Several days ago we shared six strategies that we employ to make sure we don’t put on the holiday pounds while still enjoying Thanksgiving Day feasts. And today we have the calorie lowdown, so you can see how many calories you’ll save by making the better choice. This is what we do and have our clients do…
1. Turkey Touchdown: We save calories by choosing the Thanksgiving Day star– the turkey breast without the skin.
- Turkey breast without skin (3 ounces) = 114 calories, 0.6 grams fat
- Turkey leg, with skin (3 ounces) = 190, 10 grams fat
- Turkey breast with skin (3 ounces) = 160, 6 grams fat
2. We use a little bit of cranberry sauce (instead of gravy–but if you LOVE gravy, see below) on our turkey because you can just use a little bit and you get a whole lot of flavor.
- Cranberry sauce (2 tablespoons) = 43 calories and 0 grams fat
- Full-fat gravy (1 cup) = 150 calories and 6 grams of fat (stick to 2 tablespoons to keep under 100 calories)
- Gravy, fat skimmed off the top (1 cup) = 80 calories, and no fat (Save 70 calories and 6 grams fat by choosing the cranberry sauce!)
- If Thanksgiving is at your house, de-fat your gravy. Use a fat separator or put the gravy in the fridge in advance so that fat rises to the top and can be easily skimmed off. You get huge fat savings without losing the gravy flavor.
3. Reach for baked potatoes, not mashed or candied.
- Ideally, go for baked plain sweet potatoes instead of mashed potatoes. We do this and LOVE the sweetness but both these and baked white potatoes have 128 calories in 5 ounces and are super satisfying! 🙂 So choose either, but watch the toppings! Skip butter or sour cream or the marshmallow kind because these will pack tons of calories. You’ll still get the comfort food you crave! Just watch the toppings–go for lemon, pepper and a dash of salt or nonfat yogurt as your toppings–or cinnamon on your sweet potato (we do this and it makes it so sweet and yummy)!
- Look for delicious alternatives to mashed potatoes (traditional mashed potatoes with butter and whole milk [½ cup = 120 calories, 5 grams fat]–and most people don’t have just one serving-and get closer to 400-500 calories–oy!).
- Try one of these:
- Our Skinny Cauliflower Mash from The Nutrition Twins Veggie Cure (½ cup = 40 calories, 0 grams fat)or our Skinny Chive Mashed Taters.
- Mashed potatoes with skim milk and a dash of grated Parmesan or a teaspoon of a light vegetable oil based spread (½ cup serving = 80 calories, 1 gram fat)
- Skinny Potato Skins (only 131 calories) are perfect to munch on while you watch the Thanksgiving Day football game.
4. Not sure what to make or have when it comes to the side dishes? Here are 2 healthy sides we make:
IF your host has only bread and lots of creamy or dressing-loaded sides, your best option is often the baked sweet or regular potato (if they have that option, plain) or any relatively minimally dressed salad or even 1 single slice of bread. The others can pack hundreds of calories given that 1 level tablespoon of butter or oil and many dressings have 100 calories (the same amount that is in a typical slice of bread!). Just don’t load butter on your bread–skip it, and let the other good stuff on your plate get on your bread to flavor it–or better yet place your turkey on it and eat it with a fork and knife! 😉
4. And for the Stuffing. Be aware that it can do a lot of damage 🙁 …
- So we fill our plates with A LOT of veggies seasoned with spices. It doesn’t leave much room for much else.
- We prioritize and only take the items we love best. If it’s the stuffing, we try to keep the portion small.
- Lucky for us, our mom is pretty health conscience and knows that she has two nutritionists coming for the feast, so she makes a second stuffing (yes, she’s pretty amazing, thanks Mom!). “Our” stuffing is made from whole grain raisin bread, extra veggies (to thin out the calories of the stuffing) and low-sodium broth (to help reduce Thanksgiving Day after-bloat). We recommend trying to this! It’s delish and much lower in calories.
- Stuffing calorie savings:
- Stuffing, typical preparation (½ cup) = 190, 8 grams fat, 550 mg sodium
- Stuffing, low sodium, extra vegetables (½ cup) = 80 calories, 2 grams fat, 180 mg sodium
5. Watch out for buttery veggies–just a tablespoon of butter is 100 calories! We go for the lower calorie veggies. Check out the big savings:
- Vegetables with butter (½ cup) = 200 calories, 18 grams fat
- Vegetables steamed and spritzed with olive oil and spices (½ cup) = 25 calories, less than 1 gram fat
6. And for our sweet tooth? 🙂 (and for yours too, of course!) 🙂
- We like anything sweet. We go for the pumpkin pie or the apple pie instead of the calorie-loaded pecan pie which has 500 calories and 27 grams of fat per slice. You’ll cut the fat and calories in half by going with the pumpkin or apple! If it’s sweet and scrumptious, count us in!
- Other options we love: