The Pilgrims didn't count Weight Watchers points or try to incorporate The Atkins Diet into their Thanksgiving feast. Probably because their meal was healthier than the version we have today. The average Thanksgiving meal has around 3,000 calories—and that's not including seconds. But fear not! There are several subtle ways to give your Thanksgiving feast a healthier makeover this year.
1. Don't starve yourself before the feast.
By not eating a healthy breakfast and lunch, you are more likely to overeat or make unhealthy choices at the dinner table.
2. Try a low-fat recipe.
You don't have to change every course to make it "healthy."
Choose one recipe that may be over-indulgent (i.e. candied yams, green bean casserole) and make a healthier version.
Take a family walk, play flag football or participate in a 5K Turkey Trot to boost metabolism before the meal. Take a walk after dinner to prepare room for dessert.
4. Eat your veggies.
Serve several vegetable choices this year. This will allow you to have a greater selection of food on your plate while still eating healthy.
5. Taste everything in small portions.
Use the white space rule: help yourself to the Thanksgiving meal, but make sure that you can see plenty of white on your plate (meaning that you don't have nearly as many calories as a full plate!)
6. Choose your liquids wisely.
Sugary drinks, eggnog and alcohol are full of calories. Save the calorie-consumption for the food.
7. Stick to light meat.
Even though both dark and light meats have the same amount of protein, light meat has half the fat.
8. Skip the seconds.
Instead of a second helping, eat leftovers the next day. This will also save you room for dessert.
9. Stick to pumpkin, not pecan.
Choosing pumpkin pie over pecan pie will save you half the calories and half the fat.
10. Make Thanksgiving about family, not just food.
Walk around the house and socialize with friends and family instead of hanging out near the food table.
Kerry Pinto is a freelance writer living in Stafford with her husband and two children. Her Thanksgiving guilty pleasure is her Grandma Agnes' homemade stuffing.