We've targeted some public enemies at Turkey Day tables and have a few holiday heroes to replace them. As the saying goes, "If you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself." Happy chewing...
There's nothing quite like a big, fluffy pile of smashed potatoes. Not only is it quintessential comfort food, but it also goes SOOO well with turkey and gravy (more on gravy later). Sadly, those spuds pack in a lot of starch (hello, carbs and calories!). PLUS, most people use full-fat ingredients for holiday cooking, so those taters likely have at least 200 calories and 8g fat per serving. Dreaming of a way to have your mash and eat it too? Cauliflower. Nope, we're not kidding. Click 'n scroll to check out our recipe for Miracle Mashies (don't worry -- there's some potato in there, too!), and make all your side dish dreams come true.
Everyone has one holiday staple (or two or three) that they CANNOT do without. If gravy is your weakness, take notes. Some people make their gravy by thickening stock with flour, which usually stays around a reasonable 20 - 40 calories per serving. Others make theirs from turkey drippings, butter, wine, cream, etc., which can REALLY bump up the fat and calories. Purists may scoff, but if you're counting calories, commercial gravy is a good way to keep tabs on your stats. McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix has just 20 calories per serving (1/4 cup prepared), and all you have to do is add water. Heinz Fat Free Roasted Turkey Gravy has the same stats for 1/4 cup, but comes pre-made in a jar. Want to mask that "out of the package" look and taste? Heat with some finely chopped mushrooms and/or onions. Sneaky, eh?
Whether or not stuffing actually winds up inside of a bird, it's still stuffed with bread, butter, eggs, and sometimes even contains sausage. No delusions of lightness here, folks. Even the most basic boxed stuffing mix has around 160 calories and 7g fat once prepared with butter, and that's only for a 1/2-cup serving. Many versions made from scratch are WAAAY worse, possibly shooting up to more than 300 calories and 16g fat per scoop! The best way to go is our lightened up Save-The-Day Stuffing, so click and scroll, stuffing fiends. (Pssst! It's ALL about the low-cal bread, Egg Beaters, and light butter!)
French's French Fried Onions
Whatever you do, don't overdo it on those crunchy, greasy (but delicious) fried onion casserole toppers. Two meager tablespoons contain 45 calories and 3.5g fat... and that's on TOP of your favorite creamy green beans, totaling around 250 calories and 10g fat per serving. For a veggie-based side dish?! Dear friends, there's a better way. Crispy Delites Red Onion Chips get you that savory crunch without being fried in oil. Our Rockin' Lean Bean Casserole is the perfect opportunity for you to taste these babies in action. BTW, if you don't feel like tracking down our favorite baked onion chips (they can be ordered online HERE!), onion-flavored soy crisps are a pretty good alternative.
We love nuts, but there's a reason we prefer them pretty basic and portion-controlled. Start adding crazy ingredients like sugar, syrup, and butter, and you can end up with a high-calorie situation. The average slice of pecan pie hovers at around 500 calories and 25g fat. Do you REALLY want to finish off a ginormous T-Day dinner with a dessert like THAT? Balance things out... unless you really want to eat a full meal of steamed broccoli. Pretty much all pies are fatty and high in calories, so if you want to really take control, you can contribute to the table with our guilt-free Too-Good-To-Deny Pumpkin Pie. If you really L-O-V-E pecans, portion some out and crumble 'em on top.
A few quick Turkey Day tips...
* Try to get a cardio session in before the big meal. It'll crank up your metabolism so you'll have some extra calories to spare. Even if you don't have time for a full workout, add some exercise throughout the day whenever you can -- take the stairs instead of the elevator or offer to walk the neighbor's dog. Maybe you can even start a new holiday tradition of going for a pre-feast walk around the neighborhood.
* Turkey is awesome! Load up on the white meat and stay away from the skin, and you'll be in full-on feast mode! Plus you'll be taking in lots of lean protein, which'll fill you up without weighing you down.
* Drink TWO glasses of water before you sit down to eat. It'll help keep that appetite in check.
* Take a minute to survey the table before you start spooning things onto your plate. What are your favorites? What falls into the "just not worth it" category? If you're TRULY trying to be good, don't sample everything just to be polite. But make sure you get some of your favorites (you ARE celebrating!) and balance them out with basic, lighter options as well. The keyword for the day is MODERATION. Don't deprive yourself! Just don't stuff yourself silly either. Have a happy holiday!
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*The PointsPlus® and SmartPoints™ values for these products and/or recipes were calculated by Hungry Girl and are not an endorsement or approval of the product, recipe, or its manufacturer or developer by Weight Watchers International, Inc., the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark and SmartPoints™ trademark.
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