IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Stuff the turkey — not yourself — this holiday

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be feast or famine. Prevent calorie overload with the following 5 strategies from TODAY nutritionist Joy Bauer.
/ Source: TODAY contributor

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be feast or famine. Prevent calorie overload with the following five strategies:

1. Eat sensibly and lightly throughout the earlier part of the day.

2. Hit the gym in the morning.

3. Wear something fitted and fabulous. You’ll be less apt to overeat when there’s no room to expand.

4. Splurge selectively.

5. Send leftovers home with your guests (and if you’re a guest, resist taking leftovers from gracious hosts!).

Calorie counts and pointers for traditional Thanksgiving Day fare:


  • Pigs in blankets, 5 items = 310 calories
  • Buffalo wings, 5 items = 350 calories
  • Mini quiche, 2 items = 500 calories
  • Crudités with ½ cup artichoke dip = 600 calories

Joy’s tip: Don’t chow thousands of calories at the start of a party. When it comes to hors d’oeuvres, enjoy three of anything you want. After that, stick with less-caloric selections, like crudités (dip with salsa, mustard and low-fat dip), grilled shrimp and chicken on skewers.

Entrees (8-ounce portions)

  • Turkey breast, no skin — 310 calories, 2 grams fat
  • Dark meat turkey, no skin — 380 calories, 10 grams fat
  • Turkey breast with skin — 350 calories, 8 grams fat
  • Dark meat with skin — 500 calories, 26 grams fat
  • Turkey wing with skin — 520 calories, 28 grams fat

Joy’s tip: Skinless turkey breast is your leanest option — it provides the most protein and very little fat. It’s also a good source of several B-vitamins and selenium.

Side dishes (1 cup)

  • Mashed potatoes = 250 calories
  • Creamed spinach = 350 calories
  • Bread stuffing = 380 calories
  • Cornbread stuffing = 500 calories
  • Candied sweet potatoes = 400 calories
  • Cranberry sauce, ½ cup = 200 calories

Joy’s tip: Since they are all quite caloric, be selective with TWO favorites (or stick with very small portions of each).

Pies (one slice)

  • Pecan pie = 520 calories
  • Apple pie = 420 calories
  • Pumpkin pie = 320 calories

One scoop of ice cream adds 150 calories. One dollop of whipped cream adds 40-100 calories.

Joy’s tip: Trim 100 calories by discarding the outer pie crust.

  • Pecan pie without crust = 420 calories
  • Apple pie without crust = 320 calories
  • Pumpkin pie without crust = 220 calories


  • 12-ounce soda = 150 calories
  • 8-ounce hot apple cider = 120 calories
  • 12-ounce beer = 150 calories
  • 5-ounce glass wine = 140 calories

Joy’s tip: Think before you drink! Don’t waste your calories on beverages; instead, save them for the delicious Thanksgiving Day food!

Joy Bauer is the author of “Food Cures.” For more information on healthy eating, check out Joy’s Web site at