Who doesn’t love Thanksgiving? Good company, good food, and even better dessert. It’s all fun and games until you end up in a self-induced food coma and need to be rolled away from the dinner table. We’ve all been there. Then the next day comes around and we’re faced with that moment we all dread…. Stepping on the scale after that epic cheat meal. You then get eaters remorse, feel like garbage, and feel as those you lost all of the gains you worked so hard for. How do we prevent this from happening?
There are two keys to staying on track during Thanksgiving: portion control and moderation. Anytime you tell yourself “I can’t have that” makes you want it more. Am I right? As we all know, fad diets and yo-yo diets set us up for complete failure because of the “I can’t have that” approach.. There is no healthy balance established. You will be much more successful when this balance is known and clearly established. It allows you to enjoy the things you want, but in moderation. Use this approach this Thanksgiving…. Sometimes you can have your cake and eat it too 🙂
4 Helpful Tips to Navigate Through Thanksgiving Dinner:
- Ditch the bread and butter! Indulging in bread before the meal is going to add extra carbs and fats that you don’t need. Not to mention, it will fill you up before you get to the good stuff!
- Load up on Veggies. Vegetables contain a variety of vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients. They are healthy carbohydrates, minimal on calories, and high in fiber. Don’t be afraid to go back for seconds!
- Turkey is your friend. Turkey is a lean protein, meaning it is high in protein but low in fat. Bring on all the protein!
- Save room for dessert! Yep, you heard me right! Never deprive yourself, especially of that delicious homemade pumpkin pie. Life is meant to be enjoyable and it is okay to treat yourself to dessert every now and then… in moderation of course. Having 5 slices of grandma’s homemade apple pie…maybe not the best idea! Ask for half a slice. This should be just enough to get a taste and to satisfy that demanding sweet tooth.
Whether you’re hosting family dinner or just bringing a dish to pass, try these macro friendly alternatives of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes…. Your family won’t even know the difference!
What would Thanksgiving be without gravy? When it comes to Thanksgiving dinner, it is no secret that gravy is an absolute necessity. Very tasty, yes, but also is an easy way to mindlessly add some extra calories to your dinner. Standard homemade gravy packs a ton of carbs and fat for such a small serving. And let’s be honest, does anyone only ever use only one serving of gravy?
Standard Homemade Turkey Gravy
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Nutrition facts: 262 calories, 26g carbs, 4g protein, 18 g fat
Ditch the extra calories and try this low carb, low fat alternative
Tasty Low-Calorie Turkey Gravy
Makes 4 servings (serving size 1/4c)
Serving Size: ¼ cup serving
Nutrition Facts: 36 calories, 2g carbs, 2g protein, 2g fat
⅓ cup reduced-fat butter
⅓ cup all purpose flour
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth or turkey stock
1 cup warmed water
1 tablespoon dry sherry or any cooking sherry
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
1 cup skinless cooked turkey meat, chopped fine
1.) In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Whisk in flour and cook for 1-2 minutes.
2.) Gradually whisk in broth and water until well mixed. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
3.) Stir in sherry, pepper and turkey bits. Serve warm in a gravy boat, creamer or small tea pot.
4.) Can be served immediately or prepared the day before and heated the next da
Green Bean Casserole
A Thanksgiving dinner table would not be complete without green bean casserole. It’s vegetables so it HAS to be healthy, right? Wrong. This creamy crunchy dish packs a good flavor, but the majority of the ingredients come from processed foods that are loaded with sodium and fat. Canned green beans don’t offer as many health benefits as fresh green beans either. Making small changes to this simple recipe can make a huge difference to your diet, without compromising the taste.
Standard Green Bean Casserole
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts: 197 calories, 23g carbs, 0g protein, 11g fat
Ditch the canned green beans, processed cans of soup, and deep fried onions. Try this fresher, lighter version instead
Lean Green Bean Casserole
Serving Size: 1 cup
Nutrition Facts: 110 calories, 13g carbs, 9g protein, 3g Fat
14 oz bag of frozen whole green beans or 4 cups fresh green beans
8 oz package of mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tsp. garlic, chopped
1 cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (or low fat sour cream)
1 tsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper
1 packet of Stevia (or sweetener of choice)
1 Tbsp. minced dry onion
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup panko bread crumbs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray large baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Spray a large skillet with cooking spray. Saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in ½ cup of water. Stir occasionally until the water is completely evaporated. Remove onions and mushrooms from pan and place in a medium bowl.
