Kelly Bryant, a UGA Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, offers several ways to cut calories in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner.
“When eating turkey, choose white meat instead of dark meat, which has more calories,” Bryant said. Choose half a cup of cornbread dressing instead of a full cup. Or bake sweet potatoes and then add a little brown sugar and cinnamon instead of making a casserole.
“Gravy also can add a lot of fat and calories to your meal, so beware of that,” she said. Refrigerate the gravy and skim the fat off before reheating and serving.
Bryant said drinks should supplement the meal and not be a thirst quencher.
“One cup of eggnog is about 350 calories,” she said.
Instead, choose low-fat versions of drinks, and be careful with alcohol, which can be loaded with calories.
When it comes to copious calories and fat, however, the dinner’s finale of pie and ice cream wins hands down. A slice of pecan pie can have 500 calories. That’s one-fourth of the daily allowance in a 2,000-calorie diet.
Say you do eat more than you should and the guilt is as thick as grandma’s gravy.
“Most people are sluggish after eating such a large, high-carbohydrate meal,” Bryant said. “Instead of sitting around, make it a family tradition to take a walk after your food settles. You’ll feel much better about yourself.”