My trad TG dinner clocked in at a shopping 5000 calories. Don't want to be a downer post-holiday, but how are others making this lovely holiday a tad healthier?
What's interesting about Thanksgiving, I think, is that a bunch of the fundamental parts of the meal are really quite healthy. So, I feel like you don't necessarily have to change much about a tradition, just sort of expand certain parts of your focus and reduce other parts. Turkey itself is good protein, just be sure to use only a small amount of gravy. Then, for myself, I try to pile on the vegetables. We roast or steam most of our vegetables instead of making them all saucy, which helps keep the meal a little less heavy - we have roasted brussels sprouts, steamed green beans (if it were a casserole, I suppose that'd be different), roasted sweet potatoes (you can also mash them with chicken stock instead of cream, if you want). Then hold back on all the starchy things, the potatoes, stuffing, rolls, etc. having just a tiny taste of each. We also make just one pie per dozen people, so everyone gets a small piece. You tend to eat whatever size slice of pie gets put in front of you (or at least, I know I do!) so making sure the pieces are small means you still get the satisfaction of a great dessert, but without totally stuffing yourself after you've just had a big dinner. And, if you're quite concerned about calories, watch what you're drinking too. Soft drinks have a lot of calories, of course, and so do wine and beer. I like to have nice red wine at the dinner but also a ton of sparkling water for everyone to drink as well.
5000? Really? Check out this article. It's probably less than you think. http://projects.nytimes.com/qa/events/thanksgiving-help-line/question/8134
And while I agree with lastnightsdinner-- you can cut back the fat and take small portions of the potatoes, stuffing, cornbread and pies, I also agree with Chef Ono. Enjoy. One meal will not kill you. Plan to eat salads and get more exercise the following week and don't stress about it.
Here's another article that might help, with links to some healthy fall recipes:
Not knowing exactly what you are cooking in your house, it is hard to give specific advice, but in my Irish grandmother's house growing up, *everything* (potatoes, squash, turnips, whathaveyou) was served boiled, then mashed with a stick of butter, drowned in gravy, and topped with butter. The easy fix for this is to flavor the food more, and cut back the butter. How about garlic mashed potatoes with greek yogurt instead of butter & cream? roasted parsnip/turnip/sweet potato with olive oil & herbs? Stuffing made with wild rice and squash instead of the traditional bread stuffing? Also, starting with a soup or salad course can help cut down entree portion size. Pumpkin, squash or mushroom soup can be made beautifully without too much fat, shaved Brussels sprouts make a great salad...