Trim Before Turkey: Healthier Swaps for Favorite Splurges


Most of us crave fattening fare from time to time, like cheesy pasta, sugary cookies, and butter-slathered bread (even us health nuts). And when you’re trying to lose weight, it may seem like these foods are totally off limits; but, by making a few simple ingredient tweaks, you’ll be able to indulge while staying on track and hitting your health goals. For this week’s “Trim Before Turkey” segment, Katie, Karine, and Athena challenged me to lighten up their most favorite foods. Ready to dig into some mouthwatering recipes that you can feel good about dishing out? Read on!


Katie’s Challenge: Macaroni and Cheese

I slimmed down this drool-worthy comfort food by substituting spaghetti squash for white elbow noodles, and then cutting back on unnecessary gobs of butter, heavy cream, and full-fat cheese. The end result? A light ‘n lean version that tastes indulgent and still has plenty of creamy sauce. And, you can have a huge portion—an entire half of the spaghetti squash—for less than 400 calories! Feel free to enjoy for lunch or dinner any day of the week. Consider the restaurant rendition squashed. 

Get the simple recipe!

Karine’s Challenge: Chocolate Cookies

On a mission to create a chocoholic-approved treat, I literally whipped up a batch of sweet and satisfying Chocolate Chip Meringue Cookies. These bite-sized goodies are a cinch to bake; all you need are a few simple ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen. Each egg-white-based cookie contains just 35 calories, which means you can enjoy five without overdoing it. 

Get the tasty recipe!


Athena’s Challenge: Wine

Lucky for Athena (and all of us vino lovers!), a glass of wine is already pretty light. Just stick to one (5 ounce) serving, which will only set you back about 120 calories. If you drink more and get a little tipsy, you tend to lose your inhibitions and head straight for the junky food (AKA late-night pizza, ice cream or chips). Here’s my trick: make a “wine sandwich”— enjoy your wine between a glass of water before and a glass of water after. Also, I find that full-bodied red wine is often easier to sip slowly and savor. On the other hand, white wines (like pinot grigio and chardonnay) tend to be sweeter and lighter, and therefore easier to slurp down fast. Another option: make a Wine Spritzer so you can enjoy two drinks for the calorie price of one. Mix 2 to 3 ounces wine with 2 to 3 ounces seltzer, a dash of orange or lemon bitters, plus an orange or lemon twist. Voila!