Whether nibbling on appetizers or treating yourself to the holiday trimmings, the average American adult “gobbles” down about 4,500 calories – or more than double the necessary daily caloric intake.

So, how can we indulge without the bulge and still keep your family, friends & guests happy? Consider healthier appetizer and side dish options, as well as some minor tweaks to those traditional dishes.

Marie Roth, registered dietitian for Blythedale Children’s Hospital & Kohl’s Eat Well, Be Well Program offers 12 simple ways to rethink popular holiday eats and avoid packing on the pounds:

  1. Cranberry Dishes
    Cut back on the sugar by skipping the canned jellied cranberry sauce.  Commercial cranberry sauce contains 44 grams of sugar per ½-cup serving. Instead, try this refreshing raw cranberry relish that cuts the added sugar down to 8 grams per half-cup.
  2. Mashed Potatoes
    Reduce calories by replacing half the potatoes with boiled turnips and/or well-steamed cauliflower and mash with low-fat milk. A portion of the butter can also be replaced with roasted garlic.

  3. Stuffing
    Forget the fat and salt by skipping the sausage and simmering onions, celery, fennel and mushrooms until soft in low-sodium turkey or chicken broth instead of sautéing in butter.  Mix in lots of fresh herbs instead of salt for adding flavor into the stuffing.

  4. Giblet Gravy
    Trade in commercial gravy for homemade. Use the turkey giblets to make a flavorful stock, but discard these solids instead of chopping and adding them to the gravy. Alternatively, rinse well and soak porcini mushrooms in hot low-sodium broth until softened. Then blend to make smooth before adding to pan drippings. But, defat your pan drippings. Use a defatting cup if you have one. Otherwise, pour the pan drippings into a bowl, pot or measuring cup. Allow the drippings to sit a few minutes until the fat to rises to the surface. Using a spoon or baster, remove the layer of fat before finishing the gravy.

  5. Vegetables
    Steam, sauté or roast the veggies with more calorie-dense sides such as the green bean casserole.  Try shaved Brussel sprouts sautéed with olive oil and garlic, or sheet pan balsamic roasted veggies.

  6. Pumpkin Pie
    Cut back on the sugar and calories by replacing the condensed sweetened milk (1- 14-oz can has 1,300 calories and 220 g of sugar) with low-fat evaporated milk and ½ cup of sugar.

  7. Child and Adult Beverages
    Mix plain seltzer into the apple cider or wine at a 50/50 ratio for a lower calorie sparkling cider or spritzer.

  8. Low Fat Appetizers
    Make shrimp cocktail or a vegetable crudité with a dip made from nonfat Greek-style yogurt and herbs to create low calorie, low fat appetizers! Check out this yummy herb dip!

  9. Toss the Turkey Skin
    Remove it from the turkey to cut back on saturated fats.

  10. Go Naked
    Not you, the desserts.  Skip the whipped cream or ice cream topper.

  11. Portion Control
    Keep the turkey and starchy sides (potatoes, stuffing, candied yams) each to about a quarter of your plate, filling the other half with veggies.

  12. Indulge in a Plan
    Have a plan for handling your worst temptations; if you won’t be able to turn down the pecan or pumpkin pie, take a tiny slice of each to equal one serving, instead of a full serving of each.


These materials are provided to you by
Blythedale Children’s Hospital and Kohl’s Eat Well, Be Well Nutrition Outreach Program.
For more tips and information, please visit www.blythedale.org/kohls

Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well Program

Blythedale Children's Hospital, through the generosity of Kohl’s Department Stores, is proud to offer Blythedale and Kohl's Eat Well, Be Well, an innovative outreach program designed to bring health and nutrition education to schools throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. Through this program, Blythedale staff members teach healthy eating habits to children by providing curricula, training and educational tools to school districts throughout the area. The program provides general nutrition guidelines to students, parents and school faculty. Blythedale Children's Hospital offers experts in nutrition and health-education to speak with local parenting groups, PTAs and school personnel.

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