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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Thanksgiving menu planning and the T-Day calorie counter

It's less than two weeks till Thanksgiving, here in the US. I can't believe it's so soon! Anyways, it's time to get the big meal plan under way. 

Turkey--check, mashed potatoes with lots of butter--check, praline-topped sweet potato souffle--check, green bean casserole--check, dinner rolls--check, bread stuffing--check, gravy--check, cranberry sauce--check, pumpkin pie--check, pecan pie--check, caramel apple cake--check    

Whoa! Time to see if my body can even handle this amount of food. Here's something that may interest you (calorie counter for Thanksgiving dinner). Simply enter the food you plan on consuming, and see what it all amounts to, and just how much exercise you'll need to do in order to burn it off. I know, I'm a spoil-sport, making you see just how gluttonous we Americans are on the big T-day.

Anyways, check it out. It may help you refine and slim your Thanksgiving meal plan. I know it definitely inspired me to rethink our traditional favorites. 

I'll be making leaner versions of many of our family favorites, for example, serving pumpkin chiffon pie (instead of pumpkin custard, saves about 50 cals per serving) and skipping the pecan pie altogether. 

I'll do a lean green bean casserole (with a homemade alternative to the fried onions, and a mock cream of mushroom soup, shaving about 100 cals per serving). 

Substituting chicken broth for half of the butter in the bread dressing and the mashed potatoes (hey, even I like a little butter), will save about 35-50 calories per serving of each dish. 

I'm working on the recipes for some alternative ingredients in our family's favorite caramel apple cake, as well as in the cranberry sauce (I may use some stevia for part of the sugar, and applesauce for part of the fat in the cake). 

We may forgo the dinner rolls, as there will be bread stuffing, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes -- probably enough starchy stuff. 

And I'm planning on adding a couple of healthier sides, like an apple slaw salad, and a kale and broccoli dish.

How about you? What's on your Thanksgiving menu? Do you give much thought to how heavy or light your Thanksgiving meal will be? 

Some people can just take small amounts of all these delicious foods. Not me. I'm not terribly disciplined if the food is all set out before me. I seem to do better if I begin by preparing lighter versions of our favorites.


  1. We usually have a couple of steamed veggies as sides and only one dessert. The heavy hitters are the stuffing, potatoes, and gravy. However, we try not to alter things too much when the extended family gathers. It's the tradition of those that came before and those there now that people don't want changed too much. However, it sounds like you've found a way to handle that by altering the recipes a little. Good luck.

    1. Hi live and learn,
      Yes, keeping to traditions makes the holiday special for a lot of folks. My family has their particular favorites that I "have to" serve, although they don't mind if I tweak the recipes just a bit.

  2. Interesting post, Lili. I'm going to focus on quantity this year. We always end up with way too much food so I'm going to try to prepare less. We'll have a smaller turkey, less stuffing & mashed potatoes and, like you, I'll skip the dinner rolls. Leftovers for the next day is fine but if it extends beyond that, there's usually food waste.

    1. Hi Sharon,
      We've done years with much less quantity, as well. I roasted a bone-in turkey breast in those years. It was quite good, gave me drippings to make a gravy, and provided a smaller amount of turkey, enough for about 10 servings.
      Good luck with your plans!

  3. I had Thanksgiving on Oct 8 (Canadian) but I'd love to have your sweet potato souffle recipe for next year!

    1. Hi anexacting,
      I sometimes wish the US had Thanksgiving in October, as Canada does. More time between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
      I'll post the praline sweet potato recipe later this week.


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