The holiday season has traditionally been known as a difficult time for even the most diligent of dieters. Tempting side dishes and desserts make it hard to stick to your healthy eating plan, and it would take a pretty rigorous workout to keep up with all the calories at a holiday party.
But you don’t have to negate everything you eat. With some healthy swaps this Thanksgiving, you can enjoy some of your favorite dishes without feeling guilty.
Instead of: mashed potatoes and gravy
Choose: twice-baked potatoes. Besides coming in pre-determined portions, twice-baked potatoes have only a fraction of the fat that mashed potatoes do. You can save even more calories by skipping the cheese and adding a healthy veggie like broccoli florets as a topping. Don’t think you have to stop at the filling, either. Potato skins are full of fiber and other heart-healthy nutrients.
Instead of: green bean casserole
Choose: green beans with garlic. With all the added ingredients in a casserole, it’s hard to even count the green beans as a serving of vegetables. Instead, toss green beans with olive oil and garlic for a lower-calorie option. Not a garlic fan? Try shallots or red pepper flakes, lemon, sea salt, and mint.
Instead of: traditional stuffing
Choose: stuffing with cranberries. Stuffing is usually baked within the turkey, but cooking it separately can save calories.
Instead of: pecan pie
Choose: pumpkin pie. Pecans themselves are healthy, but this sugary dessert pretty much negates its health benefits. For the least sinful dessert, choose a slice of pumpkin pie topped with low fat whipped cream. It’ll set you back only about 330 calories, as opposed to the 450 of the same amount of pecan. Not a fan of either? Our recipe for Strawberry Cheesecake is less than 200 calories per slice!