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5 tips for a healthier Thanksgiving

Enjoy traditional Thanksgiving favorites with a few modifications so you don't feel as stuffed as the turkey.

SEATTLE — Eating healthy shouldn't mean missing out on Thanksgiving. With a little know-how, you can satisfy your cravings for traditional favorites, and feel a little better afterward.

Here are five ways to have a healthier Thanksgiving feast:

1. Modify recipes

Whether you are hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a dish to share, make your recipes healthier with less fat, sugar, and calories. Dietician Carrie Tollefson with Overlake Medical Center suggests switching out the green bean casserole with fresh green beans sauteed in a little olive oil, garlic, and onions. For mashed potatoes, consider using gold or russet potatoes which are creamier in texture and require less butter and fat.

2. Downsize your plate

Using smaller plates makes your portions seem bigger, so you're tricking your brain into feeling fuller with less total food. If you keep your portions small, you can enjoy a bigger variety of goodies.

3. Rethink your drinks

Don't forget alcohol calories can add up quickly. Have a glass of wine, but go easy. Also, don't forget to drink water. That way, you stay hydrated, save calories, and stay sober. Tollefson suggests sparkling water or "Spa" water infused with citrus fruit or cranberries for a festive-feel.

4. Eat breakfast

You might think it makes sense to ration your calories, but don't go to Thanksgiving dinner starving. Eating a good breakfast and lunch beforehand can give you more control over your appetite.

5. Slow down

Eating slowly and tasting each mouthful is a good way to enjoy your meal without overindulging. Put your fork down between bites. Enjoy the dinner-table conversation. Savor the experience and the company.

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