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Health Tips For A Low Cal, Low Sodium Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is the holiday when everyone has an excuse to stuff their faces with no regrets. But does that mean that this holiday food has to be bad for you? Of course not! There are many alternative low-fat and low-sodium recipes that can be used for your favorite Thanksgiving (or Friendsgiving!) dishes, as well as simple tips to make your special dinner much more healthy!

First, and most important, the turkey! Even though it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of things to make a turkey healthier, there are a few things you can do differently to lessen the amount of fat in your turkey recipe. If you are hosting a smaller group of people, then try getting a turkey breast instead of an entire turkey. The white meat of a turkey contains 161 calories from fat per serving, while dark meat contains around 190. This is one small thing you can do to make your Thanksgiving dinner that much healthier! Another healthy option is to spray the turkey skin with oil instead of rubbing it with butter.

Who doesn’t like gravy? Well, unfortunately, gravy is the unhealthiest part of Thanksgiving dinner. One easy but useful tip is to use oil instead of turkey drippings to make the gravy. Not only does this reduce the fat, but it cuts the cholesterol out of your recipe.

Another crowd favorite on Turkey Day is of course, the mashed potatoes. Use the water you used to boiled the potatoes instead of using cream or butter to give your potatoes the creamy texture you crave. Another idea is to add chicken broth, garlic or other herbs to your potato dish.

Thanksgiving is synonymous for amazing stuffing. Try baking the stuffing in a dish instead of stuffing the turkey with it. When the stuffing is put in the turkey it absorbs fat, which significantly adds to your Thanksgiving calorie count.

Bread can contain a lot of sodium, but we all love it! So this year when making stuffing, try making yours from scratch instead of buying it from the store. This wil cut down your sodium count by 200-300 milligrams.

Not only are these delicious foods high in fat, but they are also high in sodium, everyone’s worst enemy. Doctors recommend you consume about 1500 miligrams of sodium per day. Thanksgiving dinner can include as many as 2,000 milligrams of sodium. Think about it…you have to eat something for breakfast and possibly a small snack in the afternoon. The sodium in your system is going to eventually add up. But never fear, there are ways to decrease the amount of sodium in your Thanksgiving treats.

Anything that says, “low sodium” is your new best friend! Try finding low sodium broth for your gravy and use alternative spices such as garlic instead of adding salt to your dishes. Try substituting sweet potatos for mashed potatoes–people tend to add too much salt to their potatos while almost none needs to be added to a sweet potato casserole.

Dessert, especially pumpkin pue, is a popular Thanksgiving sweet. The most unhealthy part of pumpkin pie is the crust, so try getting a low-fat crust for your feast this year.

As you can see, although Thanksgiving has an unhealthy reputation, there are many ways to make your dinner healthier. You can reduce the salt and fat intake, as well as purchase organic products from your local grocery store. I know everyone is looking forward to some down time at home before finals, and now you have easy alternatives to make your Thanksgiving lunch, liner, or dinner healthier than ever before. Enjoy your Thanksgiving break and these new tips to ensure a lower calorie intake at your grand feast this year!

I am from Nashville, TN, and I am a freshman at Miami University.
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