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Thanksgiving Dinner
The Healthier Way

Lighter, Healthier, but still Delicious

We all indulge at Thanksgiving, right? But, by the time the evening football games are on TV, most of us are regretting it.

It doesn’t have to be so bad if you are mindful of what you are eating and drinking. Use this guide to help you make better choices at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You might be surprised by how much you enjoy a few lighter and healthier options.

Choose White Meat Over Dark

If you are a meat eater, go with the lighter turkey meat and you will save yourself about 50 calories and almost 5 grams of fat. The average serving of white turkey is 110 to 120 calorida and 5-7 grams of fat as compared to dark turkey with 160 calories or more and at least 11 grams of fat.

Forget the “Casserole” and just go with Green Beans and Sweet Potatoes

I know. You love the brown sugar and oozy gooey marshmallow topping but, if you can manage to forego it, you will save yourself hundreds of calories and lots of fat by just making fresh (not canned! Yuck!) sweet potatoes. Ditto for green beans. Try cooking your green beans in vegetable broth instead of bacon and butter. Or, dress up your sweet potatoes with pecans or walnuts and a little pure molasses and nutmeg. After all, doesn’t the turkey and stuffing get all the glory anyway? Your family might find that having a few lighter options on the menu is a welcomed change. Or, look at it this way – plain sweet potatoes have about 114 calories per cup (plus, they are a great source of beta carotene). Sweet potato casserole, on the other hand, have almost 300 calories per serving plus about 6-7 grams of fat per cup! Green beans have about 30 calories per cup, but green bean casserole complete with mushroom soup and fried onions have almost 200 calories and 10 grams of fat per cup.

Use Real Cranberries in your Cranberry Salad

rebelmoms.com real fresh whole cranberries for thanksgiving

Those gelatin based cranberry salads are a killer thanks to all that added sugar. But this is actually one of those dishes where it is really easy to make it healthier without your family freaking out. For one, there’s probably a good chance that about half of your Thanksgiving dinner guests don’t like cranberry salad. For two, (why is “for one” an expression but not “for two”… but I digress,) cranberry salad is meant to be a garnish for the turkey more so than a stand alone side dish, so its a great opportunity to sneak in something that is not only healthier but also compliments the turkey better. Instead of gelatin and that God-awful canned cranberry mush – get yourself some real and actual, fresh cranberries. Cook them, add orange juice, a little pure maple syrup and perhaps a splash of real cranberry juice. Go ahead and throw in some nuts too if you like it that way. Fresh, whole cranberries, besides being fabulous with turkey, are packed with phenolic flavonoid phytochemicals called pro-anthocyanidins (PAC’s), and are a good source of many vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin A, ß-carotene, lutein, zea-xanthin, and folate and minerals like potassium, and manganese.