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 Honey Walnut, Goat Cheese Cranberry Salad

This Thanksgiving do you want to enjoy your favorite dishes without packing on the pounds? Do you struggle between serving a dish that is healthy or one that is full of flavor? Not to worry, you can have both! Make a few simple changes to your Thanksgiving dishes and habits that will add up to a healthier meal for everyone!

  1. Eat Breakfast. Many of us skip breakfast on Thanksgiving so that we have enough room for all of the food that we are going to eat at dinner. This is a bad plan. Start your day off right with a sensible breakfast to fuel all of your Thanksgiving Day activities. This stop you from overeating at the dinner table due to ravenous hunger. You will also interact better with your loved ones if you are not cranky and hungry!

  2. Fill one plate the right way. As you choose what to put on your Thanksgiving dinner plate, try to fill at least half of it with dishes that are made with fresh fruit or vegetables. Then use the other half for dishes that are higher in calories or fat. Try to serve yourself sensible portions. If you do not have enough room on your plate for everything, think about putting some of the dishes you missed aside and eating them for a different meal.

  3. Divide and Conquer. If there are too many favorite dishes for one meal, split your Thanksgiving dinner over a few days. Serve some of your favorites at each meal. Prioritize which dishes you want to serve when you have guests and which you can save for a meal with immediate family or housemates.

  4. Take a Break. If possible, do not eat dessert immediately after you finish Thanksgiving dinner. Get up and move around. Spend time with your guests away from the table. Then, when you are hungry again it will be time to serve dessert and you can enjoy it!

  5. Slow Down. Take the time to enjoy what you are eating. Don’t rush through your plate. Thanksgiving dinner shouldn’t be a race. It is a time to spend with loved ones.

  6. Keep It Fresh. As much as possible, use fresh ingredients. Foods that are processed, or over-processed, tend to be higher in calories. Include dishes made from fresh fruits and vegetables instead of canned or frozen.

  7. Cut the Fat. Swap low-fat for full fat dairy products throughout your meal. This includes cheese, sour cream, whipping cream, and butter. If you are looking for a good substitution for full fat butter, try light butter, which is usually a blend of butter and canola oil. Fat-free Greek yogurt is an excellent and delicious substitution for sour cream or mayonnaise in your favorite recipes.

  8. Bake It Right. Instead of using oil or butter in your Thanksgiving cakes and cookies, try to use apple sauce or mashed bananas. Test out your recipe before the big day to make sure that you get the proportions right. If you are baking with chocolate chips, use a ¼ less than the recipe calls.

  9. Watch Out for Hidden Calories. As you prepare your favorite salads, remember that salad dressings are often full of calories. Look for dressings that are low-calorie or use freshly squeezed citrus juices to dress your salad greens.

  10. Trim Your Meat. Remove any skin or visible fat from your meat before you eat it. Refrigerate your gravy about 30 minutes. The fat will harden and come to the top, making it easy to remove with a spoon. Then you can reheat it to serve.

Remember that Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy with loved ones. Be conscious of how you are eating, but allow yourself to enjoy the food you have prepared and the people you are spending Thanksgiving with.