The holiday’s are a time for gathering with loved ones to celebrate the season. It’s also a time for lots of food. For somebody who is monitoring their calories and watching their weight, it can be hard to turn down all of the delicious holiday dishes. However, making simple adjustments to traditional recipes can be a sure fire way to avoid the dreaded holiday weight gain. You can still enjoy your favorite meals by swapping out ingredients for healthier alternatives!

Gravy Swaps

Gravy atop a mountain of food is typically loaded with extra calories, saturated fat, and sodium. Fortunately, you can still add gravy to your holiday menu by making your own. Add together some low-sodium turkey or chicken broth, skim milk, and fresh herbs. You’d never guess this combination has fewer calories than the traditional recipe.

Casserole Swaps

The holidays are a time for casseroles to be the star side dish. Instead of whipping-up traditional casseroles, which are often high in fat and sodium, try some healthier deep dishes. For example, instead of making green bean casserole, swap out roasted green beans with slivered almonds on top for an extra crunch.

Stuffing Swaps

What is Thanksgiving without stuffing? Ingredients in this classic dish can easily be adjusted to make for a healthier alternative. Instead of using butter and white bread, sauté your vegetables with olive oil and use whole grain bread for extra fiber. Finish your stuffing off with some low-sodium turkey broth and fresh herbs.

Cranberry Sauce Swaps

Many cranberry sauces are loaded with added sugar to help offset the bitter taste of cranberries. Instead of buying store bought sauce, try making your own at home. All it takes is some fruit juice, dried fruit, spices, and yogurt to turn a holiday favorite into a healthy side dish. Another idea would be to make some Cranberry Orange Relish.

Pie Swaps

Dessert is sometimes the BEST part of a holiday meal! However, one pie slice is about 500 calories. Instead, try having a crustless pie option to enjoy all the nutritional perks of pumpkin without all the added fat from the pie crust.

No matter what’s on the menu, the key to avoiding unwanted weight gain is to be mindful of portion control. Traditional holiday meals can be enjoyed throughout the season keeping in mind portion sizes, eating your favorite dishes in moderation, and making healthy ingredient swaps when desired.