Thanksgiving for some is the best eating holiday of the year. While it’s a wonderful time for people to reconnect and reminisce, it is also an occasion when too many calories are consumed and many unhealthy food choices are made.

While we don’t want you to skip out on all the food joys the holiday has to offer, there are some easy substitutions you can make that will keep your waistline in check and your taste buds happy.

Add Some Color To Your Mash

Mashed potatoes are a staple dish for any Thanksgiving feast. A carb heavy dish that is usually made of white potatoes, butter, and either milk or heavy cream, this side dish is also laden with a lot of unnecessary calories, fat, and sodium.

For this Thanksgiving, consider switching out the traditional white potatoes used for this dish such as Russet for a more colorful and healthy variety like sweet potatoes, yams, or taro. Nutritional science shows that sweet potatoes have less calories than white potatoes, as well as less sodium, and more vitamins (A, B5, B6, C), riboflavin, thiamin, niacin, and antioxidants!

Since sweet potatoes are already in fact pretty sweet, you might find that you don’t need the addition of other toppings or seasonings such as salt, syrup, butter or gravy.

Slow Down The Gravy Train

Gravy is the ultimate Thanksgiving sauce. Whether out of habit or a true love for it, many hungry people will put gravy on everything – turkey, sides, and even drip their bread into it.

However, these meat and potato sauces can be made from pre-packaged mixes for convenience and that guarantees a high salt content. For this season, skip the pre-made mix and try making it from scratch using low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock with added seasonings and thickening agents for a healthier version.

Most gravy recipes require the gradual addition of white flour or cornstarch to thicken up the liquid into a delicious gravy texture. White flour and cornstarch are high in carbohydrates with no real nutrient values. Consider swapping in whole wheat flour to thicken the gravy and get a heart healthier taste. Using fresh herbs such as thyme and sage to season gravy can also help you cut back on additional usage of salt.

Get Fruity

We love Thanksgiving as much as the next person so we would never suggest skipping dessert altogether. After all, moderation is key. Instead, try a fruiter version of your favorite dessert for a healthier option. Instead of apple pie, try baking whole cored apples seasoned with the same spices found in the traditional dessert. Serving up warm spiced apples can give the strong essence of homemade pies cooking in the oven, without the sugary pie fillings and glazed crusts. Baked apples with raisins and a sprinkling of cinnamon is a delicious treat that puts out an amazing and mouth-watering aroma.

Thanksgiving is a time to for gratitude and remembering the important things in life. A healthy body is definitely something that should be counted as such and a healthy diet can bring you more years to enjoy it.