Thanksgiving Trade-Offs

Cranberry Sauce

Instead of the jellied canned stuff, make your own with fresh or frozen cranberries, that way you can control the sugar and pump up the amount of whole berries -- which are bursting with heart-healthy compounds called anthocyanins.

Add chopped apples and omega 3-rich walnuts.

Rolls

Since a serving of stuffing is equivalent to eating a roll (or two), it's best to bypass the bread basket. Save the calories so you can enjoy a glass of wine with dinner.

If you can't do without, serve whole-wheat rolls instead of fatty biscuits. Spread with cinnamon-spiked apple butter instead of butter.

Dessert

With about half the calories and a lot less fat, pumpkin pie is a far better choice than pecan. Eat the pie without the crust and save 120 calories. Skip the whipped cream or add just a dollop of reduced-fat topping.

Better yet, have the dessert you really want, just cut yourself half a slice.

Bottom line, it's important that you enjoy the celebration. Don't be too hard on yourself. One day won't totally derail your diet.

Janet Helm, MS, RD, is a registered dietitian and nutrition/culinary consultant in Chicago.

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