Let’s Talk Turkey

By: Red Hot Mamas

Published: November 14, 2022

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual”.

Henry David Thoreau

Dear Red Hot Mamas.

Let’s talk turkey. If your waistline is dreading the advent of Thanksgiving dinner, don’t despair. It is possible to have an enjoyable holiday dinner without gaining weight and without skipping out on the turkey and many of your favorite side dishes.

Oh, how we love our side dishes! Most of the side dishes we are so fond of are healthy foods. Think about all the good vitamins and nutrients found in sweet potatoes, cranberries, green beans and all the other vegetables that are usually on the table. Give the butter the boot and kick the cream to the curb. These vegetable items really don’t have to be loaded with extra calories (butter and cream) to be tasty.

Can’t give up the stuffing and gravy? I can’t either. It is difficult to have Thanksgiving without these two calorie-crammed key ingredients. Serve up lower fat versions of these favorites. Strain the fat from the gravy drippings and leave out the butter or roux. Try using cornstarch or flour, fresh herbs, and a little wine for flavor. For the stuffing, leave out the butter, use a fat-free broth and add some fresh veggies instead of meats. Cook it separately from the bird. The turkey drippings are extra calories and extra fattening.

Choosing white meat over dark meat has its advantages. Three ounces of white meat (without the skin) has about 120 calories and 1 gram of fat. Dark meat has about 160 calories and six grams of fat (two of which are saturated) for a three-ounce serving size.

Easy does it. Take everything in moderation. Too much of a good thing can be bad; especially when talking about food!

Here are some tips to take to the table:

  • Don’t overeat. Keep your portion sizes to a minimum. A good rule of thumb is to limit the portions to no more than half a cup (a quarter of a cup for the stuffing). And that doesn’t mean eating 12 sides! Try limiting yourself to one or two this year.
  • Hand out smaller plates and certainly not gigantic plates filled with high calorie foods.
  • Lose the unnecessary, fattening rolls and butter. And, possibly consider not even serving them.
  • Take it easy on the appetizers. Opt for a few fresh veggies or fruits or nuts.
  • Don’t starve yourself before dinner. People tend to overeat at Thanksgiving dinner because they haven’t eaten all day. While you’re watching football, munch on a few of the healthy offerings.
  • Limit your alcohol consumption. It’s so easy to become consumed by the celebrating and forget all about your limits when it comes to drinking. Drink water before dinner instead of wine. That way, you’ll feel fuller when you eat, and you’ll also be able to have a glass of wine with dinner!
  • If you can’t resist indulging in mashed potatoes, try using fat-free milk and fat-free sour cream instead of butter and heavy cream.
  • Avoid topping your veggies with butter or cheesy sauces. Remember, veggies are good for you except when they are slathered in all the fat!
  • Make the right dessert decisions. A slice of pumpkin pie has about 316 calories (with 130 of them from fat) whereas a slice of pecan pie is about 503 calories (244 of them from fat). Whoa! There are a lot of calories but if you’re planning on dessert, just keep them in mind.
  • Limiting some of these options listed above may also be a good way to control the costs at the grocery store!

Please keep in mind that Thanksgiving is not all about food. We all should not forget to be thankful for the people that are closest to us. And, tell them how thankful you are for them and show them your gratitude.

In closing, the Red Hot Mamas are thankful for so many things and they all begin with you!! We will keep you close in our hearts on Thanksgiving and all the days that follow.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones.

Good Health to You,

Karen Giblin