Don’t Supersize This Holiday Season!

Here comes the holiday season! For many of us, it starts with Thanksgiving and carries on through the New Year. It includes special and traditional foods that are different than what we typically include in our regular meal plans.

Holiday weight gain, not to mention heartburn, sluggishness and other maladies associated with overindulgence in food and drink, can be avoided. On Thanksgiving Day, the average American adult likely eats between 2000 to 3500 calories at the Thanksgiving dinner ALONE. Most people typically consume between 1600 to 2400 calories in just a typical day!

So how can we ward off the dreaded holiday gain? But more importantly, how can we eat our favorite foods, not feel deprived and guilty, and still partake in the traditions that we hold so dear?

With a few tweaks to the traditional recipes, your holiday meal can actually be quite healthy. Allow yourself a taste of everything, watch your portion sizes and remember moderation is the key.

The following are some examples of how to “tweak” a traditional Thanksgiving dinner to “right-size” your intake instead of “super-sizing” it.

How to Save Calories on the Typical Thanksgiving Holiday Meal

Menu Item BEFORE                                        Calories
Turkey, with skin, 6 oz.                                             300
Mashed potatoes, milk, butter, 1 cup                     220
Stuffing, 1 cup                                                             360
Gravy, ¼ cup                                                               100
Green bean casserole, 2/3 cup                                   90
Cranberry orange relish, ½ cup                               245
Sweet potatoes, candied, ¾ cup                              240
Dinner roll, medium, 2 oz.                                        160
Butter, 1 Tbsp.                                                             135
Lefse, 2 rounds, 1 Tbsp. butter, 1 Tbsp. sugar      340
Pumpkin pie, 1/8 of 9” pie                                         315
Whipped cream, ¼ cup                                              100
Wine, 7 oz.                                                                    150

Total      2755

Menu Item AFTER                                          Calories
Turkey, breast w/out skin, 3 oz.                               130
Mashed potatoes, milk, butter, ½ cup                   110
Stuffing, ½ cup                                                           180
Gravy, fat free, ¼ cup                                                  25
Green beans, ½ cup                                                     25
Cranberry sauce, sugar free, ½ cup                          45
Sweet potato, baked, ½ cup                                       80
Dinner roll, small, 1 oz.                                               80
Butter, 1 tsp.                                                                  45
Lefse, 1 round, 1 tsp. butter, 1 tsp. sugar              140
Pumpkin pie, 1/16 of 9” pie                                      158
Light whipped topping, ¼ cup                                  40
Wine, 3.5 oz.                                                                  75

Total      1133

Moderation and portion control really are the keys to healthy eating all through the year. May you have a safe, healthy and wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

By Cheryl Rude

Registered Dietitian at Avera Marshall

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