Nutrition Articles

21 Ways to Slim Down Your Thanksgiving Feast

Comfort Foods Without All the Calories

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Green bean casserole is a high-fat side dish that's often loaded with sodium, too. One 1/2-cup serving typically contains 120 calories, 8 grams of fat and 550 milligrams of sodium. These green bean casserole recipes cut the fat and calories in half! Here are more ways to make it healthier:
  • Use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. Per can of condensed soup, you'll save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat by going with reduced-fat version. Choose low-sodium, and you'll cut nearly 1,000 milligrams of sodium (per can) from your recipe.
  • Use water, skim milk or low-sodium chicken broth instead milk to dilute the soup.
  • Use reduced-sodium canned green beans, or thoroughly drain and rinse green beans to wash off extra salt.
Mashed potatoes boast about 220 calories and 8 grams of fat per 1-cup serving. But they often contain butter, cream, whole milk and lots of salt. These spuds weigh in at fewer than 100 calories a serving! Try these lower-calorie flavor additions as well:
  • Heat skim milk (not whole milk or cream) with some herbs and add just enough to thin the potatoes.
  • Use low-fat or fat-free varieties of sour cream, cream cheese or yogurt for added creaminess. (My mom adds roasted garlic and low-fat cream cheese. It's delicious!)
Gravy is, well, the gravy of the Thanksgiving meal! It blankets mashed potatoes with its silky deliciousness, and helps hide overcooked or dried-out turkey. Unfortunately, gravy is often little more than grease and fat, at 100 calories and 4 grams of fat for a 1/4-cup serving. It needn't do as much damage if you use these tips:
  • Significantly cut calories by skimming the fat from your pan juices. (An inexpensive kitchen tool known as a "fat separator" or "gravy separator" can make that job easier.) Skimming the fat can reduce your gravy to a low 25 calories (and less than 1 gram of fat) per serving.
  • Short on time? Carefully lay a paper towel on the top of the juices to blot the fat, or add some ice cubes to the pan juices, which will help the fat congeal faster. If you have plenty of time, put the juices in the refrigerator, then scoop off the coagulated fat when it has cooled.
  • The key to tasty gravy is using all the drippings from the roasting pan (with the fat skimmed off). This gives the gravy plenty of flavor without added fat or calories. Forgo added butter, which really bumps up the calories and fat. Continued ›
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About The Author

Stepfanie Romine Stepfanie Romine
A former newspaper reporter, Stepfanie now writes about nutrition, health, fitness and cooking. She is a certified Ashtanga yoga teacher who enjoys running, international travel and all kinds of vegetables. See all of Stepfanie's articles.



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