Although Thanksgiving is a holiday that typically involves abundance, most of us don’t want or need more “abundance” on our waistlines.


On Thanksgiving Day, the average American eats between 2,000 and 4,500 calories, which is a significant jump from the 1,600 to 2,400 calories that are consumed on a typical day.


Calorie-laden feasts of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie can sabotage your good intentions to watch the calories. But with a little adjustment to the ingredients, your Thanksgiving feast can include traditional foods that have all the delicious taste, but far fewer calories.


As we all know, standard supermarket brand loss-leader turkeys are usually sold really, really cheap during the holidays. But the mega-farmed birds are fed antibiotics and other undesirable chemicals.


This season, consider spending more for a “free range” organic-variety turkey. Not only are they acclaimed to be more tasty (according to many), but they are also raised by allowing them to ‘roam free’ as nature intended for them – and they don’t eat feed containing unwanted chemical additives.


Here are some helpful fat-cutting ideas for your turkey dinner:


For a lower fat turkey, make sure you select one that isn’t self-basting so you can avoid the extra fat.


Skip the high-carb stuffing mixes by filling the turkey cavity with whole or halved onions, halved lemons or apples and sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, marjoram, thyme and rosemary.


Omit the butter rub by covering the skin with an oil spray and season it with salt and pepper.


Consider buying a turkey breast instead of the whole bird, as breast meat is lower in calories than dark meat – although judged ‘not as tasty’ by many.


Try adding a meatless variation called “Tofurky” (A tofu-based product that looks and tastes remarkably similar to turkey) for your vegetarian friends and those who might like to experiment with a lower fat main course.


Cut fat by using oil (soybean, olive, safflower, etc.) and turkey drippings when making the gravy. Mix them half and half, thereby diluting the saturated fat from the turkey drippings while still retaining the rich turkey flavor.


You can also create an alternative low-fat, broth-based gravy by using the following recipe:


Lo Fat Vegetable Broth Gravy Recipe


1 cup white, button or mushrooms of choice, chopped
1 small chopped onion (sweet is good)
1/3 cup margarine (vegan preferred)
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth (canned)
2 tbsp soy sauce (or 1 tbsp soy sauce and 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce)
1/4 cup unbleached flour
1 tbsp poultry seasoning (or 1/2 tsp each of sage, thyme and marjoram)
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large skillet, melt the margarine and add onion and mushrooms over high heat mixing for 1-2 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium setting, adding broth and soy sauce (or sauce mixture). Slowly add flour, mix well to prevent lumps. Adjust to a simmer and reduce heat.

Stir in poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.

Cook for 8-10 minutes (until thickened, stirring regularly.)

Serve warm.


 Also, here are some tips to help avoid overeating on Turkey Day:


Don’t skip breakfast and lunch to “save space” for the big meal. If you eat healthfully throughout the day, the food will be digested by time for dinner.


If you are hungry when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner you will be more prone to eat fast which usually causes you to eat more.


Wait a few minutes on that second helping. The first plate you just consumed is still making its way into your stomach. It may seem like you have more room in your stomach when you actually don’t.


Enjoy the conversation for a bit. After 10 minutes – you may find your “full” sensors caught up with your brain – and you really don’t need the second helping after all! 


Start by feasting on veggies. Make the majority of your plate healthful and minimize the amounts of candied yams, stuffing and gravy that you serve yourself.


Skip the rolls. You don’t need cornbread, either. Thanksgiving meals are already loaded with complex carbohydrates, even without these. 


After Meal Fat-Burning Idea:


Before everyone gets settled in the easy chairs for the marathon of football games and snoozing, insist on starting a family tradition of taking a stroll together after the Thanksgiving meal.


This will encourage good digestion and will get your metabolism in gear so you can burn some of the calories you’ve consumed. It also provides quality time to visit with relatives and to build happy memories that don’t revolve around just the food.


And we should all agree that healthy traditions are something to be thankful for!


David Flores is a natural health researcher for Institute for Vibrant Living, a leading source for all-natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals for many health and nutrition challenges.  To learn more about the products offered by the Institute for Vibrant Living visit


If you found this helpful you might like to visit where you’ll find more free healthy living articles to help improve your health today.


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