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Pumpkin pie, turkey, sweet potato casserole, dressing,… The annual thanksgiving feast is something everyone looks forward to. If you are one of those people who have been secretly loosening their belt after gorging on the sumptuous dishes on the table, you are not alone. At Thanksgiving dinner alone, the average American consumes as much as 3,500 calories. That said, it is not surprising why most people pack on 1 to 3 pounds during the holidays.

Gaining weight over the holiday season is a national pastime. But wouldn’t it be great if this tradition-blessed binge didn’t wreck your waistline woes?

Here are a few tips on how to satisfy your desire for traditional favorites without resulting to a food coma.

Go heavy on the veggies

As compared to carbs and meat, vegetables pack fewer calories. While we are not suggesting that you steer clear from turkey or mashed potatoes, it would be a good idea to take larger portions of fresh fruits and vegetables.

Eat breakfast

Eat before the big feast. Start you day with a small healthful meal so you won’t be starving when you arrive at the gathering. This will give you more control over your appetite and prevent yourself from gorging on a 3,500 calorie meal.

Volunteer to help clean up

Thanksgiving tables are a beautiful and bountiful display of traditional favorites. That said, most of us tend to overeat.

Instead of helping yourself to a second serving, why not volunteer to help the host clean up? This will not only take your attention away from the food, the host will definitely appreciate the gesture. An added bonus, cleaning up will also help you burn some calories.

Plan a post meal walk

Eating less and exercising more is the key to avoid gaining weight during the holidays. Once you arrive at the dinner, let everyone know that plan to take a walk after the meal and encourage others to join. Once you get a few people in on board, it will be difficult to bail out. A brisk walk will not only help you burn some calories, it also a great way to enjoy time with your family.

 

Pumpkin Pie with Rum
Looking for a healthy alternative to fatty Thanksgiving recipes without sacrificing taste? Try this Pumpkin pie recipe- Dark molasses and dark rum put this pumpkin pie a cut above the rest. Nonfat evaporated milk, which stands in for heavy cream, does a fantastic job of cutting the fat in the filling. Add to that our blue ribbon butter-canola crust and you’ve dropped three-quarters of the fat and more than half the calories found in most similar pies. Don’t use pumpkin-pie mix—buy canned pumpkin without added spices: the flavor will be superior.

Makes: 8 servings

Active Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

CRUST
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons canola oil
1-2 tablespoons ice water

FILLING
2 large eggs
1 15- or 16-ounce can plain pumpkin puree
1 12-ounce can nonfat evaporated milk
1/4 cup dark molasses
3 tablespoons dark rum, or 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt

PREPARATION
To prepare crust: Stir all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Melt butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Cook, swirling the pan, until the butter turns a nutty brown, 30 seconds to 4 minutes, depending on your stove. Pour into a small bowl and let cool. Stir in oil. Slowly stir the butter-oil mixture into the flour mixture with a fork until the mixture is crumbly. Gradually stir in enough ice water so the dough holds together. Press the dough into a flattened disk.
Place two overlapping lengths of plastic wrap on a work surface. Set the dough in the center and cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll the dough into a 13-inch circle. Remove the top sheets and invert the dough into a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan. Remove the remaining wrap. Fold the edges under at the rim and crimp. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and refrigerate while you prepare the filling.

To prepare filling & bake pie: Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 350°F. Lightly whisk eggs in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin, evaporated milk, molasses and rum (or vanilla). Combine brown sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt in a small bowl. Rub through a sieve into the pumpkin mixture and whisk until incorporated.

Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Bake the pie until the filling has set and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes; cover the edges with foil if they are browning too quickly. Cool on a wire rack.