By Dietitian Jill
Do you end up stuffed and groaning after Thanksgiving dinner? I remember one year where the food was just so good I actually ended up on the floor underneath my antique oak dining room table … half in an overeating stupor and the other half a bit toasted.
And that was the year where I cooked the whole meal myself. I must admit I love my cooking … Most of us … me included … tend to pull out all the stops … and wear drawstring pants … on Thanksgiving and other holidays.
But here’s some wake-up advice from my fave website (and books) Eat This, Not That! Their whole idea is … if you make better choices for some of the things you eat … especially at this time of year … that you’ll lose weight.
This year, I’m publishing this early enough for those who are cooking to make better choices. If you’re eating (and who isn’t!), this guide might also help you opt for less fat and calories for some of your holiday foods. That’s why I’ve divided these best and worst into food categories. And you can access the entire Eat This, Not That! article here if you want to know more.
If the nutritional analysis … especially of calories, sugar, and fat … doesn’t deter you from eating some of these, I don’t know what will. Of course … you can choose to roll on the floor … but me … I would opt for a little less than that this Thanksgiving … because I’m heading for an Hispanic traditional meal with 20 people …
I thought I’d start here first because I’m always dreaming about it … it’s often about the only time I get pumpkin pie all year … and I love it … it’s also the …
BEST: Pumpkin Pie 1/8th pie: 192 calories, 6.3 g fat (2.8 g saturated fat), 230 mg sodium, 29.6 g carbs, (1.5 fiber, 25.3 g sugar), 5.4 g protein
WORST: Pecan Pie 1/8th pie: 645 calories, 40.6 g fat (15.4 g saturated fat), 348 mg sodium, 66.2 g carbs, (3.5 g fiber, 34 g sugar), 8 g protein
Even with the best of these, it’s a good idea to go light on the butter and use lower-fat or alternative milks like soy or almond … especially in the …
BEST: Mashed Potatoes ¾ cup serving: 214 calories, 10.5 g fat (6.5 g saturated fat), 111 mg sodium, 27.4 g carbs, (3.4 g fiber, 1.2 g sugar), 3 g protein
WORST: Mac and Cheese ¾ cup serving: 408 calories, 22.6 g fat (13.8 g saturated fat), 341 mg sodium, 32.6 g carbs, (1.5 g fiber, 5.3 g sugar), 17.6 g protein
I know we think that veggies are the least fat- and calorie-laden of all dishes, but many holiday veggies are just dripping. I always serve green beans amandine (steamed with a small dollop of butter [or walnut or coconut oil] and toasted slivered almonds) with my holiday meals [also easy-peasy]). Here are their picks … and you’ll be surprised at the worst (hint … hint … it’s the dressing …)
BEST: Peas and Pearl Onions ½ cup serving: 90 calories, 5 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 95 mg sodium
WORST: Salad with Croutons and Italian Dressing ½ cup serving 240 calories, 12 g fat (4 g saturated), 390 mg sodium
I couldn’t imagine Thanksgiving without it … after all … it’s supposedly what the Pilgrims ate (but when you research it they also ate goose, duck, wild game, and shellfish for entrees) … and it’s probably no surprise that the best and worst are …
BEST: Skinless White Meat 3 oz: 108 calories, 1.8 g fat (0.5 g saturated fat), 0 g carbs, (88 mg sodium, 0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 23 g protein
WORST: Dark Meat with Skin 3 oz: 175 calories, 8.4 g fat (2.5 g saturated fat), 0 g carbs, (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 89 mg sodium, 23 g protein
TURKEY TOPPERS (Stuffing, Cranberry Sauce, Gravy)
WORST: Veggie Stuffing ¾ cup serving: 323 calories, 17.1 g fat (10.3 g saturated fat), 685 mg sodium, 36.1 g carbs, (2.9 g fiber, 5.6 g sugar), 7.9 g protein Yes … this was really a surprise to me, but Eat This, Not That! explained that, in order to add flavor, most veggie stuffing is full of fat … so maybe my Paleo cornbread-sausage stuffing that weighs in at about 175 calories for a ½ cup serving isn’t such a bad idea for a bring-along (my quick bread tip … I make the Paleo cornbread with a little less fat than they recommend) …
BEST: Mushroom Gravy 4 Tbsp serving: 27 calories, 2 g fat (1.2 g saturated fat), 174 mg sodium, 1.6 g carbs, (0 g fiber, 0 g sugar), 1.2 g protein … but don’t forget … a staple on my table forever that beats canned and jarred stuff hands down …
2ND BEST: Homemade Cranberry Sauce 4 Tbsp serving: 74 calories, 0 g fat (0 g saturated fat), 31 mg sodium, 17.8 g carbs, (1.3 g fiber, 15.6 g sugar), 0 g protein
Since the average holiday meal (oh … don’t forget the appetizers, dinner rolls or cornbread slathered in butter, and all those pies that everyone brings … not to mention the flowing wine, champagne and apperitifs …) can weigh in at 3,500 TO 4,000 CALORIES … it might be a good idea to choose lower-cal stuff in some of these categories … if you do, you may not even have to wear drawstring pants!
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