If we took a poll and asked people what their favorite holiday is, no doubt Thanksgiving would be among the top five. Just thinking about Thanksgiving gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling, right? Well for some, this is the case; but for those who have to prepare the holiday fare, it may not be.

Today eating healthy foods is on everyone’s agenda. When planning a holiday menu many factors have to be taken into consideration. One of which is how to prepare a meal that is low in calories yet stays true to the tradition.

One of the ways to create a healthy holiday menu is by substituting a few dishes so that even the most discerning guest or family member will not notice the change.

Start the meal with a leafy green salad and low-fat dressing. Next serve a delicious homemade vegetable soup instead of yams or mashed potatoes. In addition, add a vegetable platter with a low-fat yogurt dip. For the main course, serve broccoli and sweet potatoes along with the turkey instead of regular boiled or mash potatoes. While many family members or guests may be looking for that slice of bread and butter, serve a whole grain loaf with margarine.

For dessert, pumpkin pie happens to be the best alternative to other more high fat desserts such as chocolate cake or pastries. Add a dollop of low-fat whipped cream and everyone at the table will feel totally sated.

Also, serve water and lemon with your meals instead of cola or other soft drinks. Take a two hour break in between courses. Play a board game, card game or watch a favorite movie on DVD.

Planning a menu early will make preparation easier. It also allows for trying new recipes that are healthy and which everyone will enjoy. Remember, the turkey is the main event; therefore all of the side dishes are an added plus to the menu. By the way, keep an extra loaf of whole wheat bread on the side as well as low-fat mayo for later. No doubt someone will want to have a turkey sandwich later on during the night.