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Healthier options for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a caloric bomb.

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a caloric bomb.

For pre-bird hors d’oeuvres




Hillshire Farms Applewood Smoked Chicken Lit’l Smokies


Perfect for pigs in a blanket, or simply on their own with a toothpick down the middle, these mini-sausages are made with chicken, so they’re leaner than traditional ’dogs. Each serving is 100 calories and has 7 grams of protein.



Blue Diamond Nut.Thins

Pair these crackers with your favorite dip and don’t worry about feeling guilty: Made with whole grain rice and almonds, they’re trans-fat and cholesterol-free, and each serving packs three grams of protein. They’re available in tasty flavors like Pepper Jack and Sour Cream & Chive.

Your best bird: free-range

Why buy a free-range, naturally raised turkey? According to Andrew Dorsey, a butcher at Brooklyn’s Marlow & Daughters, naturally-raised birds have a better diet than their contained peers, which is good news for you: “If a turkey is well-fed, you’re gonna end up with a healthier product,” he says.

Which leads to another consumer benefit for choosing free-range turkeys over battery-raised: Peace of mind from knowing the birds are not caged in overcrowded sheds.

“We provide a happy environment for the birds,” says Frank McClelland, who owns Boston restaurants L’Espalier and Sel de la Terre and raises free-range, certified organic turkeys on his farm in Essex, Mass.

And better-fed, less-stressed birds pay off in better flavor, vouch both Dorsey and McClelland. “We raise heritage breeds, which were developed over a hundred years for flavor,” says McClelland. “They’re nothing like a ‘supermarket’ turkey, which [is] less flavorful.”

Yum! Healthy, pumpkin-flavored icy treats



Arctic Zero Pumpkin dessert

It’s not quite ice cream, but its taste is sure to get you through a Christmas movie marathon on TV. This flavorful dessert is less than 150 calories per pint, fat-free and lactose-intolerant friendly. $3.50-$5, Whole Foods





Lifeway Pumpkin Spice Lowfat Kefir


Kefir is kind of like a drinkable yogurt; and, like many yogurts, it’s loaded with probiotics, which bump up the good bacteria in your digestive system. This low-fat, low-cal beverage is a good source of protein, calcium and fiber, and you can enjoy it straight out of the bottle or frozen! $3.89, Whole Foods





The Soft Serve Fruit Co. in Pumpkin flavor


Just real pumpkin, filtered water and a bit of organic cane sugar go into this frozen treat, which is sweet while still retaining a yummy autumnal taste. Buy some quarts online and have them shipped anywhere across the country. $11, www.softservefruitco.com

The next day



Sandwich your leftover turkey between two pieces of Arnold Health-Full Flax & Fiber bread: It’s a good source of Omega-3s, fiber and protein — and it’s only 80 calories a slice.


Recipe: Joy's Whipped Cinnamon Sweet Potatoes

Top with toasted, chopped pecans for heart-healthy fats and fabulous crunch!

Makes 4 servings

4 medium sweet potatoes

2 tablespoons soft tub, trans fat–free, reduced-fat spread (or whipped butter)

2 tablespoons skim milk or soymilk

1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Kosher salt

Microwave the sweet potatoes on high for 15 minutes, or until fully cooked. Let the potatoes cool, then peel and place the flesh in a large mixing bowl. Add the soft tub spread, soy milk, and cinnamon and mash thoroughly. Season with kosher salt to taste.

Per serving: 198 calories, 3 g protein, 40 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat (0.5 g saturated), 0 mg cholesterol, 150 mg sodium, 6 g fiber