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Make this, not that: Thanksgiving foods

Thanksgiving is a day of giving thanks, celebrating with friends and family and, most importantly, eating. Surprisingly, not all Thanksgiving foods will wreck your diet and leave you feeling five pounds heavier.

Organic turkey

This Thanksgiving, challenge yourself to eat a little healthier. There are plenty of savory options to choose from that won’t force you to loosen another notch on your belt. Appetizers, entrees and desserts — we’ve covered it all. And we are here to help you make healthier choices this year.

Check out this skinny Thanksgiving menu for a lightened up feast >>

Roasted turkey, not deep-fried

Packed with protein and loaded with folic acid, turkey is the healthiest Thanksgiving dish you will be consuming. Avoid adding unnecessary fat and calories by roasting the turkey instead of deep-frying it. Though deep-fried turkeys are deliciously moist, they pack on an extra 70 calories per 3.5-ounce serving, versus an oven-roasted turkey that can be just as moist and mouthwatering with significantly fewer calories.

Hummus dips, not cheese dips

Appetizers such as spinach and artichoke dip, crab dip, sour cream dip and cheese dips may taste great, but they contain enough calories to sustain you for the day. The worst thing you can do for your body is load up on incredibly rich appetizers before diving into a heavy meal. Instead, choose healthier dips such as hummus or salsas. Though hummus is not calorie-free (27 calories per tablespoon), it’s chock full of protein and vitamins to help satisfy any cravings and keep you feeling full. Try this mixed herb hummus dip with sliced veggies or pita chips.

Potatoes, not casseroles

Even though potatoes are high in carbohydrates, both sweet and mashed have ample health benefits. Sweet potatoes contain half your daily requirement of vitamin C, potassium and as much beta-carotene as carrots. Mashed potatoes have surprising health benefits as well, such as B vitamins, fiber and iron to help lower blood pressure and prevent cardiovascular disease. Casseroles, on the other hand, are what you want to shy away from. Most contain heavy soups and creams, butters, fried onions and cheeses. Unless you know exactly what’s in it, choose the more filling potatoes over the high-calorie casseroles.

dinner rollDinner rolls, not stuffing

It’s no surprise here, but stuffing is one of the most caloric Thanksgiving foods out there. At almost 20 grams of fat, one-third saturated, and 350 calories per serving, it’s best to stay as far away from this as possible. What’s a better option? A homemade dinner roll with butter, which will only set you back 150 calories, leaving more room for pie!

Pumpkin pie, not pecan pie

Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to skip dessert, just make sure you choose the “healthiest” of the selections — that is, pumpkin pie (or even better — gluten-free pumpkin pie). Pumpkin contains soluble fiber which aids in digestion, vitamin A which is necessary for healthy vision, and other vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, potassium and iron. Though pecan pie does contain healthy amounts of unsaturated fat (the good kind), its calorie count is astonishing. At 500 per slice, it’s nearly double that of pumpkin pie, which sits around 300 calories per slice. If you do decide to indulge in a little pumpkin pie (who wouldn’t?), try to avoid all the toppings such as whipped cream or vanilla ice cream as they add unnecessary fat and calories.

More Thanksgiving recipes

Low-carb Thanksgiving recipes
Healthy Thanksgiving dessert recipes
Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes

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