image via smoothfitness.com

The above infographic pretty much took the words right out of my mouth. Check out those numbers! AND those are for correct serving sizes- you know no one follows those, especially not on Turkey Day, where your plate is so overflowing that the dog gains weight just by following you around with his mouth wide open. You can see just how much exercise it takes to burn off each thing you put on your plate.

Knowledge is power. The least you can do is stick to proper serving sizes so you know exactly what the damage is. From there, a few simple changes can lighten it up even further.

Let’s start at the top:

Turkey
Serving: 6 ounces for 340 calories
What it looks like: a deck of cards
Lighten it up: White meat has less saturated fat, but dark meat isn’t necessarily terrible for you. It actually contains vitamins A, K, B6, B12, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid, minerals as selenium, phosphorus and zinc than white meat. To avoid unnecessary fat and calories, just skip the skin. If you are cooking, don’t deep fry- you’re soaking it in extra fat and the oven will save you a call to the fire department.

Ham
Serving: 6 ounces for 300 calories
What it looks like: a slightly pinker desk of cards
Lighten it up: Skip the marbled fat.

Gravy
Serving: 1/4 cup for 150 calories
What it looks like: A little in the middle of your mashed potato volcano (unerupted.)
Lighten it up: If you can skip it- do. If you are one of those that likes gravy on everything: your potatoes, your stuffing, your turkey, measure out a serving of it and dip instead of drenching your plate.

Pumpkin Pie
Serving: 1 slice for 180 calories
What it looks like: It’s 1/12 of a pie, which is more of a sliver than the typical serving. The the entire pumpkin pie up to make sure you’re getting the right amount instead of eyeballing one piece.
Lighten it up: Skip the whipped cream, but don’t stress too much. In the grander scheme, pumpkin pie is pretty light.

Cranberry Sauce
Serving: 1/2 cup for 190 calories
What it looks like: About 3 heaping spoonfuls
Lighten it up: Skip the canned stuff and go fresh. Pick a low sugar recipe, like this Orange Cranberry Relish, to make sure this sweet condiment counts more towards a serving of fruit than dessert.

Rolls
Serving: 1 roll w/butter for 150 calories
What it looks like: a little dinner roll with a schmear of butter on top
Lighten it up: Skip em- they are just carby, starchy filler. If you really need it, skip the butter and use it to soak up all the extras from you plate.

Mashed Potatoes
Serving: 1/2 cup for 150 calories
What it looks like: A dollop the size of a scoop of ice cream
Lighten it up: Sub half the potatoes for cauliflower. No one will ever know the difference. Scout’s honor.

Stuffing
Serving: 1/2 cup for 180 calories
What it looks like: Picture a tennis ball cut in half
Lighten it up: Use whole grain bread crumbs and pack it full of…you know what? Just make this version instead.

Green Bean Casserole
Serving: 1/2 cup for 150 calories
What it looks like: A Post-It size puddle of delicious mush on your plate
Lighten it up: Toss the canned mushroom soup and just do steamed green beans and sprinkle those crunchy onions on top (you know that’s all anyone wants anyway).

Grand Total: 1600 calories

And this is just for dinner. This doesn’t count appetizers, cheese plates, relish trays, beverages and bites you sneak into the kitchen for before dinner is ready. This day, just like any other, watch your portions. And…Happy Thanksgiving!

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