It's that time of year when not only the turkey gets stuffed, but our bellies get stuffed as well. So before you commit yourself to a day of gluttony and house hopping to taste all the irresistible treats and sweets, you might consider that there are a lot of healthy options that are actually good for you.
Below are 8 guilt-free choices for you to enjoy for a happy and healthy Thanksgiving feast:
1. Lean turkey breast meat is one of the healthiest things you can load up on. Even the dark meat only adds an extra gram of fat and 9 more calories per ounce. If you enjoy loading up on the gravy, dip the tines of your fork in the gravy before you spear your meat to get more flavor with less fat. Remember when cooking your bird to baste it with broth not butter to keep the fat and calories low.
2. Cranberries contain a chemical that helps stop tooth decay. These tart little berries are bursting with nutrition, including high levels of vitamin C and are good for inhibiting the growth of harmful bacteria in the bladder and urethra. If preparing fresh cranberry sauce, try cooking the whole, natural berries with orange juice and a little Grand Marnier to bring out their flavor without over-sweetening them with the sugar.
3. Yams (not to be confused with sweet potatoes) are great sources of Vitamin B6, which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Candying the yams, a popular Thanksgiving tradition is loaded with sugar and fat. Try roasting the yams in the oven with a little cinnamon and clarified butter (no fat in clarified butter). Serve a side of warmed maple syrup at the table for guests who want a candied taste.
4. Collard Greens are a natural weight-loss food and great side dish to load up on. A pot of stewed or sauteed collard greens are a great addition to your potpourri of vegetables offered this Thanksgiving. Collard greens are loaded with disease fighting beta-carotene and offer respectable amounts of vitamin C, calcium and fiber. All these attributes makes cooking greens a wise choice for a healthy selection. Try to avoid adding the bacon grease and fatty meats when cooking for flavor. Consider cooking your greens in chicken or vegetable broth with plenty of sliced onion, garlic and bay leaves for great flavor and you'll have one healthy and nutritious side dish.
5. Salad will keep you full before you start piling your plate full of other Thanksgiving goodies. Load up on green-leafy lettuces and not the cream based macaroni salad or mayonnaise-laden potato salad. By placing more salad on your plate it allows smaller scoop fulls of other items to fit on your plate. Plus you'll get full faster and will feel satisfied and guilt-free.
6. White Wine Spritzers make the magic of having a sociable cocktail all the more pleasurable. When it comes to light tasting, refreshing alcoholic beverages none does the job better than quenching your thirst with a white wine spritzer. When offered a glass of white wine this Thanksgiving, have your host or bartender pour you a half a glass of wine topped with soda water and a twist of lemon. That's it! Considering an 8oz. glass of white wine has approximately 150 calories and since soda water contains 0 calories as it is merely carbonated water, you can ascertain that a white wine spritzer contains about only 80 calories per glass. So have a glass and enjoy!
7. Pumpkin Pie has as much beta carotene as an entire carrot. It's also high in vitamin C. Unfortunately it is high in fat content and sugar. But if you're making the pie, try substituting soy milk for cream or sweetened condensed milk. You can even add silken tofu to thicken the pie filling and provide extra health benefits. The taste is unbelievably good!
8. H20 is an excellent fat-free and calorie free way to fill up! Water, water, water!!! A good thing to always remember is to drink plenty of water before you start eating and in between eating your meal. By doing this you fill up fast and won't be so compelled to pile your plate with some of those tempting choices over and over again.