Hot, comforting meals and cool, fall air go hand in hand, especially with Thanksgiving fast approaching.   

“Thanksgiving is the gateway to the holiday season, when many people ingest lots of calories in food and beverages and don’t get enough physical activity to burn those extra calories,” says J. James Rohack, MD, a cardiologist in Bryan, TX, and president-elect of the American Medical Association. “By making a plan early to maintain a healthy lifestyle throughout the season, you can enjoy yourself without having to pay for it in the new year.”   

As part of its Healthier Life Steps campaign, the AMA offers the following tips for lightening up traditional Thanksgiving and winter comfort dishes:   

  • Use fat-free and low-sodium broths in soups and stews.
  • Replace the sour cream in dips with low-fat or nonfat sour cream or yogurt.
  • Add a green vegetable to every meal, such as broccoli in your omelet, spinach on your sandwich and green beans on your dinner plate. It’s a great way to sneak extra vitamins into your diet. 

“Thanksgiving isn’t usually a calorie-conscious holiday, but by swapping out a few ingredients with healthier alternatives, you can really help reduce calorie and fat intake while keeping great flavor,” Dr. Rohack says. 

Tune in tomorrow for the AMA’s health-conscious recipe for Kale, Cornbread and Cranberry Stuffing. All of the ingredients should be available at your local natural and organic food store.