Approaching the Thanksgiving table with an eye on waist management
Fill up on veggies first
One of the most important tricks for staying below your Thanksgiving meal’s calorie allowance while still feeling full is to put plenty of low-calorie, nutritious vegetables on your plate. Fill up on healthy cooked veggies before digging into anything else on the table. It will help keep your appetite at bay and prevent you from overeating more calorie-rich options down the line.
One-half cup of vegetables, about the size of a rounded handful, counts as a serving. Calorie counts vary depending on the vegetable, with about 30 calories in one serving of steamed broccoli or cooked carrots and approximately 15 calories in one serving size of boiled cauliflower, though additions such as butter or cheese raise the calorie count.
A serving of turkey is 3 ounces, or about the size of a full deck of playing cards.
One serving of the white meat part of a turkey has about 132 calories, while dark turkey meat packs about 145 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To nudge the calories downward, eat a serving of white meat without the skin. That brings the count to only 119 calories.
A serving of gooey gravy is about one-quarter of a cup, or the size of a golf ball. Each serving has from 30 to 50 calories.
A single serving of potatoes is a quarter-cup, or about the size of a tennis ball cut in half and contains approximately 145 calories. A healthier option would be cooked cauliflower with herbs or spices, such as pepper or chives, added for flavor. That would only add up to 15 calories a serving.
Instead of pouring on the butter, add flavor to your potatoes or cooked vegetables by mixing in chicken broth, herbs or roasted garlic.
One serving of stuffing is a half-cup, or the equivalent of an ice-cream scoop. Each helping contains about 180 calories.
To bring down the calorie content, make homemade stuffing and substitute chopped vegetables — such as onions, squash, eggplants, carrots and celery — for some of the bread. If want to replace the bread in your healthy stuffing you can replace it with wild rice.
Salad is one of the healthier side options at the Thanksgiving table. It is a much better idea to go back for seconds of salad than cornbread or stuffing. But watch out for what you put on top of it. One serving of salad can have between 100 and 150 calories, depending on the dressing. Each serving is one cup and is about the size of a baseball.
A single serving is about one-eighth of a 9-inch pie, which is about the size of a standard lightbulb.
One serving of pumpkin pie contains about 323 calories, and apple pie contains approximately 300 calories. The unhealthiest option is pecan pie, which packs 456 calories.