10 Tips To Slim Down Your Thanksgiving Feast

You can enjoy full flavor and still have a waistline the next day. Just take a little care with some of the high-fat, high-sugar items on the T-Day table. By Barbara Fine, RD, LDN at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital


Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for our family, friends and blessings in our lives. But of course it’s also about the food!

If you are trying to watch your waistline, be aware that a typical Thanksgiving feast could add up to more than 3,000-4,000 high fat calories according to Barbara Fine, Registered Dietitian at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital and Media Spokesperson for the Illinois Dietetic Association. However, skipping the traditional Thanksgiving favorites like stuffing and pumpkin pie is not necessary.

“Holidays are meant to be enjoyed, but no need to consume 2 days’ worth of calories and fat into one meal,” says Fine. “Moderation is key.”

10 T-Day Tricks

Here are 10 tricks on how to whittle down those calories without skimping on taste this Thanksgiving:

Turkey time

-       The white breast meat on a turkey is naturally low in fat but make sure to skip the high fat skins.

-       Baste your turkey with white wine or low sodium broth instead of butter to save on fat calories.


-        Swap low-sodium chicken broth for most of the butter in your stuffing.  This saves at least 50 calories per serving and cuts the fat in half.

-        Add more vegetables like  onions, carrots, mushrooms and celery to your stuffing


-        Use low-sodium or reduced-fat varieties of cream of mushroom (or cream of celery) soup. You will save 120 calories and 16 grams of fat in each can by going with reduced-fat version.


-       Switch out the high fat whole milk for skim or 2% milk and replace the butter with a heart healthier substitute such as Smart Balance or Brummel and Brown.

-       For candied sweet potatoes, cut the sugar in half or use a low calorie sweetener instead.


-       Instead of high fat croissants or biscuits, serve mini whole grain rolls from your local bakery.  This will increase your fiber intake.


-       Significantly cut calories by skimming the fat from your pan juices before making the gravy.


-       Skip the top crust and make fruit based pies such as apple or pumpkin. A typical slice of pie can pack in as many as 400 calories so portion size and moderation is key!

Barbara Fine is an RD and LDN at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. 

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Frannie November 20, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Great tips and all seem very easy to incorporate into the Tday meal. Thanks to Barbara Fine!


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