Eat It to Beat It: Thanksgiving Swaps to Trim Calories, Sugar

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By David Zinczenko

Could you eat seven Burger King Whoppers and a side of fries in one sitting? Well, if you're the average American, that's pretty much what you'll be doing on Thanksgiving Day.

Since overindulging on Thanksgiving is as much of a tradition as is turkey and cranberry sauce, don't be surprised if you tally up a whopping 4,500 calories on Turkey Day - or about 2,500 more calories than on other days of the year. But by trimming off some calories - and some unnecessary added sugars - you could give thanks without the next-day regret.

Here are three simple at-the-table swaps you can make to trim off calories and strip out unnecessary sugar instantly.

Dish No. 1

Five ounces of dark turkey meat with jellied cranberry sauce (3 half-inch slices). This dish has 500 calories and 107 grams of sugar. That's the sugar equivalent of 15 medium sized chocolate éclairs.

The Healthier Alternative

Choose five ounces of turkey breast with three tablespoons of homemade cranberry sauce. Depending on the recipe for the cranberry sauce, this dish has 285 calories and 27.5 grams of sugar. You'll cut out 79.5 grams of sugar.

Dish No. 2

A scoop of candied sweet potatoes (measuring 2.5 x 2 inches) with marshmallow topping will run you 252 calories and 40 grams of sugar - or the same amount of sugar found in 29 Nilla wafers.

The Healthier Alternative

Instead, you can choose to eat 2/3 cup of mashed potatoes with ¼ cup of turkey gravy. This dish will run you 146 calories and just two grams of sugar, saving you 38 grams of sugar.

Dish No. 3

If you're eyeing a slice of pecan pie with ½ cup of vanilla ice cream for dessert, you should know this: it'll run you 804 calories and 54.7 grams of sugar. This choice is the caloric equivalent of 30 strips of cooked Oscar Meyer bacon.

The Healthier Alternative

You can consider having a slice of pumpkin pie with ½ cup of whipped cream. This dessert has 497 calories - a savings of 307 calories - and 31.4 grams of sugar.

David Zinczenko is ABC News Nutrition and Wellness Editor and the author of "Eat It to Beat It!" To discover more hidden sources of sugar, and how to lose weight by skipping other ingredients in our everyday food, click HERE to check out "Eat It to Beat It!" here

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