Planning Your Thanksgiving Dinner

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How to Put Together a Big Feast

If Thanksgiving feasting leaves you worried about eating too much carbs and fat-laden food, or simply overeating, you can use some of theses tips to help you enjoy Thanksgiving without expanding your waistline.

Keep in mind that many of the traditional foods served during Thanksgiving are perfectly healthful.

It's what we do to them that loads them with extra calories and fat. And there are some really easy ways to cut back on calories.

Just imagine yourself getting up from the table feeling less stuffed than the turkey. And no overeat hangover afterwards!

Make a list of the foods you simply cannot do without. I've noted steps which can be made ahead of time to lighten the load on Thanksgiving Day.

Here are some versions of traditional favorites and ways to re-think Thanksgiving:

  • Turkey is obviously the low-carb star of the meal and has little fat. It is full of protein and is an important source of B vitamins. Just remove the skin first and turkey breast will be your best bet.

    Did you know that a three-ounce serving of skinless turkey breast has about 120 calories and 1 gram of fat?

    A three-ounce skinless serving of Dark meat instead, delivers around 160 calories and six grams of fat (two grams of which are saturated).

  • Avoid butter or cheesy sauces on Vegetables. They should be steamed or roasted. You can skip the fried onion rings on top of the green beans (use toasted almonds or walnuts instead if you wish). For flavor use vinaigrette dressings or herbs. Enjoy some sweet Glazed Acorn Squash Rings, some Saut�ed Green Beans, some Roasted Carrots and Parsnips, or some Cider-Glazed Brussels Sprouts.

  • Would you consider scaling back some of the traditional side dishes?

    Did you ever tried plain roasted yams with salt, pepper and butter? They are really delicious even without a pile of marshmallows on top. And instead of a rich vegetable casserole, you can use a simpler vegetable side dish, such as green beans with almonds.

    And that's not all! You can have a simple saut�ed mushrooms and pepper dish, or a salad with a cranberry vinaigrette dressing. Doesn't it sound great?

  • Have you decided to eat more carbohydrates than usual?

    Then consider holding off until you get to the table! Use vegetables with dip, cucumber rounds instead of crackers for spreads, and peanuts or other nuts for instead of chips. It can be great way cut on carbs :o)

  • Did you know that sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, potassium and fiber? If you leave out the butter and excess sugar and instead use orange juice and a sprinkling of brown sugar for flavor you'll have delicious meal. Try these low fat Mashed Sweet Potatoes and try to limit your portion size to no more than half a cup.

  • You can have Regular potatoes that are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. Make it the butter and heavy cream free in Mashed Potatoes, and use either reduced sodium, fat-free chicken broth or fat-free milk and sour cream instead. You can flavor with garlic, fresh herbs and ground black pepper. Just to remind you, keep your portion size small.

  • Do you love Cranberries? They are a great source of vitamin C, and contain compounds that are believed to block certain bacteria that cause infections. try to add oranges to make Cranberry Orange Sauce and you add even more vitamin C.

  • Pumpkin - it is a terrific source of beta-carotene and fiber. Enjoy a lighter crust Pumpkin Pie by using phyllo dough. Use egg whites, or egg substitute, and fat-free evaporated milk in the filling.

  • And here it goes... appetizers - have plenty of fresh vegetables on hand. Use low-fat or fat-free sour cream and yogurt for dips. Delicious low-fat dips can include Spinach Dip or some salsas, including this Mango Black Bean Salsa. Have homemade baked pita chips or tortilla chips to go with them. Nuts and dried fruits make great snacks, too.

  • low-carb appetizers - The following can be good choices: dill pickle spears or chips, sugar-free gherkins or bread and butter pickles (Mt. Olive is one brand), olives, marinated artichokes, Italian hot peppers (make it sweeter by adding some artificial sweetener to the brine), roasted red peppers, radish blossoms, baby carrots, and celery sticks.


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