Eat this, not that: Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day of turkeys, stuffing, roll, potatoes and don't forget being thankful. Grocery carts are filled to the top with all the fixings and why not splurge? It is a holiday after all...

"People will say I'm opting to not do the healthiest thing right now and I'm going to kind of cheat a little here or there because this is what I really like. But I wouldn't cheat on every single thing that you're eating it really would add up," said Samantha Rider, Registered Dietician and Assistant Director of Patient Services at CHRISTUS St. Patrick Hospital.

She came along for an early thanksgiving shopping trip. Rider said to avoid the stretchy pants this turkey day all you have to do is cut back on certain ingredients, and keep the same classic dishes. First, the main event: turkey.

"Turkey's a very lean meat. It's a good option," said Rider.

No matter the size of your gobbler, you'll always have the choice dark or white meat.

"A lot of people complain because they say the white meat is too dry, but it's dry because it doesn't have as much of the grease and natural oils in it than the dark meat does," explained Rider.

She suggested skipping the turkey drippings.

"I really discourage people from doing that because you're just basically taking fat and oil and pouring it all over your meat," warned Rider.

Now to a favorite side dish: mashed potatoes.

"Mashed potatoes can be very healthy," said Rider. The potatoes themselves are not too bad, but she said the butter and cream can add a lot of fat to the recipe.

"You're putting sticks of butter in there...its going to be really, really bad," said Rider.

You can try low-fat sour cream or margarine instead.

The always popular green bean casserole can have a healthier side if you choose your cream of mushroom soup wisely. The original cream of mushroom is 6 grams for only half a cup.

"The low fat is just 2 grams for half a cup," said Rider, and she said your guests won't taste the difference.

"If you bring it to a party, they're not going to know that you actually got the healthier cream of mushroom soup," said Rider.

Cornbread can really hit the spot, but it turns out you are better off with a plain roll. The problem is, said Rider, another person making cornbread may use full fat ingredients.

"Going to a party or something like that for the holidays is you don't know what's in that person's refrigerator," said Rider.

She suggested a couple substitutions to make your cornbread healthier: use two egg whites in place of one whole egg and use low fat margarine. She added a plain roll is an even better option.

"You can have a larger serving size and less calories. You get more bang for your buck," said Rider.

After all of this you can't go into the Thanksgiving food coma without a proper helping of pie.

Pecan pie is the worst offender. For an 1/8 of a frozen pie you ingest 25 grams of fat.

"500 calories is a lot for a piece of pie because its usually after you've already eaten a meal so this is just in addition,"said Rider.

It gets even worse if you eat the leftovers.

"500 calories a day over the course of a week leads to one pound weight gain," explained Rider.

Yikes! Don't worry pie lovers...pumpkin pie can tame that sweet tooth without adding a notch to your belt.

"You're talking 12 grams of fat which isn't awful and 300 you know it's almost half," said Rider.

A holiday treat, without the weight gain or the guilt.

Copyright 2011 kplc. All rights reserved.