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Eat Wisely

Photograph by Nancy Jo Iacoi

EAT WISELY (aftermath ideas below)

“All the mandatory big meals between Thanksgiving and Christmas can leave you feeling like a mall Santa by New Year’s Day. But there are a few easy fixes. “So many foods that we associate with the holidays start out healthy,” says dietitian Jennifer Bruning. “It’s the way we prepare them and what we add that can dilute those qualities.” She walked us through the beta on three holiday classics.


Skip: The deep fryer. “A great example of how we add a lot of fat and salt to something that started out pretty good for you. You may feel like you’re boosting the flavor, but you’re also making it really unhealthy.

Just 5oz of turkey provides half the recommended daily allowance of folic acid and 32g of protein.

Serve: A classic roast bird. “It’s got plenty of flavor. The key is to play up those qualities with herbs and spices.” Try a simple rub of thyme, rosemary, oregano, and garlic.


Skip: The traditional version. “It’s better for you than most pies, but it’s still not great. The problem is all the fat and sugar.”

1/8th of a 9” pumpkin pie packs 4.2g of fiber and 288mg of potassium, which helps counteract the high levels of sodium in a traditional Thanksgiving meal.

Serve: Pumpkin pie crisps. “Pumpkin is a powerhouse, full of antioxidants and phytonutrients that fight cancer and inflammation. Try amping up the flavor of canned pumpkin with pumpkin pie spices, then serve on toasted whole-wheat tortillas with a bit of cinnamon and sugar.”


Skip: The canned stuff. “Cranberries are fantastic for you. The problem is that they’re incredibly tart, so a lot of sugar gets added to make them more palatable.”

One half-inch slice (about 1/8th of a can) of cranberry sauce is only 86 calories and .1g of fat. 

Serve: Homemade cranberry relish. “If you do it yourself, you can really cut down on the sugar by using something naturally sweet like orange juice, which is a lot better than just adding table sugar but tastes just as good.”

When you make your own you get the full antioxidant, and infection-fighting benefits of cranberries!

–Adapted from “Do It Better,” Outside Magazine, 12.16, p. 64.
Additional information from Shape.com, “The Nutritional Value of Thanksgiving Dinner”


  • Drink liquids the day after the big meal. Warm lemon water on rising!
  • Eat cleansing citrus fruits during that first day.
  • Drink peppermint water. Just a drop to three in a liter of water and sip throughout the day.
  • Breathe deeply into the belly before your next meal. 5x before eating, and 5x after eating. See more weight management tips in our free PDF.