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Holiday How To: 7 Easy Tricks to Make Thanksgiving Dishes Healthier

Sweater weather, football, and crisp, cool air mean one thing: Fall is here and Thanksgiving is near. So, let’s talk turkey...

Thanksgiving dinner tends to end in a food coma due to heaping helpings of seconds and thirds. And as those extra (dare we say, unnecessary) calories sap you of your energy, you end up bailing on family and friends (who, let’s be honest, you never see enough) for a nap or for the night.

This year, imagine a delicious Thanksgiving dinner complete with all of your favorite foods that leaves you feeling energetic enough to toss the pigskin, give your loved ones more of your time, and of course, help your host with clean-up (c’mon, be a gracious guest this year!).

Ditch the guilt and fatigue that comes from overindulging with these easy ingredient swaps. A little twist on the staples of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner can transform them from fattening to fantastic.

Oh, and don't’ worry, we’d never compromise on taste...


Your Thanksgiving Meal Makeover: Simple Swaps to Make Classic Dishes Healthier


1) 2 Tweaks to Stuffing:

Imagine Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing. Wait, no. Don’t do that... It’s an awful thing to think about. Instead, trade the white bread for 100% whole-wheat bread (or our secret weapon, Ezekiel bread) and the butter for olive oil. These 2 tricks decrease saturated fat and simple carbs and add a touch of healthy fat and fiber.


2) More Mash & Fewer Calories:

Some have said they love mashed potatoes more than Thanksgiving. Rather than remove the delicious dish (not happening), trade the potatoes for cauliflower. Here’s the deal: It will look, feel, and taste just like mashed potatoes, but with way fewer carbs and calories. The best part? No one will know.


3) DIY Cranberry Sauce:

But, berries are healthy… right? 100%. But, why not save some calories anyway you can? Canned cranberries tend to have added sugar; which is the kind you need to sidestep. This year, you’re gonna whip up a 4-ingredient, sugar-free cranberry sauce in just 20 minutes. You can print the recipe here. Please and thank you!


4) Green Beans Gone Right:

Everyone assumes because they’re made of green beans, the nostalgia-inducing casserole you pour on your plate is uber healthy. The problem is the sodium and fat in the non-green bean additions like fried onion, canned soup, and cream. Your best bet is to strip it down to just the veggies. If you’re no minimalist, use Shape’s simple tips like opting for all-natural soup and trading whole milk or cream for skim milk to add some nutritional benefits.


5) Sneaky Sour Cream:

This one’s as easy as they come. Swap the sour cream for greek yogurt. It’s still sour (and creamy), but it packs a punch of protein that sour cream doesn’t have. Plus, it has far less fat than low-fat sour cream.


6) Sweet As Pie:

Apple, pumpkin, pecan, oh my. Raise your hand if you can never get enough pie. Quite possibly the one dish everyone can agree on, we’re simply going to do our best to switch from simple carbs to complex carbs. Ditch the standard pie crust for whole wheat pie crust. That’s it ... That’s all I’m asking. Pie not give it a try :)?


7) Turkey Tips:

For starters, frying should be considered sacrilegious. Your best bet is to roast that sucker. And if you want to give it a little rub beforehand, use herbs and lemons for added flavor. If you’re not in charge of prep, at least know what you’re getting into thanks to this helpful guide grading the many ways turkey can be prepared.

BONUS: Easy Ways to Eat Healthy During Thanksgiving Dinner

Ok, fine. So you’re not making the dishes this year … you’re just enjoying them (lucky you). If you want to be a bit health-conscious as you navigate the spread, the goal is to fill up fast on calories that have some nutritional value.

Start with lean protein like turkey. This will help get you feeling full without a ton of empty calories and sugar. Tag team the turkey with a side of veggies to get some fiber to aid in filling your stomach. Pound water every chance you get to stay hydrated and do your best to limit portion sizes on the stuff you know can’t be good for you. 

Want more tips just like these? Click here to get our Healthy Holidays Checklist complete with 15 tips to  help you eat, drink, & stay skinny this fall. After this quick read, we guarantee you’ll know exactly how to survive the holidays without the weight gain!


Stay In Shape This Holiday Season

Click here to learn more about our 21 Day Fall Fat Loss Challenge — our premium program to get you tight, lean, and toned so you can strut your stuff this holiday season. You’ll get a comprehensive consultation led by an experienced coach, 3 weeks of unlimited group personal training, access to any one of our 5 facilities, and much more.

If you want to show off at your holiday get-togethers, radiate self-confidence, and get all kinds of compliments from friends, family, and strangers, click here to learn more about the Fall Fat Loss Challenge. Claim your spot today — this one always fills up fast!

As always, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday season. Gobble, gobble!

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