Celebrate the Holidays Without Gaining Weight

You can embrace the holiday season and not tip the scale. Just make some tweaks to recipes and healthy choices.

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Cut Calories from the Big Meal


The typical American gobbles down a whopping 3,000 calories at a holiday feast. While you can't work that off—it would require walking about 30 miles—you can make a few small changes to shave 1,000 calories off your plate.

Save 250 Calories

Try not to take a huge helping of turkey (or ham)—4 ounces (the size of a deck of cards) is enough. Dark meat lovers should swap some for white meat. And if you must have a piece with skin, have just one.

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Save 120 Calories


Volunteer to make the mashed sweet potatoes and season them with cinnamon or ginger instead of topping with butter and marshmallows.

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Save 190 Calories


Pass on the roll basket (and get extra credit for that pat of butter you won't be eating).

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Save 110 Calories


Instead of smothering your plate with gravy, stick to about 3 tablespoons.

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Save 80 Calories


Cut the sugar in your favorite cake recipe by a third. You won't even taste the difference.

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Save 75 Calories


Fill up beforehand by drinking a big glass of water—studies show you'll eat less.

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Save 190 Calories


Enjoy the pie, but forget the crust—that's where most of the calories come from.

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Your Favorites Done Light


We called in registered dietitian Susan Mitchell, Ph.D., a member of our Health Advisory Board, to suggest some healthy holiday makeovers.

Holiday Pitfall

"I can eat mounds of mashed potatoes made with extra butter and dripping in gravy."—chocolateknitter

Healthier Makeover

Prepare your mashed potatoes with evaporated skim milk for comparable creaminess. Sub in a light butter made with canola oil. This lowers saturated fat, but keeps them flavorful.