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50 Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking Tips and Tricks

Thanksgiving Cooking Tips

Thanksgiving is notoriously known as the day for overindulgence of unhealthy foods. Here are 50 tips for making popular recipes healthier and how not to overeat during this time.

50 Healthy Thanksgiving Cooking Tips and Tricks

  1. Save the water from boiling your potatoes. Use it instead of cream and butter to mash your potatoes.
  2. Want a turkey that is raised humanely? Find a local farmer that has heritage, organic, or sustainable turkeys for sale.
  3. Remove a big portion of fat in a pie by using a reduced-fat graham cracker crust or a crust-free pumpkin pie recipe.
  4. Make baked goods healthier by replacing white flour with whole wheat flour. Almost all recipes with white flour can be replaced with wheat.
  5. Use unsweetened applesauce instead of oil in sweet breads like pumpkin or banana bread. Your bread will be slightly sweet without the fat.
  6. To help avoid overeating, serve your food on a small appetizer plate. Step away from the food table to keep from filling your plate multiple times.
  7. Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water or low calorie drinks before any holiday celebration to keep from overindulging.
  8. Swap Greek yogurt for sour cream in recipes like dip and dressing. With half the fat and calories, the taste and texture are similar.
  9. BYO vegetables and other healthy foods to Thanksgiving dinners that you know will only offer foods filled with fat and calories.
  10. Listen to your body before you eat. Ask yourself if you are really hungry. If so, savor the food instead of devouring it.
  11. Don’t be tempted to skip the other meals on Thanksgiving Day. It’s fine to eat lighter than normal.
  12. Enjoy conversations while eating. Set your fork down between bites and engage others in talk between bites.
  13. Avoid snacks arranged around the room by moving away from them. Get involved in a game of touch football or go for a walk.
  14. Make your favorite foods healthier so if you do over indulge, at least it will be guilt-free.
  15. Use Herbs or citrus juice instead of salt. Fresh herbs and fruit juices add flavor without adding excess sodium.
  16. For baked goods, use half the butter, shortening or oil. Replace with unsweetened applesauce, mashed banana or prune puree.
  17. Use whole-wheat pasta instead of enriched pasta for healthier food. The fiber is tripled and calories reduced.
  18. Scale back on the poultry and increase the amount of vegetables when making the day after Turkey day casseroles.
  19. Prepare your favorite dessert with fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
  20. Healthy cooking techniques: braising, broiling, grilling, poaching, sautéing and steaming. Use these methods for Thanksgiving preparation.
  21. Reduce sugar by one-half; use spices like cinnamon, cloves, allspice and nutmeg, or vanilla extract or almond flavoring to boost sweetness.
  22. Drink a glass of water before you eat. Water is a filler and it’s calorie-free.
  23. Avoid the dips and dressings, especially the creamy ones. If you must have them, choose lower calorie versions.
  24. Take small amounts of several different foods instead of 2 or 3 big portions of food.
  25. Don’t chow down while engrossed in a movie or the big game on Thanksgiving. You become disconnected from your food.
  26. Skip the fatty, cheesy appetizers on Thanksgiving. Stick to raw vegetable. They’re low in calories and high in fiber.
  27. Keep your alcohol intake low. Alternate between alcoholic drinks and water or unsweetened beverages. Alcohol is high in calories.
  28. Allow yourself one small piece of pie for dessert on Thanksgiving.
  29. When making green bean casserole, swap out fried onions with toasted almonds for a less-oily alternative.
  30. Cut a little fat out of your meal by not eating the skin on the Thanksgiving turkey.
  31. Eat only the Thanksgiving turkey’s white meat. The dark meat has a little more fat.
  32. Swap out processed, canned foods for natural ingredients to make your Thanksgiving dishes healthier.
  33. Make your own pumpkin puree by roasting a small pie pumpkin and pureeing the flesh in a blender or food processor for a healthier version.
  34. Use the vegetables and herbs from the Thanksgiving turkey to make low-fat gravy.
  35. Swap traditional white mashed potatoes with mashed sweet potatoes made with coconut oil, nutmeg and cinnamon.
  36. Sweeten fresh, whole cranberries naturally. Add one navel orange, orange zest and raw honey.
  37. Replace sugar that’s used for sweetening with raw honey, agave nectar or maple syrup.
  38. You don’t have to use a ton of butter or oil in your holiday baking; use nonstick baking spray to coat baking dishes.
  39. For a gluten free apple cobbler, use almond flour, ground cinnamon and baked apples instead of white flour with refined sugar.
  40. For a sweet dessert, use apple juice concentrate in homemade apple pie to add additional fiber and antioxidants.
  41. Swap sugar for fresh-squeezed orange juice in your homemade bread.
  42. For healthier versions of muffins, cookies and quick bread recipes, substitute coconut oil for butter.
  43. Instead of a heavily processed, sugary whipped topping, make your own using coconut milk.
  44. Fat-free half-and-half is a great substitute for heavy whipping cream in almost every recipe.
  45. Skip the turkey drippings. Use fresh turkey stock flavored with sage and thickened with flour and butter for healthy gravy.
  46. Brine your turkey instead of coating it with fatty oils and butter to make it juicy.
  47. Healthy ways to thicken gravy include using arrowroot, cream, cornstarch, or the vegetables from the roasting pan.
  48. Use fat-free chicken broth to baste the turkey and make gravy. Or baste the turkey with real apple cider.
  49. Try plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream in creamy dips, mashed potatoes, and casseroles.
  50. Resist the temptation to go back for second helpings. Instead enjoy them as leftovers the next day.

Have any good tips and tricks to share for making this a healthier holiday?