The holiday season is notorious for packing on the pounds, but eating a good Thanksgiving meal doesn’t mean you have to eat fattening foods. And eating a healthy meal doesn’t mean you have to forego your Thanksgiving favorites. Here are some easy ways to tweak the classics to be a bit healthier for you and your family.

* Spices. As long as you use tasting and add them in small increments, adding extra spices to your foods is a great way to cut back on calories. If the food is well seasoned, you won’t need to add butter or gravy to make it taste good. Plus, if food is hot or spicy, you tend to eat less of it.

* Evaporated milk. This is great for adding to recipes like pies or gravy. It adds flavor without all the calories of cream. Just remember to use a product made from skim milk.

* Ditch the fat. When it comes to turkey, it’s pretty easy to cut back on the greasy fat. Cook the turkey in a drip pan instead of one that collects the fat at the bottom. Before you eat the turkey, be sure to remove the skin because this is where hidden fat and extra calories can be found.

* Also, don’t stuff your turkey. This absorbs most of the fat and calories you’d rather keep out. Cook the stuffing in a separate pan. If you use the drippings to make gravy, skim the fat off first. You can add broth to these dishes to keep the moisture without adding the bad stuff.

* Lose the butter. Butter is a big offender on Thanksgiving. You can put it on almost anything and it adds lots of fat and calories. Instead, try using chicken broth and evaporated milk to add flavor to dishes like mashed potatoes without all the fat.

* Watch the drinks. Thanksgiving calories can come from what you drink as well as what you eat. Try having water or juice with your meal rather than high-calorie drinks like eggnog, soda, or alcoholic beverages.

* Salad for side dishes. A lot of what we eat on Thanksgiving comes in the form of side dishes rather than the main course. Why not skip the stuffing or the rolls and start with a salad instead? This is a healthy option to help fill you up before the meal so you eat less of the fatty offenders with your turkey. Just remember that salads can be bad for you too, depending what you put in them.

Remember that no matter how good something is for you, if you eat thousands of calories, you’re probably going to gain weight. Even healthy food should be enjoyed in moderation, so watch your portions as well as the kind of food you’re eating.

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