By Mareya Ibrahim

Smart Swaps make Thanksgiving deliciously lighter than year’s before – without ANY sacrifice

Thanksgiving is a holiday us foodies gear up for all year long.  And I love a challenge.  See, most families – with good reason – get very particular about what they’re serving for the mother of all holiday feasts.  The problem is, a lot of those tried and true dishes are bursting at the seams with fat, calories, sugar and sodium.

An average Thanksgiving meal can weigh in at more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat. That’s more than twice the number of calories most of us should eat in an entire day, and enough fat for more than three days!  By making a few adjustments, you can keep still keep all the great taste without the belly ache.

If you’re looking for a yummy new flavor for your turkey this year, you’ve got to try the marinade!  The enzymes in the yogurt keep your turkey super moist.


One 1/2-cup serving typically contains 180 calories and 9 grams of fat.

– Make a stuffing out of quinoa.  High fiber and protein, lower carbs

– Use low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter and cut the fat in half.

– Add more vegetables to your stuffing

– Use cornbread lightened up with lowfat buttermilk for a gluten-free alternative

Mashed Potatoes

One cup delivers about 220 calories and 8 grams with lots of butter, cream, whole milk and lots of salt.

– Use skim milk or nonfat rice milk instead of cream.

– Use cauliflower or kohlrabi instead of potatoes and save almost 100 calories a cup.

– Use non-fat Greek yogurt and Earth Balance buttery spread to save on saturated fat and calories.

Gravy and Turkey

100 calories and 4 grams of fat for a 1/4-cup serving, most of which comes from grease.

– Skim the drippings from your roasting pan when cooking the turkey and blot fat with a paper towel and use low sodium chicken or vegetable broth.

– Thicken sauce with cornstarch and mushrooms and forego the butter.

– Try Pacific Foods organic turkey gravy.  Only 40 calories and 2 g of fat per serving.

– Marinate your turkey with my Indian spiced Greek yogurt recipe.  The yogurt keeps it moist so you don’t need as much gravy.

Chef Mareya’s Indian spiced Roast Turkey Marinade

  • 1 1/2 C Nonfat plain Greek yogurt (Dairy-free swap: coconut milk or organic soy yogurt)
  • 1/4 Cup fresh juice from large navel orange, plus 1 teaspoon grated zest
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder



1) In a small bowl, add yogurt.  Add zest and juice from orange and mix into yogurt with a whisk.

2) Add all spices and whisk until well combined.  Let mixture set up in the refrigerator for about 1 hour.

3) Slather turkey with marinade a minimum of 24 hours for best results.  Roast as normal and enjoy!

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