- Thaw out frozen green beans (if using fresh, steam green beans and clip off ends. Place in large pot of boiling water until tender, approx 5 minutes. Drain.) Add green beans to the bowl with mushrooms and onions. Cool to room temp before adding sauce mixture.
- In a small bowl, mix together sauce ingredients. Add sauce to the green beans and toss until well coated. Add everything to the prepared baking dish.
- Mix topping in a small bowl and sprinkle over top. Bake uncovered 35-40 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
- Serve warm and enjoy!
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potato casserole…. A staple in any holiday meal and one of my personal favorites. This dish finds its way onto my Thanksgiving table every year. It’s the best of both worlds. Potatoes, sugar, marshmallows… What’s not to love? Maybe the whopping 315 calories and 5 teaspoons of sugar for just one small ½ cup serving….Yikes!
This healthy alternative savours the great taste of the average casserole, but leaves out some of the extra butter and added sugar. Don’t worry though, I didn’t forget about most important part… the marshmallows. Sweet potato casserole just wouldn’t be the same without them, am I right? In the following recipe I cut the fat down over 16 grams and significantly lowered the sugar content.. All while still including marshmallows 🙂
Standard Sweet Potato Casserole:
Serving size: 1/2 cup
Nutrition facts: 315 calories, 36g carbs, 4g protein 18g fat
Ditch the excessive amounts of fat and loads of added sugar and try this tasty treat as a replacement
Skinny Sweet Potato Casserole
Serving Size: ½ cup
Nutrition Facts: 132 calories, 29.5g Carb, 1.5g protein, 2g fat
2 lbs sweet potatoes (about 5 medium), peeled
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 tsp agave
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
8 oz can unsweetened crushed pineapple, drained
2 tbsp chopped pecans
1 cup mini marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut sweet potatoes into large chunks; boil potatoes in a large pot covered with water until potatoes are soft if pierced with a fork. Drain and return to the pot.
- Mash the sweet potatoes and add in raisins, agave, spices and pineapple
- Lightly spray a pie dish, casserole dish or even individual ramekins with oil, spoon in sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with pecans and top with marshmallows. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve hot
I think we can all agree that dessert is the best part of any meal, especially Thanksgiving dinner. I would skip straight to dessert if I could! There is nothing better than a homemade pumpkin pie with mounds and mounds of whipped cream on it. If you’re going to indulge, indulge smart. On average, one slice of pumpkin pie contains over 25 grams or 6 teaspoons of sugar!! This modified recipe nearly cuts the calories, carbohydrates, fat, and sugar in half!
Standard Pumpkin Pie
Serving Size: 1 slice
Nutrition facts: 323 calories, 46g carbs, 5g protein, 13g fat
Ditch the extra carbs, fat, and sugar to make room for extra whipped cream
Guilt-Free Pumpkin Pie
Makes 10 servings
Serving Size: 1 slice
Nutrition Facts: 137 calories, 25g carbs, 3g protein, 5g fat
15 oz canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp whipped butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar, unpacked
½ cup fat free milk
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 frozen pie crust sheet
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly dust a large cutting board or flat surface with flour. Roll out room temp pie crust sheet so that it is thin enough to cut off 30%. Your final crust should weigh 5 oz.
- Place into a 9 inch pie dish, cutting off excess dough.
- Place pumpkin puree in a large bowl. Add butter and mix well.
- Use an electric mixer to combine brown sugar, milk, eggs, egg whites, spices, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth
- Pour filling into unbaked pie crust. Bake approximately 70-75 minutes or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
- Let cool, and enjoy with your favorite toppings!
Happy Turkey Day,
Coach Keri Los