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National Restaurant Association - Ask the Nutritionist: How to trim calories off your Thanksgiving feast

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Ask the Nutritionist: How to trim calories off your Thanksgiving feast

In her latest Ask the Nutritionist commentary, the National Restaurant Association’s Director of Food & Healthy Living Joy Dubost, Ph.D., R.D., offers up some simple tips for making your meal more healthful when dining out this Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving will soon be here, which provides an opportunity to reflect back and appreciate all that we have. As friends and families come together to eat their favorite, traditional foods, there are ways you can ensure your holiday meal is both tasty and good for your health.

Our research shows that 30 million Americans plan to dine out or order takeout this Thanksgiving. If you are one of them, below are a few healthful dining tips to keep in mind:

• Ask your server to provide a take-home container when your meal is served. You can split your meal in half right away and save the other half to enjoy the next day.

• Start your meal with a salad with lots of vegetables and/or fruit, which are packed with nutrients and fiber.

• For the turkey-lovers, choose white meat with no skin (i.e. turkey breast) over dark meat as it's leaner.

• Sauces and gravy can be an important part of a meal, but they can also be calorie-rich. Ask your server for sauce/gravy on the side so you can add only as much as you need.

• Green bean casserole is delicious, but can pack quite a few calories. Ask to substitute sauteed, steamed or grilled grean beans, or your other favorite vegetables.

• Look for bite-size or mini-desserts on the menu - or, share a regular-size dessert with your dining companions - to cap off the meal without adding too many calories.

• Many restaurants are happy to customize your meal to fit dietary needs and preferences, so be sure to ask your server if you may substitute some items or change the preparation method to save on calories.

• Eat slowly and enjoy the experience. Be mindful of the flavor combinations and savor the food itself, not the abundance of it.

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