1. A better bean. The holidays just wouldn’t be the same without green bean casserole. But, warns Christen Miller, RD, LD, of Café Physique, “It strikes out with all the fat and sodium in the main ingredient—canned soup.” (Damn!) So, she advises trimming the fat with Campbell’s 98-percent fat-free cream of mushroom soup.
2. Better apps. Ditch the cheese tray and spinach dip for a fruit and veggie selection served with low-fat or fat-free salad dressing or hummus.
3. Portion control. Use 9-inch plates—an inch smaller than the standard 10. “These plates require less food to ‘appear’ full, so you will consume fewer calories overall,” says Miller.
4. Pie chart. For pumpkin pie, Miller advocates either eliminating the crust altogether to save about 170 calories per serving, or substituting vanilla Stevia for the sugar.
5. Veg out. “Build your meal around nutrient-packed, low-calorie veggies,” says Miller, who suggests looking for guilt-free alternative recipes. Short cut: Stash the mash—forsake potatoes for mashed cauliflower.
6. Stuff it. “It’s hard to slim down a stuffing recipe, but I recommend avoiding recipes with sausage or bacon, and choosing whole-grain bread and smaller servings,” says Miller. (It’s a bummer, but you’ll deal.)
7. Bear fruit. Integrate fiber-rich, low-calorie fruits to the main menu with savory fruit-based desserts, such as baked pears.
8. Drink savvy. Create infused bevvies with citrus slices or berries and a sugar substitute, like Stevia, instead of sugar-laden sweet teas and sodas, suggests Miller.
9. Tame your turkey. Give artificial pesticides and chemicals the bird with a healthier alternative, like Willie Bird fresh free-range organic turkey. Raised on organic grains, it’s certified as free of the above.
10. Don’t assume (anything). “Read nutrition labels, including serving sizes—servings in packages and total calories per serving—on any product you buy. This will help you make healthier choices while shopping and consuming,” says Miller, who’s clearly done her work. Your turn.