Dishes, Sides, and Desserts to Avoid this Thanksgiving

The average person eats 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat on Thanksgiving!  If you’re trying to lose weight, or simply stay on track this holiday season, you’ll want to avoid the dishes with the most calories, fat and sugar. But remember – it’s all about moderation! You can have your favorites – even the offenders below – but the key is to indulge in small portions, and without all the fixings. Instead of eating a big slice of apple pie a la mode, skip the ice cream and avoid the crust, or just take a sliver. It is Thanksgiving, after all!

With that in mind, here are the dishes, sides, and desserts you might want to avoid or limit this Thanksgiving:

Eggnog. One cup of this holiday treat has about 350 calories, 19 grams of fat, 150 milligrams of cholesterol (half of the USDA’s suggested daily limit), and 21 grams of sugar. And that’s without alcohol! If you like your eggnog spiked you can expect to gulp down at least 400 calories per cup. Try this recipe from Bethenny Frankel. It’s only 150 calories – with rum!

Apple pie a la mode: A single slice with a scoop of vanilla can set you back 500 calories. The high calorie count comes from the rich butter crust and its gooey, sugar-laden filling. Lighten it up by using real apples – not that apple filling from a can – and half the sugar called for. Apples are naturally sweet, so you really don’t need all that added sugar.  Skip the crust or the ice cream to save roughly 100 calories, or 200 if you skip both!

A chocolate martini has at least 300 calories per glass when you use vodka, chocolate liquor, and syrup.  A shot of Godiva chocolate liquor has 103 calories and 11 grams of sugar alone! If you can’t resist your chocolate martinis, keep it to one glass or make it your dessert. What are the holidays without a decadent martini, anyway?

What do you get when you combine pecans, sugar, butter, and corn syrup? Pecan pie … one of the worst desserts you can eat. A single slice will cost you roughly 500 calories, 37 grams of fat, and 26 grams of sugar. There really isn’t anyway to salvage this one, so you if can’t enjoy Thanksgiving without a piece of pecan pie, cut yourself a sliver and enjoy it.

It’s hard to say if cheesecake is worse than pecan pie ( it all depends where you get it ), but one thing’s for sure, it’s not one of the better choices! One slice of Cheesecake Factory’s original cheesecake has 707 calories and 29 grams of fat.  But you can also make it at home for half that. Make it a little healthier by following a low-fat recipe. This cheesecake recipe is lightened up with low-fat cream cheese, and nonfat sour cream, and still receives rave reviews!

Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and fiber and are considered one of the best complex carbohydrates you can eat! But candied yams are a different story. Many recipes have you add up to six cups of sugar before you start baking, and/or throw in a bag of marshmallows. The typical serving of a side of candied yams have over 400 calories and 35 grams of sugar – that’s more added sugar than you should have in a whole day! Stick to baked sweet potatoes with a small tab of butter and sprinkle of brown sugar for a healthy, comforting side!

It might come as a surprise that cranberry sauce is on this list. After all, cranberries are a great source of vitamin E, K, and C, and dietary fiber. Canned cranberry sauce, however, is a different story. A half cup serving has 50 grams of sugar! Thats twice the amount the AHA recommends per day for women. That’s A LOT of sugar for such a boring side dish. Skip the jellied, canned stuff and make your own at home, limiting the added sugars.

Go easy on the dark turkey meat, stuffing, croissants, and creamy dips. Eat nuts and cheese in moderation, and try to limit the alcohol beverages if you’re trying to watch your calorie intake! Alcohol lowers inhibitions, which will make just about everything impossible to resist!

Thanksgiving is all about giving thanks and eating good food with your loved ones, so don’t go crazy trying to avoid the worst dishes on the table. If you find yourself drooling over something – eat it! Don’t make yourself suffer! Enjoy the day…it only comes around once a year!

Happy Thanksgiving

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