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6 Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Easy ways to cut calories and fat without sacrificing flavor in your favorite holiday recipes.

WebMD Feature from "EatingWell"

6 Tips for a Healthier ThanksgivingThanksgiving is all about abundance. Everyone wants to bring their favorite dish, or needs to have both pumpkin and apple pie (with whipped cream on top). With all the rich choices, there’s a distinct chance that Thanksgiving will turn into overindulgence. You’ll be staggering away from the table, barely able to move. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With reasonable portion sizes and healthier dishes that don’t sacrifice flavor, Thanksgiving dinner can still be joyful, delicious and healthy.

1. Add flavor, not fat. Many recipes suggest rubbing the bird with butter before roasting. If you roast a turkey without overcooking, it won’t dry out—there’s no need to rub it with butter beforehand. Skip it and avoid adding extra saturated fat. Try chopped fresh herbs and garlic mixed with a little heart-healthy olive oil instead.

2. Avoid added salt. We've found that conventional turkeys (with added salt solution) do stay moister but if you’re watching your sodium intake, avoid them.

3. Skip the skin. A 3-ounce portion of light meat without skin has only 132 calories and 3 grams of fat. With the skin, that jumps to 168 calories and 6 grams of fat. (Dark meat has more calories but also more iron: three ounces of dark meat supplies 15% of the recommended daily intake of iron; white meat has only 8%.)

4. Broth is better. Many traditional stuffing recipes call for butter. Use a bit of chicken broth instead to keep it moist without the added fat or calories.

5. Hold the sugar. Sweet potatoes are already sweet, so why load them up with brown sugar and marshmallows when just a touch of maple syrup or honey accentuates their great flavor?

6. Forgo the butter. The key to tasty gravy is using all the drippings from the roasting pan (with the fat skimmed off). This gives plenty of flavor without the added fat or calories. Forgo added butter, which really bumps up the calories and fat.

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