So many choices, so little time. Thanksgiving is here and so is the enormous amount of food choices we have.
When you are at dinner, there are a bunch of split-second decisions you must make when it comes to filling your plate. If you want to enjoy your meal this year, without packing on the pounds, we have clarified the healthier alternatives you should stack on your plate. So, now you’ll be prepared for the big day and know what to eat!
White Meat vs. Dark Meat
White meat. Per 3 ounces, opting for the white meat turkey breasts over the dark meat will save you 50 calories and 4 grams of fat: 115 calories and 7 grams of fat versus 160 calories and 11 grams of fat, respectively.
Turnips vs, Squash
Though turnips are slightly lower in calories, “they are not a particularly amazing source of any one thing,” says Largeman-Roth. On the other hand, the pigments that give winter squash their characteristic bright color are associated with antioxidants that have been shown to protect vision and boost the immune system.
Sweet Potato vs. White Potato
The sweet potatoes have the same beta-carotene that you find in squash, but white potatoes are good sources of potassium and have another little-known benefit. They are a richer source of “resistant starch,” a carbohydrate that is not digested so it acts more like a fiber in your body, helping you feel fuller faster. Watch how they are prepared and make your decision from there. Depending on the preparation, sweet and white potatoes can either be healthy choices or calorie-bombs.
Pumpkin or Apple Pie?
At 316 calories and 14 g of fat per slice (1/8 of a 9 inch pie), pumpkin is a slimmer choice than apple, which will cost you 411 calories and 19 g of fat for that same-size slice. One explanation for the higher calorie count: the double crust.
Traditional Sausage Stuffing or a Dinner Roll with Butter?
If you’re all about the calories, go for the dinner roll with a pat of butter, which will set you back 140 calories and 4.5 g fat, versus the 371 calories and 19 g of fat you’ll gobble down in ¾ cup of the stuffing. But if you love stuffing, go for it—maybe just go for a smaller serving—Thanksgiving comes but once a year, after all.
Jellied Cranberries or Gravy?
Surprise! Gravy is actually the skinnier selection in this case. Per ¼ cup, gravy delivers about 30 calories and 1.5 g fat, versus the cranberries, with 110 calories (and 0 g fat) per ¼ cup. Why so high? Lots of added sugars.
Brussel Sprouts vs. Green Beans
Green beans are a decent source of protein, but with the turkey, few of us will be lacking in protein on the big day. Brussels sprouts, though, are little baby cabbages, so they have all the benefits that other cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli and cauliflower, offer. Members of this food family contain compounds that fight the nation’s two top killers: cancer and heart disease.
And the most important tip of all…WATCH YOUR PORTIONS. Before you fill your plate, survey the buffet table and decide what you’re going to choose. Then select reasonable-sized portions of foods you cannot live without.
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