Thanksgiving is just one of those pesky holidays that we justify our overindulgence. After all, turkey is healthy right? While you may think that canned cranberry jam and buttery mashed potatoes are good for you because they contain, well, cranberries and potatoes, they can actually be the reason you make that New Years Resolution next month to join the gym.

There are some good eats on that Thanksgiving table, but the most delicious always tends to be the worst for you. Instead of skimping out on all your favorite foods this year, here's a helpful list of tips you can incorporate into your thanksgiving meal that may have your guests a little more thankful this year (and can help you cut those extra calories you've been trying to avoid too!)

- Being the center of attention, of course it's alright to indulge in a few tasty pieces! Turkey is actually an extremely healthy part of the thanksgiving meal with its protein and low-fat nature creating a low calorie dish. The white meat contains roughly 140 calories per 3 oz. serving while the darker meat weighs in at 160 calories. If you're keen on dark, removing the skin before eating may save the extra 15-20 calories and also removes 2-3 grams of fat.

Cranberry Sauce- Now, a turkey meal cannot be complete without a heaping side of that delicious tart topping, but there is a way to shave off over half the calories of this sugary friend... Make it yourself! Homemade cranberry sauce can be manipulated to leave taste as well as only a mere 20 calories per quarter cup. Here's what you need:

Cranberries (1 package)
1 cup of Splenda
Sugar Free Raspberry Jello (large package)
2.5 to 3 cups of water

Boil one cup of water and add one cup of Splenda. Stir until Splenda is dissolved. On medium heat, add cranberries. Stirring periodically until the cranberries pop like popcorn. Once the cranberries have popped, turn off heat. Stir in jello until it dissolves. The jello package calls for 2 cups of boiling water and 2 cups of cold water. I use just 1 cup of boiling water and approximately 1.5 to 2 cups of cold water, depending on the consistency you like. Makes approximately 8 servings.

Stuffing -
The combination that makes up stuffing also adds nearly 180 calories per 1/2 cup. If you're favorite part of the meal is this joyful treat, here's a few ways to make it a little better for you:

First off, don't be shy with the greens! By adding more vegetables to the stuffing mixture you're reducing the calorie intake as well as adding extra nutrients, a win-win if I do say so myself. Chestnuts, celery, peanuts, and cranberries are not only tasty but they're also super foods that are packed full of nutrients and antioxidants. You might also think of adding onions, carrots, spinach, and mushrooms to the mixture as well as replacing the bread crumbs with whole grain or multi grain bread instead.

Another helpful hint when it comes to stuffing is a little something called portion control. It's easy to swamp your plate with a decadent mound of stuffing, but this little trick will allow you to enjoy both the taste, and a controlled amount of calories. What is this miracle tip you ask: Bake the stuffing in cupcake tins!

This allows instant portion control so you can stop looking at the pile of stuffing guessing the number of calories, and can know how much, all in a cute little wrapper too!

My personal favorite of the entire meal, but these tasty treats pile over 400 calories a slice!!! Of course the type of pie determines the caloric means, but even so, there's plenty of ways to cut down on the unnecessary calories.

Skip the crust! By removing the top crust off fruit pies roughly 100 calories are saved per serving, and by ditching the crust all together on those yummy pumpkin pies, you can reduce the calories from 230 a slice to just under 100. Now that's something to be thankful for!

Another easy trick to create a healthier dessert is to leave out half the sugar from the recipe, or just a sugar substitute all together. This leaves the pies just sweet enough and gives you the security to fight off nightmares of pie obesity! Okay, I know some of you just cannot leave out the sugar, so why not leave out the egg? By using only the egg whites while preparing your treats, you'll save 30-40 calories and 4 grams of fat, Per Egg!

1 12oz Can 100% Real Pumpkin (not the mix)
1 12oz Can Fat Free Evaporated Milk
2 eggs
1/2 C. Splenda
1/4 C. Molasses
2 T. Pumpkin Pie Spice*
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt.

Pre-heat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in bowl and mix on med-low speed for about 3 minutes.  Spray a 9" pie plate with non-stick spray. Pour mixture into the plate. Bake on Cookie Sheet for 1 hour to 1.5 hours, or until firm and tooth pick comes out clean. Let rest for 20-30 minutes before cutting.
Makes 12 servings. *1T. Cinnamon, 1 tsp. Nutmeg, 1/2 tsp. Allspice, 1/2 tsp. Cloves, 1/4 tsp. Ginger


Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and be grateful for everything you have in life, and to share a special day with friends and loved ones... and now you can celebrate this day with low calories and no regrets.