Thanksgiving Trade-Offs

ByABC News
November 17, 2006, 5:22 PM

Nov. 21, 2006 — -- You can survive Thanksgiving without feeling like a stuffed bird -- by making a few substitutions.

It may mean retiring timeworn recipes and trying something new this year. Or it may be as simple as small ingredient swaps that could make a big difference.

Either way, there are lots of ways you can trim extra calories and fat from the feast without feeling deprived. These waistline-friendly trade-offs can also help you maximize the nutritional payback of your meal.

While you shouldn't come to the table ravenous, don't fill up on calorie-dense appetizers before you sit down to dinner.

Forgo the baked brie, artichoke dip, and other creamy recipes that contain a full jar of mayonnaise or carton of sour cream.

Instead, start off with a tray of fresh veggies with a slimmed-down dip made with fat-free yogurt and herbs. Pile platters with grapes and cut fruit for predinner noshing.

Watch the liquid calories, too. Sip on sparkling water with lemon or club soda with a splash of cranberry juice.

Stay away from self-basting birds. On average they have nearly twice the fat as the old-fashioned kind. And don't even think about trying the deep-fat frying technique in your backyard this year.

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