7 Tricks for a Healthier Thanksgiving

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7 Tricks for a Healthier Thanksgiving
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7 Tricks for a Healthier Thanksgiving

With all the great Thanksgiving dishes to taste, chances are you’ll eat far more calories on Turkey Day than you would at a typical dinner. But if you just have a light breakfast and lunch or snack, our version of the big meal, which has less than half the calories and a quarter of the fat of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, can easily fit into a healthy 1,500- to 2,000-calorie day.

1. Turkey

Turkey doesn’t need butter or brining to be a success. The typical antidote to dry, boring turkey is to slather it with butter, which adds saturated fat, or to brine it, which starts several days in advance and is messy. Our simple solution this year is to use a rub made with miso to add a subtle, savory flavor to the turkey. Miso is a paste made from fermented soybeans; it can be found near tofu at most supermarkets.

2. Gravy

Citrus brightens up gravy. There’s no need to add fat to a gravy. Just a squeeze of fragrant Meyer lemon makes this easy pan gravy extraordinary. Meyer lemons taste like a cross between a regular lemon and an orange; they add perky citrus flavor to both the gravy and the roasted-garlic-and-lemon-rubbed turkey. They’re in season starting in November; find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

3. Creamed Onions

Creamed onions don’t need cream. It’s easy to lighten up creamed onions by using less butter and opting for low-fat milk instead of cream. But the real magic in this recipe is that we roast the onions before adding them to the sauce. This step caramelizes the onions and intensifies the flavor, which you may find sadly lacking if you go back to a traditional version.

4. Sweet Potato Casserole

Sweet potatoes need not taste like dessert. If you didn’t know better, it would be easy to mistake the classic marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole for a dessert instead of a sweet potato side dish. So we cut the butter and sugar and use evaporated milk for creaminess and crushed pineapple (with just 2 tablespoons of brown sugar) for a mellow touch of sweetness. Cut more than 400 calories and 15 grams of fat per serving!

5. Stuffing

Stuffing is best made from scratch. Instead of prepackaged stuffing mix, start with good, wholesome ingredients. This sausage stuffing has about half the calories and 87% less saturated fat than traditional sausage stuffing because we use more apples and vegetables and less bread and sausage. Plus we go with whole-wheat bread for added fiber and turkey sausage because it has less fat than regular pork sausage.

6. Green Beans

Simple is better for vegetable sides. Sure, you can spend hours on fancy vegetable dishes, but we prefer to stick with quick preparations for green vegetables (there are plenty of other dishes to spend your time on). These steamed green beans are tossed with lemon and dill and take only 15 minutes to prepare. Their clean, fresh flavor is a welcome counterpoint to the rest of the menu.

7. Pie

A slice of pie can be guilt-free. To add fiber and nutrients and keep the crust tender, we use a blend of whole-wheat pastry flour and all-purpose flour. Plus we reduce saturated fat by replacing some of the butter with heart-healthy canola oil. We use low-fat sweetened condensed milk instead of full-fat for the pumpkin filling. You still get a great-tasting pie, but with 25 grams less fat and 203 fewer calories per serving.

Continue on to view additional delicious Thanksgiving dish recommendations from Kitchen Daily.

Thin Me Up and Watch Me Go!

A healthy twist makes for a delicious Thanksgiving grilled cheese. Using fresh, oven-baked turkey (or leftovers), this is the perfect day after Thanksgiving lunch.

Love Leftovers? Try them in this sandwich: Thin Me Up and Watch Me Go!

Pear, Prosciutto and Hazelnut Stuffing

Fresh herbs and ingredients combine to make this delectable (and healthy) spin on the traditional Thanksgiving Day stuffing recipe.

A huge stuffing fan? Grab the recipe to put a twist on the traditional stuffing mix: Pear Prosciutto and Hazelnut Stuffing

Citrus Salad with Candied Ginger

Cranberry sauce is an oldie but a goodie. While we love it (and certainly know it's an essential on Thanksgiving Day), this citrus side dish offers a healthier alternative while still providing that wonderful, crisp blast of refreshing fruit.

Ready to mix it up with some citrus? Grab the recipe: Citrus Salad with Candied Ginger

Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash

This fall recipe puts a spin on traditional mashed potatoes by adding that little extra something; butternut squash. To create a healthier version, simply switch your half-n-half to a fat free version, and reduce the amount of butter used.

Want to try a new kind of mashed potato recipe? Try them: Mashed Potatoes with Butternut Squash

Green Beans with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Savory, healthy green beans are the perfect addition to any fall or Thanksgiving meal.

Enticed? Try the recipe: Green Beans with Creamy Garlic Dressing

Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic and Parsley

The perfect side dish to accompany any fall meal (including Thanksgiving!).

Want to amke the recipe? Click here: Oven-Roasted Squash with Garlic and Parsley

Turkey Nibblers

Perfect as a Thanksgiving appetizer, light lunch, or day after Thanksgiving snack.

Want to try these as a light lunch or Thanksgiving appetizer: Turkey Nibblers

Reduced Sugar Simple Pumpkin Napoleons

An excellent addition to any fall dessert spread. Whether serving and pairing with other fabulous treats, or enjoying (and devouring) over coffee or tea, it's a delectable sweet pick-me-up.

To get the recipe, click here: Reduced Sugar Simple Pumpkin Napoleons

Reduced Sugar Hot Cocoa Pudding Mugs

A light and satisfying treat that will leave you content and craving more.

Try the recipe!: Reduced Sugar Hot Cocoa Pudding Mugs

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With all the great Thanksgiving dishes to taste, chances are you'll eat far more calories on Turkey Day than you would at a typical dinner. But if you just have a light breakfast and lunch or snack, our version of the big meal, which has less than half the calories and a quarter of the fat of a traditional Thanksgiving meal, can easily fit into a healthy 1,500- to 2,000-calorie day. With a few simple changes to the classic Thanksgiving menu, our healthy Thanksgiving menu - which still includes turkey, gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, onions, green beans and pumpkin pie - saves 1,273 calories and 92 grams of fat over the traditional version.

Check out the slideshow above to see how it compares to a menu with traditional versions of these dishes.

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