How to Cut Calories From Thanksgiving Dinner

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Don't be a statistic this holiday season. According to CNN, many people gain 5 to 7 lbs. each fall, and many never lose the weight. Year after year, Americans are growing more unhealthy. With childhood obesity skyrocketing and diabetes at near epidemic proportions, follow a few tips to keep your holiday calorie count under control without sacrificing flavor or texture.


Use Chicken Broth

Step 1

Eliminate some of the butter in mashed potatoes by adding chicken broth to the recipe or boiling the potatoes in chicken broth. Not only will it add tons of flavor to your taters, it will help create a nice, smooth mashed potato. On that note, add a raw egg to your potatoes before mashing them. It sounds icky, but the egg acts as an emulsifier to eliminate lumps and create a nicely blended texture.

Step 2

Add a little chicken broth to your stuffing. Like the potatoes, it'll add lots of flavor, no fat, and it'll keep the stuffing from getting too dry.

Step 3

Reduce the amount of drippings you use to make the gravy. Drippings are nothing more than liquid fat so substituting the fatty stuff with a healthy chicken broth will drop a lot of calories.

Make Healthy Decisions

Step 1

Analyze your feelings. Holidays often conjure feelings of loss, loneliness and depression. Try not to fill the emotional void with holiday treats, as this can a snowballing effect: When the scale inches upwards, it can trigger feelings of failure or lack of discipline which will only enhance the negative thoughts associated with the holidays.

Step 2

Make wise shopping choices. For the green bean casserole, skip the artery clogging, full-fat cream of mushroom soup and opt for the reduced-fat version instead. And use fewer of those tasty fried onions. You won't notice the difference.

Step 3

Try a new version of an old side dish. Instead of sweet potato casserole which is loaded with butter and brown sugar (and perhaps even marshmallows), make simple baked sweet potatoes. A yam wrapped in foil and left to sit in the oven for a couple of hours comes out juicy and incredibly sweet. It's so good there's no reason to add anything to it.

Step 4

Save your calorie intake for the foods you wouldn't eat on a typical day. That means passing on things like bread and pre-Thanksgiving dinner snacks.

Tips and Warnings

Don't overindulge. It's easy to get too much of a good thing, so stick to smaller portions and you wont eat a day's worth of calories in one sitting.

Things You'll Need

Fat-free chicken broth, Reduced-fat versions of traditional ingredients from your favorite recipes

About this Author

Heather Mark is a writer and traveler living in Central Florida. Her articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including "International Travel News," "Pregnancy Magazine," "The Orlando Sentinel" and "The Atlanta Journal-Constitution." Mark earned a Bachelor of Arts in visual and media arts from Emerson College.

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