If you’ve ever packed on holiday weight, you’re not alone.
The average American gains a pound during the holiday season, according to Stanford University. While that might not seem like much, picking up that pound year after year will take a toll on your health — and your physique.
You can blame that beloved November feast for a big chunk of holiday-inspired overeating, as the average American consumes more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving Day, according to the Calorie Control Council.
Don’t despair. You can enjoy the flavors of the season and still battle the bulge by incorporating these healthy and festive Thanksgiving dishes into your holiday game plan.
Roasted Turkey Breast with Herbs from American Heart Association
When the American Heart Association offers a recipe you know it’s going to be healthy. A traditional Thanksgiving turkey can pack a lot of excess calories, especially with recipes that call for essentially bathing the bird in butter. This roasted turkey breast is a simple, delicious way to enjoy that healthy white meat.
1 3 1/2-pound turkey breast half with skin, thawed if frozen
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons olive oil, extra virgin preferred
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon, crumbled
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red hot-pepper sauce
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped, fresh parsley
Lightly spray a large glass baking dish with cooking spray. Put the turkey in the baking dish. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients except the parsley. Stir in the parsley.
Using a tablespoon or your fingers, gently loosen the skin from the breast meat, creating a pocket. Being careful to not break the skin, spread the parsley mixture as evenly as possible under the skin. Gently pull the skin over any exposed meat. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Remove the plastic wrap from the turkey.
Roast the turkey with the skin side up for 1 hour, 30 minutes to 1 hour, 45 minutes or until a meat thermometer or instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 170 degrees and the juices run clear. Transfer to a cutting board. Let stand for 15 minutes for easier slicing and to let the turkey continue cooking (the internal temperature will rise at least 5 degrees). Discard the skin before serving the turkey.
Layered Mashed Potato & Mushroom Casserole from Eating Well
Traditional mashed potatoes (think butter, cream and loads of gravy) can leave you wearing stretchy pants for a week. But this pretty, healthified casserole combines the creamy texture you love with nonfat buttermilk and a tasty saute of mushrooms, garlic and spinach to send your taste buds to their holiday happy place.
3 1/2 pounds potatoes, preferably Yukon Gold, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/2 pounds cremini or white mushrooms, halved
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white, beaten
1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup chopped shallots
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4 cups trimmed and finely chopped chard or spinach
1 cup mushroom broth or reduced-sodium beef broth
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
Bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in a large pot. Place potatoes in a steamer basket, cover and steam over medium-low heat, replenishing the water as necessary, until the potatoes are fall-apart tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, working in two batches, place mushrooms in a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides as needed, until the mushrooms are coarsely chopped.
Transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Add butter and mash until chunky-smooth. Gradually stir in buttermilk, egg and egg white and 1 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant and beginning to soften, about one minute. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they release their liquid and the pan is almost dry, 10 to 12 minutes. Add chard (or spinach) and continue to cook, stirring, until wilted, about four minutes. Whisk broth and flour in a small bowl. Add to the pan along with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, pepper and rosemary. Cook, stirring, until the mixture bubbles and thickens, about one minute.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
To assemble, spread half of the mashed potatoes in an even layer in a 9-by-13-inch (or similar 3-quart) baking dish. Sprinkle half the Parmesan over the potatoes. Spread the mushroom mixture on top and spread the remaining potatoes over the mushroom layer. Top with the remaining Parmesan.
Bake until hot throughout and the top is golden brown, about 35 minutes.
Sweet Potato-Pecan Casserole from Food Network
If sweet potatoes are your jam, you’re in luck. These babies are a nutritional powerhouse. That said, once they’re mixed with butter and brown sugar and topped with marshmallows or caramel, they may as well be called dessert (they pack as many calories). This lightened-up version hits the spot while keeping calories to a minimum.
3 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes (about five medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ginger
1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar
1/3 cup finely chopped pecans
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mist an 8-inch square baking dish with cooking spray.
Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a pot with a large steamer basket in place. Put the sweet potatoes in the basket, cover and steam until tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer the potatoes to a bowl and let cool slightly. Add the honey, egg, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, the nutmeg, ginger and 1/2 teaspoon salt; whip with an electric mixer until smooth. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the prepared baking dish.
Mix the brown sugar, pecans and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl; sprinkle over the potatoes. Bake until hot and beginning to brown around the edges, 40 to 45 minutes.
Healthy Pumpkin Pie from Chocolate Covered Katie
No Thanksgiving dinner is complete until you’ve had pie – pumpkin pie, to be precise. This healthified version of a seasonal favorite includes oats and flax in a delicious, dairy-free pie. Go ahead, have another slice.
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin puree
1 (13.5 ounces) can full-fat coconut milk
1/4 cup rolled oats (20 grams)
2 tablespoons ground flax
1/3 cup coconut sugar or brown sugar
Pinch pure stevia, or 2 tablespoons extra brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 pie crust
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Blend all ingredients together until smooth, then pour into a prepared pie crust in a 10-inch round pan. Bake 27 minutes (it will still be underdone after this time, which is OK), let it cool, then refrigerate at least five hours uncovered for the pie to thicken and set.