Have a Thin Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time to remember when the Pilgrims gave “thanks” to God for the wonderful harvest after their first winter in America. That was almost four hundred years ago. Now, Thanksgiving represents a break from school, the beginning of holiday shopping and, most importantly, a big feast. Thanksgiving is a day when eating is considered a sport and “being full” is a mindset, not a reality. For those of you who don’t want to gain an extra chin, there are lower-fat options for Thanksgiving. I say lower fat because, let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is a big meal in most households, and not partaking in the holiday spirit is unexciting and often impossible.

According to experts at iVillage, “the average Thanksgiving meal contains about 3,000 calories. A 160-pound person would have to walk 30 miles to burn that off. Eeeeeks!” “Eek!” is right. Can you imagine walking 30 miles just to burn off one meal? I can’t. In retrospect one day of eating is not going to turn you into a rolly-polly; however, there are ways to cut calories in a few hidden places. That way, when Grandma brings out the dessert, you don’t have to turn your head while your cousins scarf down three pieces.

So let’s begin with the first course. Luckily, turkey is a low-calorie, protein-filled food that also puts you right to sleep so your stomach can have a rest. However, white meat is far more calorie-conscience than dark meat. Four ounces (half a cup) of white meat contains only about 150 calories, while the same amount of dark meat contains 250 calories. No one eats just four ounces of turkey on Thanksgiving; a normal person eats about eight ounces (that’s being kind). Right there you have 300 calories. That sounds a lot better than 500 calories. Switching from dark to white meat saves your body extra calories that will surely be made up for later in the meal.

Shy away from yams and embrace the solitary sweet potato. While yams might taste better (hint: marshmallows); sweet potatoes are still delicious, filling and, most importantly, lower in fat. A single sweet potato contains only around 140 calories and an added bonus is the vitamin A, vitamin C, iron and fiber that accompany that tiny amount of calories. With this wonderful orange vegetable, you can get your fill of vitamins, fill up your stomach and still have calories left over for dessert. Everyone knows that once dessert arrives, it doesn’t matter how full you are. There is always room for dessert.

When dessert arrives, you won’t have to feel guilty for eating a piece of pumpkin pie. Nixing the yams and dark meat has saved you many hundreds of calories. However, if you want to be even more health-conscious, try some vanilla frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. One cup of regular vanilla ice cream has anywhere from 300 to 440 calories while one cup of vanilla frozen yogurt has 90 calories. Frozen yogurt tastes almost the same as ice cream, and the amount of calories you’ll save is worth the slight taste difference.

Cutting out unnecessary calories will lead to a thin Thanksgiving!