With Thanksgiving right around the corner everyone is set to head home to indulge in some holiday feasting. As tempting as it will be to dive directly into the dinner table, some of us prefer to be a bit more tamed when it comes to putting on the holiday pounds.
Here are five simple food swap solutions if you would rather keep those extra unwanted pounds off and still have a magnificent turkey day this year.
Green Bean Casserole- Most people think just because there is green in the dish that it is healthy, but that is where they are wrong. Most green bean casserole recipes call for processed ingredients, such as butter, canned cream of mushroom soup, canned French-fried onions and fried green beans that adds up to a very high amount of sodium and fat. A healthier way to still keep some greens on your plate that still makes your meal tasty is to substitute the casserole for brussels sprouts. Although not everyone is a fan brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C, fiber, and a compound that may fight cancer. A one cup serving of green bean casserole has about 142 calories and 8 grams of fat and that's just one serving!
Stuffing- Considerably one of the most famous sides on the Thanksgiving dinner table, stuffing is one of the biggest silent killers. When you think about it, how can any of us expect to stay within our dieting limits if we indulge on a dish that consists mainly of bread, butter and in some cases sausage. Some healthy alternatives are to avoid using boxed stuffing and white breads and use substitutes such as cranberries, apples, and mushrooms as a bread replacement. This could save you up to 300 calories per serving
Gravy- The best way to define gravy is the fat and drippings from the turkey, so it should come as no surprise that moderation is key when the gravy train is headed your way. Adding a corn-starch or a similar substance to thicken up the gravy makes it even worse for you. Just a quarter cup of it can contain 262 calories, 26 grams of carbs and 18 grams of fat. A better alternative to this would be to switch out white flour or cornstarch for low-carbohydrate thickeners such as chickpea flour. Better still an organic mustard is a great substitute for a topping and an easy to save on the calories and fat.
Pecan Pie- Pecan Pie is another cult classic for Thanksgiving that also has a dark side. When people think Pecan Pie, they think well if it has pecans it has to be healthy but unfortunately that is not the case. The sugar, butter, and other carbohydrates those pecans are mixed with makes this desert one of the unhealthiest stops on the table. A healthier substitute would be pumpkin pie. Pumpkin has a wonderful natural sweetness and you can use spices like cinnamon and nutmeg to add sweetness to the filling before baking.
Honey Roasted Ham- Although ham is not the traditional centerpiece for a Thanksgiving dinner, it is definitely a very popular holiday dish. The only things it really does for you is makes you feel full faster for longer and provide a source of protein but extremely high in fat. Many recipes for honey roasted ham call for large amounts of sugar too that is sure to go straight to your waistline. For Thanksgiving, it’s better to stick to the traditional name “Turkey Day” and have yourself a nice oven roasted turkey. Turkey is also a great source of protein whilst also providing the body with iron, zinc, and potassium.
Emma Taylor, founder of the Aussie 123 Diet www.usa123diet.com