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Dietitian offers tips for wise, healthy Thanksgiving eating

Nov. 18, 2010

By Rachel Stobaugh

"Don't starve up to stuff up," said Dr. Suzy Weems, registered dietitian, professor and chair of family and consumer sciences, when giving healthy advice for Thanksgiving.

One way of staying healthy during the holiday is to stay active.

"Exercise is actually more fun if you participate yourself," Weems said. "Rather than watching football, it's more effective to go outside with the family and play a game of football."

Eating a healthy breakfast can help students fill their plates proportionately when the Thanksgiving feast comes along, Weems said.

Maintaining a similar eating pattern can keep hunger issues under control for the most part, so that overcompensating isn't an issue. Furthermore, make sure to eat when hungry, not just because there is food on the table, Weems said.

"Don't feel like you have to eat everything at the same meal," Weems said.

However, when everything on the table is appealing, Dr. Weems has a few simple tips to cut calories and make wise choices during Thanksgiving break:

• When choosing meat, it's best to choose white meat with no skin to save a few calories.

• As for potatoes, cover them with a small scoop of gravy rather than flooding them, and the rest of the plate, too, for that matter.

• Baked sweet potatoes are also a healthy option, and top it with cinnamon and a bit of butter or margarine for flavor. Baked sweet potatoes are a healthy alternative to the classic candied sweet potatoes that are sitting in melted butter, sugar and cinnamon and often covered with marshmallows.

• When preparing green bean casserole, choose a low-fat soup and fresh green beans and mushrooms for more nutrients and extra flavor.

• Making fresh cranberry sauce is a great way to save on calories and pump up fresh flavor, rather than having the traditional canned cranberry sauce.

• Pumpkin pie is half the calories of pecan pie, so opt for pumpkin pie if possible.