Low-Fat Holiday Treats?
Q. Do you have any suggestions for healthy, low-fat Thanksgiving desserts?
Traditional Thanksgiving menus are the antithesis of low fat, so it is commendable that you're trying to find a healthy alternative to the usual fare. Desserts aren't even the worst of the high-fat offenders on the holiday table. Gravy, stuffing, and potatoes mashed with butter and cream are just as tempting (and just as high in fat) as pecan pie with ice cream or whipped cream.
I have developed two dessert recipes that are low in fat -- and high in nutrients, fiber, and taste. One is a squash pie, and the other is a blueberry pie -- I think you'll find these as satisfying as the high-calorie, high-fat desserts we're accustomed to at the end of a Thanksgiving meal. Squash is a good source of iron, beta-carotene and vitamins A and C; blueberries are chock-full of anthocyanins, which give them their bluish hue and antioxidant punch -- a half-cup of blueberries packs as much antioxidant power as five servings of peas, carrots, apples, squash, or broccoli.
If you're trying to avoid taking in a week's-worth of fats and calories on our national day of gorging, focus on what you'll be eating throughout the day, not just on the holiday feast. Here are some suggestions that may help:
Don't skimp on breakfast or lunch in preparation for Thanksgiving dinner. You'll be ravenous by the time you sit down, and all your good intentions will melt away as soon as the food gets passed around the table.
Try to get some exercise earlier in the day. A brisk walk will burn some calories and keep you focused on a healthy lifestyle.
Munch on low-cal, low-fat snacks throughout the day -- raw vegetables and a low-fat dip are good alternatives to bowls of nuts or crackers and cheese.
Watch your alcohol consumption. It's harder to keep your resolve when you're tipsy.
Practice portion control. This works best if you plan in advance what you'll eat and what you'll try to avoid. Stick to slices of the white meat of the turkey; serve yourself a spoonful of potatoes but hold the butter; and go easy on the gravy -- put a little on the side of your plate, not a not a full ladle all over your food.
Eat slowly. It takes your stomach about 20 minutes to signal your brain that it's full.
Thanksgiving is our annual challenge to healthy, low-fat eating. You'll come out ahead if you manage not to go overboard. Good luck!