News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Save yourself 500 calories

Thanksgiving is upon us, and all its glorious traditions. It is not uncommon to eat nearly 1,800 calories in one sitting. This includes an average serving of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, two dinner rolls, a small piece of pumpkin pie (without whipped cream) and two beer or wine beverages. Add gravy, and it’s eclipsed 2,000 calories.

While gluttony isn’t something one should partake in on a regular basis, it’s enjoyable to have these foods as the occasional celebration. There are, however, ways you can have your Thanksgiving feast and keep the calories in check. Let’s work out some substitutions for common ingredients to save around 500 calories.

Start with an easy win: the mashed potatoes. A cream and butter mixture is traditional; however, the same consistency and arguably better flavor can be had with replacing the cream and butter with sour cream. Grandma won’t notice the difference, but pop will notice his cholesterol staying in check. Per one-cup serving this will save almost 100 calories.

Next, a sweet potato casserole is more like a dessert with the omnipresent marshmallow and brown sugar syrup saturating the dish. This can be defeated however by replacing the brown sugar with applesauce and leaving the top with a cinnamon, butter, and sugar dusting that will wake this dish up to the 21st century and save you from loosening the belt this thanksgiving

Now let’s make gravy. Instead of a half-pound of butter, simmer milk, stock, and gravy seasoning (salt, pepper, oregano, thyme) while whisking in a slurry of cornstarch and warm water, do this slowly as the mixture rapidly thickens in the pan. Now add in some soy sauce (this provides a more meaty flavor). Enjoy more gravy and fewer trips to the cardiologist this year.

For dressing there is a simple recipe hack to take from the French toast technique. Use a loaf of hearty bread and cube into one-inch chunks, now instead of the butter, use an egg, some stock and milk to make a custard. Soak in the mixture for a minute, add the sauteed veggies (celery, onion, carrot), and arrange in the pan and bake like normal. Enjoy the dressing with significantly less fat and cholesterol.

Give a dessert a skinny redux with half-the-calorie pumpkin pie. Simply replace sweetened condensed milk with fat-free evaporated milk and add 1/2 cup of brown sugar. Next is to use one whole egg and two whites. Omit butter if it’s called for. Believe it or not, these changes leave pumpkin pie with around half the calories.

There’s five ways one can enjoy a decadent Thanksgiving without filling up the gluttony guilt tank. This will take off around 30 percent of calories, and will taste good. It will reward the traditionalist, and one can be thankful for the wonderful life living in abundance of food.


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