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On a Diet? You can Still Enjoy Thanksgiving

by Karen Massey, INTEGRIS registered licensed dietitian

If you're on a diet, you might be worried about Thanksgiving and the extra calories. Karen Massey, a registered licensed dietition with INTEGRIS, gives tips on how to alter some of your recipes to reduce the amount of calories and fat. But ultimately, Thanksgiving is a special occasion and one day is not going to wreck your diet. So indulge in a piece of pie or your favorite dessert and have a happy Thanksgiving.
Hi, I'm Karen Massey, a registered dietitian with INTEGRIS Health and Community Wellness. Today we're talking about Thanksgiving and it is right around the corner. The good thing about the Thanksgiving meal is it does require pre-planning, if for no other reason than to thaw the turkey. When we think about the food groups that are in the Thanksgiving meal, historically we include foods from every food group. Turkey representing a good protein source. Often green bean casserole or another vegetable, fruit from cranberries or maybe the pies, and usually there's quite a selection of starches or a starchy vegetables and even dairy products in the menu. And so inherently the menu is well designed from a nutrition perspective. Probably there are little things we can do just to sneak out some calories without really altering the menu or anyone being the wiser. And so simple things, a general rule of thumb on a lot of recipes, casseroles, soups, stews, the like, you can cut out about a third of an ingredient that has excess calories like fat or sugar. For example, if your cranberry recipe calls for a cup of sugar, you can probably get away with using only 2/3 cup and no one will be the wiser. If one of your casserole dishes, maybe stuffing, has you to sauté the onions in four tablespoons of butter, it'd be pretty easy to just use two or three tablespoons or maybe even steam the onions in broth, saving a lot of calories and again will never be noticed in the final product. There are some recipes you can't cut the calories out of. Fine pastries, pie crust, things that are fragile like cookies, you can't manipulate the amount of fat or sugar because the product won't be tender and flaky. And for those things really I would just advise you to enjoy them as they are and really celebrate that holidays are special occasions. And sometimes it's best just to give ourselves permission to enjoy one slice of pecan pie after the meal with everyone else and just set out with that goal in mind and realize that one day is not going to undermine our nutrition or cause us to gain a lot of weight. And the holidays deserve that special time because traditions go back many centuries and every culture since the beginning of time has celebrated special events with special foods. So enjoy your holiday and clip calories where you can

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