As Thanksgiving approaches, you may be already planning what foods you’ll be serving at the big meal. It’s no secret that most people pack on a pound or two at this single meal due to the sheer volume and type of food they consume.
This year, things can go differently. With a little smart planning ahead of time, you can serve foods that’ll not only please your taste buds, but your health and fitness plan as well.
Let’s walk you through six smart Thanksgiving meal make-overs that’ll help you stay fit as the holidays come around.
Calorie Offender: Traditional Mashed Potatoes
Clean Swap: Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are one of the worst calorie offenders at your Thanksgiving table. Not only are they a relatively simple carbohydrate, but they are often loaded with extra butter, really tallying up a high level of total calories.
The good news is that there are alternatives. Try mashed sweet potatoes, which are a healthier source of carb and can be made using some plain almond milk and a dash of coconut oil.
Add a little salt and pepper along with some cinnamon or paprika (depending on the taste direction you want to go) and you’ll be all set.
These will mash up just like any standard potato and you’ll hardly notice the difference. In fact, you may just find that you prefer these over the regular version.
Calorie Offender: Traditional Stuffing
Clean Swap: Rice ‘Stuffing’
Another place where calories like to lurk is in stuffing. Traditionally made inside the turkey, you can expect a very high dose of calories with this one as all the fat from the turkey seeps into the stuffing.
Instead, try making the stuffing outside of the turkey. Rather than using breadcrumbs, swap this for some rice instead, adding some sliced celery and onions, panfried in just a tablespoon of butter along with some herbs such as thyme, sage, parsley, and garlic. Toss in a few dried cranberries and you’ll have a delicious side that won’t be forgotten.
Calorie Offender: Pumpkin Pie
Clean Swap: Protein Pudding
When dessert rolls around, many people look forward to serving up the traditional pumpkin pie. And while pumpkin on its own is quite healthy, when made into pie format, it’s anything but.
Why not try something totally different this year? You can use KAGED MUSCLE KASEIN powder to create a delicious pudding recipe, mixing in some canned pumpkin, cinnamon, and allspice to create a similar effect.
Then top with some crushed pecans or walnuts for added crunch and it’s one dessert you can feel great about eating.
Calorie Offender: Red Wine
Clean Swap: Sparkling Water with Berries
If you typically serve wine with your Thanksgiving meal, the calories are going to add up. Combining alcohol at a time when you are already taking in a lot of food is a sure-fire recipe for fat gain.
Instead, make your own special beverage by mixing some sparkling water with some fresh berries. This will have just a hint of flavor and the carbonation may even make it feel like you’re drinking champagne. Serve this in your standard champagne or wine glasses and you’ll hardly miss that bottle of wine.
Calorie Offender: Gravy
Clean Swap: Pesto
Rather than serving up gravy this year to help add moisture to the turkey, why not try serving up some home made pesto? Or, if you don’t have time to prepare that, salsa can work well also.
Salsa will offer a great dose of antioxidants, while keeping the total calorie content down. At just 6 calories per oz., you can apply this liberally on your plate without worry.
Calorie Offender: Deep Fried Appetizers
Clean Swap: Grilled Zucchini
Finally, finishing up with your starters, rather than serving deep fried finger foods, why not try grilled zucchini? Brush the thinly sliced zucchini pieces with a little olive oil and then season with whatever spices you prefer. Then bake this until the outside is crispy and serve immediately with a little dip made from Greek yogurt, low fat mayonnaise, and fresh dill and garlic.
It’ll be a starter that just about every guest enjoys.
So as you can see, there’s no reason to go overboard this Thanksgiving and take in the hundreds, if not thousands, of calories that many people do. Lighten up your dinner and you’ll enjoy yourself and walk away with your nutrition plan intact.