5 turkey tips: Cut Thanksgiving calories in half

It is possible to avoid adding extra pounds during the holiday season.

table covered with plates of Thanksgiving dishes, including large turkey

The facts behind the fat and the holidays:  Many Americans gain four to seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

We overeat during the holiday and promise to go on a diet after the New Year; it is probably the most popular New Year’s resolution.

Health Management Resources (HMR), a national weight loss company, reports an estimated 50 percent of Americans begin diets in January.

According to Maribel Rodriguez, program director for Health Risk Management at The Austin Diagnostic Clinic, “By making some simple changes, you can enjoy special holiday foods without gaining the traditional holiday weight.”

Low-fat choices for your holiday feast

  • White means light
    The dark meat of the turkey contains more fat and calories than the white meat.
  • Pass on the gravy
    Gravy contains 60-70 calories per tablespoon.  Use a powdered gravy mix to cut calories up to 80 percent.
  • Think outside the bird
    Stuffing baked outside the turkey has half the calories of stuffing cooked inside the bird.
  • Less weight with baked
    Baked potatoes have fewer calories than mashed and much less than candied sweet potatoes.  Sour cream has one half the calories of butter.
  • Pies that don’t lie
    Pumpkin and apple pies have half the calories of pecan pie.

The following menu shows a typical Thanksgiving meal compared to a low fat holiday feast.  The HMR option contains almost as much food as the first example with less than half the calories.

And best of all, you won’t feel deprived.

side-by-side image of Thanksgiving menus

Eat Healthy & GET PHYSICAL!

You can still overeat on the holiday and not gain those excess pounds.  A helpful strategy is to increase physical activity.  Walking may be the best activity of all.

Thirty minutes of walking during the course of a day, or climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator can be the difference between whether you maintain your weight this holiday season, or whether you struggle with you weight during the year.