Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday of many, and an event that is much anticipated every Autumn when families gather under the same roof for an indulgent feast without all the stressful shopping and seasonal trappings that have become standard for Christmas. This non-denominational celebration includes everyone, and the focus is simply on eating and bonding. There sure is a lot of eating. Thanksgiving dinners run the gamut from wholesome and nutritious to heavy and fat-laden. Avoid these 5 fattening foods this Thanksgiving to keep the holiday as healthy as possible.
- Creamy Soups
The perfect first course to Thanksgiving dinner is often a hot bowl of hearty creamy soup–cream of potato, mushroom, or broccoli and cheese are hearty, filling soups that warm the bones and bring a sense of indulgent comfort. However, while these soups start with innocently nutritious vegetable ingredients, they become frighteningly fattening when loaded up with cheese, cream, and meat. Opt for smaller portions of these decadent soups, or go for vegetable and broth based soups.
- Bacon and Cheese Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a standard staple on most Thanksgiving dinner tables, but some gourmands have chosen to ramp up the decadence of their potatoes by adding copious amounts of bacon and cheese. This new amendment to the classic recipe makes the calories and fat content of the dish skyrocket. Let the natural wholesomeness of potatoes shine through by skipping the bacon and cheese–opt for garlic instead, for a healthier but still flavorful dish.
- Macaroni and Cheese
The delightfully rich Turkey Day staple known as Macaroni and Cheese could more realistically be called Carbs and Fat. Foods that are heavy on cheese are almost universally fattening, and many macaroni and cheese recipes incorporate lots of fatty meat and other embellishments as well. This is also another perfect place for bacon enthusiasts to turn another classic dish from calorie-rich to calorie-crazy. Avoid this extra dose of fat by opting for a macaroni and cheese recipe that uses low fat cheese and milk, and load it up with nutritious vegetables rather than fatty chunks of meat.
- Stuffing and Gravy
The very name of this Thanksgiving favorite tells you as much about its fat content as a list of nutritional facts could say. Most stuffing recipes are bread-based, and include generous amounts of high fat ingredients like butter and sausage. The ladle of gravy smothering your stuffing makes it even more fattening. So much goes into these dishes that they are practically meal replacement shakes on their own–with an even higher calorie count. Try for a low fat stuffing recipe using more fruits and vegetables, less butter, and even consider an entirely vegetarian recipe.
- The Whole Dessert Course
Is it any surprise that dessert is once again popping up as something to avoid? Many classic desserts are madly fattening, and Thanksgiving is home to some of the worst offenders. Pumpkin pies, pumpkin cheesecake, bread pudding, caramel apples–the list could go on for days. You don’t have to skip dessert altogether, but go for lower fat options like a lean pumpkin pie, and stay away from the whipped cream.