWell: simmer your spuds with some garlic to create robust flavor—then mash them with parsley and buttermilk instead of cream. The flavor’s great and despite its name, buttermilk has almost no fat. If you want to top it with a pat of butter just before serving, no one will ever know that’s all there is. Neither will their waistlines.
7. Watch the liquid calories.
Even tiny trimmings add up. So stretch one glass of white wine (about 120 calories) to two by mixing it with bubbly water (half of each) for a white wine spritzer.
8. Oh my, don’t skip the pie.
Trim more than 100 calories and 7 grams of fat from a (sane, not supersized) slice of pie just by forgoing the crust.