Cook Fast, Live Young: Making Healthy Thanksgiving 2011 Dinner Choices


Thanksgiving is a day for indulgence. After all, that’s what feasts are for. But even if you’re cheating on Turkey Day, you can make a few easy choices that can help make them just a little healthier. Did I mention it’s easy? So why not give it a try, or at least give it some consideration when preparing your menu. Go for the white meat. And make it skinless. Three slices have just around 100 calories. Not too bad! Dark meat on the other hand has double the calories.

Avoid the stuffing. Or if that’s impossible, take a small serving. Stuffing is high in calories and sodium but low in nutrients.

Don’t add marshmallows. It’s a common ingredient in sweet potato casserole, but it adds very little in the way of nutritional value. Use some cinnamon instead.

Indulge in gravy. Yeah, I said it. Gravy gets a bad rap, but it doesn’t have as much fat as you imagine. There’s just about one gram per ounce, and a ¼ cup is around 50 calories.

Select the pumpkin pie. It’s the lower calorie option when compared to other seasonal favorites, like pecan pie. Instead of ice cream, top it with low-fat whipped cream.

Make fresh cranberry sauce. The canned variety is high in sugar and low in nutrients. If you make your own with fresh cranberries and 100% juice, it can actually be a healthy option. (Not to mention, it tastes better!)

What are your tricks and tips for making Thanksgiving a healthier holiday?

Juliana Weiss-Roessler has ten years of professional writing and editing experience. For four years, she managed the web content for the star of an Emmy-nominated reality series. Currently, she is an editor for the geek girl e-zine, a contributor to the career blog at, and owner of the food blog Follow her @cookfast on Twitter and learn more about her work at

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  1. ChuckG

    4 years ago

    I tried to make my own cranberry sauce and I discovered I wasn’t very good at it. I remember a chef on TV once stated to stuff onions inside turkey for aroma. I love the white meat!!!

  2. AngeliqueToschi

    4 years ago

    Regarding stuffing – one way to help w/portion control is to cook the stuffing in muffin tins.

    Also Cranberry and Orange relish is DELISH and just requires a food processor OR blender.

  3. stella.louise

    4 years ago

    @Angelique: I love the stuffing muffin suggestion. Sounds delicious!


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