A Cornucopia of Calories

HolidaysTurkeyLifestyle and LeisureDining and Drinking

Did you know that one traditional holiday meal packs 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat? Include appetizers and eggnog cheer land you are downing a screaming 4,500 calories and an avalanche of fat.

The Food and Drug Administration says an entire day's calorie consumption for the average man should be 2,000 calories and the fat grams should be no more than 65.

Don't despair. You can lighten up that calorie and fat load without giving up flavor or your favorite dishes.

Here are some suggestions of how to trim the fat and calories from your holiday feast.


  • Pick Your Favorites. Eat only what you really love. Some people must have mash potatoes. Others live for pumpkin pie. But why gain weight on Aunt Betty's oddly green marshmallow, cottage cheese and pineapple dessert!

  • Take It Off. Remove the skin from the turkey. Cook it on for flavor but discard half the fat and about 20 percent of the calories by ditching the skin.

  • Lighten Up. When eating turkey, choose white meat. A 3.5-ounce serving (size of a deck of cards) of turkey breast without the skin has 161 calories and four grams of fat. The same amount of dark meat has 192 calories and eight grams of fat.

  • Be Fresh. Fresh food is healthier than canned or packaged because it comes without added sodium, sugar and chemicals.

  • Dump The Heavy Stuff. Ditch the canned sweet potatoes with a ton of butter, brown sugar and marshmallows. Go for a baked yam with a touch of honey and cinnamon.

  • Berry Good. Use whole berries in your cranberry sauce for added fiber. Go easy on the sugar. Use a little stevia to add natural sweetness without calories.

  • Have a Veggie Affair. Serve lots of veggies. Roast in the oven or steam them. Use olive oil to moisten and just a dab of butter.

More Ways to Cheat the "Holiday Spread":


  • Instead of butter and cream, fat-free chicken broth or nonfat buttermilk makes for rich and creamy mashed potatoes with a ton of fat.

  • Lighten the gravy by skimming and discarding the grease from the pan drippings. A fat separator is made just for that.

  • Skip the butter-based roux to thicken the gravy and use a sprinkling of cornstarch or flour.

  • Whole-grain bread is healthier than white bread for the stuffing. Skip the stick of butter and make the dressing moist with diced veggies and fruit.

  • Piecrusts are notoriously fat laden. Chose a piece of one-crust pie or just gobble the filling.

  • Control is key. Take tiny portions and you can enjoy a bountiful selection of the holiday feast.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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