Nutritionists give advice for keeping calorie count down during Thanksgiving dinner



PITTSBURGH - Turkey, stuffing and all the fixings can add up to about 3,000 calories, nutritionists said about the typical Thanksgiving meal.

Most adults only need 1,500-2,000 calories a day, so the extra calories can have a heavy impact.

Nutritionists said there are simple things you can to shave 1,000 calories from your dinner, and it all starts with eating breakfast.

 “You don't want to be famished when you sit down for Thanksgiving dinner,” said Joanne Phillips, a dietitian at West Penn Hospital.

Having breakfast will make it easier to say no to high-calorie appetizers and can save up to 400 calories.

When you sit down for dinner, start with soup. The calorie savings vary but “eating a broth-based soup may help you feel fuller so that you actually eat less during the meal,” said Phillips.

Now, for the turkey and all the side dishes.

First, load half of your plate with steamed veggies. Phillips said they are low in calories and fill you up faster.

Then, eat smaller portions of starches, like potatoes, yams and stuffing, or eliminate one. Phillips said you will save 80-100 calories for every ¼ cup scoop.

As for the main course, choose white meat over dark and skip the skin. You will save 50 calories for every four ounces.

In addition, you can save 50 calories by using sugar-free cranberry sauce.

One place where your calories can really add up is with your beverages so you want to alternate between alcoholic drinks like your wine and beer with low-calorie diet soda or seltzer. That way save 150 calories per beverage

You can even save a couple hundred calories on dessert.

“Your pumpkin pie will be your best option. Pumpkin pie has about 300 calories per serving versus 400 for apple and 500 for pecan,” said Phillips.

Phillips also suggests taking a brisk walk instead of a nap after dinner. You’ll burn 200 calories for 20 minutes.

And when it’s time for that late-night turkey sandwich, try open face or only half.  You’ll cut 80 calories on that slice of bread.