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Top 5 Ways to Lighten your Thanksgiving Recipes

Although experts disagree about exactly how many calories the average American consumes on Thanksgiving, it's certain that most of us overeat at this coveted annual holiday meal. Estimates typically range from an average of 2,500 to 4,500 calories, but you can reduce that calorie count dramatically by making some smart choices with your recipes. Here are the top five ways to make skinnier fare this Thanksgiving:
1. Thicken thinner. Gravy is a must-have for your Thanksgiving turkey, and what you use to thicken it can result in a calorie overload. Instead of using flour, cream, butter or a fat, try using arrowroot. At just 78 calories per cup, arrowroot is an excellent low-calorie thickening agent. Substitute 2 teaspoons of the powder for every tablespoon of flour that you would ordinarily use. Stir the arrowroot into cold water to dissolve it and then add it to the gravy, stirring constantly. Let the gravy come to a boil and then immediately remove it from the heat.

2. Mighty slim mash. You don't need to load up your mashed potatoes with butter, cream or sour cream to get a flavorful side. Use Yukon Gold potatoes in place of ordinary white potatoes and use 2% or whole milk for smashing. Add butter to taste and then stir in some freshly chopped chives for color and flavor.
3. Ditch the casseroles. Green bean and sweet potato casseroles are two of the biggest sources of calories on the Thanksgiving table. Instead of serving these dishes, try healthier vegetable recipes. Sauté fresh green beans with garlic and lemon zest and then splash with balsamic vinegar. You can also try cutting sweet potatoes into rounds, spraying them with olive oil cooking spray, sprinkling on rosemary and thyme and baking them for 20 minutes at 400 degrees.
4. Stuff smarter. Make your stuffing outside the bird this year to control your calories. You can swap healthier and leaner ingredients for many items in traditional bread stuffing recipes. Use a light or reduced calorie whole wheat bread for the base. Use an egg substitute instead of eggs and try reduced calorie chicken broth.
5. Prepare some skinny pumpkin. Everyone has their own tastes when it comes to pumpkin pie, but there are a number of light ways to make the traditional Thanksgiving dessert. One way is to eliminate the crust, or you can use phyllo dough or crumbled low calorie cookies as the base. Swapping pumpkin puree instead of pumpkin pie filling and seasoning it yourself with cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger and mace will slash some calories and extra sugar. You can also use sugar substitutes and egg substitutes in many recipes.
Most importantly, roast your turkey the traditional way. Don't deep-fry it! If you'll be entertaining for Thanksgiving, you may want to give your low-cal fare a trial run to ensure that it's tasty and just as you want it on Thanksgiving Day.

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