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Thanksgiving Lite

We are coming up to that time of year when we look forward to the gustatory pleasure of Thanksgiving dinner. Do you celebrate like the families on television where everyone is sitting around the table anxiously waiting for Dad to come through the kitchen door holding the turkey on a silver platter? Or are you a little more low key than that but slightly above TV trays in front of the television? Either way we all enjoy this holiday tradition and are usually too full at the end of the meal to fully appreciate it. This year you can enjoy dinner as one of the highlights of the season and still keep your waistline and willpower in check by making a few small changes before and while you sit down to eat.

Here are a few tips on how to keep your Thanksgiving dinner lighter with smart choices made ahead and at dinner time:

1. We all obey the cardinal rule of removing the turkey skin right? If not, it is an easy way to cut fat and calories. Another no brainer is to remember that dark meat offers us twice the amount of fat as white meat so choose carefully.

2. Nothing finishes off your plate like a good serving of gravy. Everything in moderation but help yourself a little more by skimming the fat off the top of the gravy. There are clever little gravy servers that actually do this for you by having the serving spout half way down the gravy bowl. This way the fat is sitting on the top while the gravy is being poured from the middle, thereby bypassing it. Take a look for one of these handy little devices.

3. Thanksgiving dinner would not be complete without stuffing! While most of us could make a meal out of the stuffing itself, it will greatly improve our waistlines to cook it outside of the turkey. This way it won’t absorb the fat that is released during the cooking process.

4. Steam your vegetables instead of boiling them. They will hold their flavour and nutritional value. You can add imitation butter sprinkles as an alternative to real butter or sauces. If you really hate the steaming effect, cooking them in broth or a flavoured vinegar can add a lot of taste.

5. This dinner of all dinners wouldn't be the same if we didn't go back for seconds and it is something we do without thinking most of the time. If you take a moment to gauge how full you are chances are you can pass up the second round. If you must go back try to stay with an added helping of vegetables instead of stuffing or breads. Keep it as light as you can and your belt will thank you for it!

6. Pumpkin Pie is the gold standard for desserts at this time of year but perhaps offer lighter alternatives for those who are watching their weight. A fruit fondue or fruit parfait would be excellent choices and finish the perfect meal off with a sweet but light taste.

Watching our diets is a daily choice that we make and if we do it consistently throughout the year we can sit down to enjoy a great meal like Thanksgiving dinner without guilt. Take a look at www.weightloss.about.com for more ideas. If we take this culinary delight in moderation and prepare the meal with forethought and make smarter choices at the meal itself, we can have the best of both worlds. We can enjoy our family and friends and great food while serving our bodies well at the same time. Plus, if we watch our choices at this meal we will be in good practice to do the same at Christmas dinner!

Submitted by:

Rhonda Hoffman

Rhonda Hoffman is a successful author and a regular contributor to www.canadian-cook.com.





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