Thanksgiving is a time to count our blessings and indulge in some good old-fashioned comfort food. It’s one of the few times during the year when most people don’t think twice about going for second helpings of homemade mashed potatoes and turkey. These indulgences, while delicious, can temporarily derail your healthy eating habits. However, a few healthy Thanksgiving “swaps” will help you enjoy your favorite holiday foods while keeping your healthy habits going strong.


TURKEY TRADE


Instead of rubbing the turkey with butter, which is heavy in saturated fat, season it with fresh herbs and lemon juice instead. Fresh chopped thyme, sage and rosemary all work well with turkey. Add a bit of kosher salt and a tablespoon of olive oil to round out the flavors. Remember, no matter how you season your turkey, it should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety.


STUFFING SWAP


Try using whole grain bread crumbs for your stuffing. Whole grains contain more fiber than their white bread counterpart. If using a store-bought chicken or vegetable broth in your stuffing recipe, opt for a low-sodium variety. If you’re considering stuffing your turkey, err on the side of caution. Bacteria, like salmonella, may be transferred from the raw turkey to the stuffing when placed inside the bird. For food safety, consider cooking your stuffing in a separate dish.


MASHED POTATOES MIX-UP


They are a family favorite, but mashed potatoes can be filled with calories. For a lighter take, try using skim or 1% milk instead of whole milk. Season your potatoes generously with pepper and a bit of salt. Some people like to add sour cream into their mashed potato recipe. Use Greek yogurt instead – it gives a similar creaminess with less fat and more protein. You can even substitute half of your potatoes with cooked cauliflower. Just blend both together when mixing.


YOUR JUST DESSERTS


What would Thanksgiving dinner be without a delicious slice of pie for a sweet ending to the meal? When choosing between apple and pumpkin pie, go with the pumpkin. Pumpkin pie contains fiber and vitamin A. In order to lighten up a pumpkin pie recipe, use evaporated skim milk in place of heavy cream or half and half.


SMALLER BITES


Portion control is also important. Take smaller servings of everything you really want, eat slowly, and savor each bite. It is not about how much food you eat; it is about how much you enjoy the food. Smaller portions can help lighten up a heavy meal without sacrificing taste or wrecking your diet.


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