Many of us are getting our houses ready for the big Thanksgiving holiday this week and are likely headed to the grocery store to stock up. Here are a few things to skip if you're trying to be healthy.

One time during the year that I truly worry about putting on weight is in winter and the kick off to my fattening up is the holidays; especially Thanksgiving. If you're trying to manage your weight or are hoping to not gain weight over the holidays here are a few things to skip over when preparing a meal or munching away at parties.


A little bit is fine, but don't go over board on mayonnaise based salads and don't slather it on your sandwich if there's a meat and cheese tray. Made with eggs and oil, it's basically a giant gob of fat without a ton of taste. Four tablespoons of mayo contains 360 calories and 40 grams of fat. That's the same nutritional value as a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese at McDonald's. Instead, use lite mayo. Four tablespoons has 200 calories and 20 grams of fat, so it's not perfect, but it's better than regular and most people can't tell that it's reduced fat if you don't say anything. Salad Dressing also falls into this category. This is especially true if it's creamy like blue cheese, ranch or thousand island. You can try using reduced fat, but sometimes the taste is a little off. A vinaigrette would work well in this case. Yes, it's made with oil, too but it's usually made with olive oil and the fat in olive oil is a better, healthier fat.

Processed Meat

Just saying that phrase makes me shudder but it's what's in processed meat that makes it truly shudder-worthy. Processed meat like hot dogs and cold cuts are usually packed with salt and nitrates that according to WebMD says can lead to heart disease and stroke or colon cancer. Many cold cuts and deli meats are also high in fat, so when you're looking for meat, label reading is of the utmost importance. This also goes for a turkey. If you're looking for one that may be already sliced and in gravy, try and find a low sodium version and also look for a choice that's nitrate free.

Whole Milk

Did you know that if you drink just two small glasses of whole milk per day, every week that's 19 hundred calories and 100 grams of fat? WebMD says that the better alternative here is skim milk (which I prefer because I hate milk to begin with and it doesn't taste like anything) has half the calories and no fat. What else comes from milk? Ice cream, of course and what's Thanksgiving dinner without some pumpkin pie a la mode? Unless you pick up some low fat, low sugar ice cream, just a half cup of ice cream can add 300 calories and 15 grams of fat onto that piece of pie. Healthy Eats on recommends frozen Greek yogurt as a great alternative. Grab a tub of it and toss it into the freezer. Make sure you thaw it out a little bit before serving. This will reactivate the live cultures. Healthy eats also says that when it comes to butter, margarine isn't always the healthiest or best alternative. Using a non-fat butter flavored cooking spray is great when it comes to cooking if you spray your pan before sauteing veggies or scrambling eggs. Light margarine is fine for your dinner rolls and when it comes to mashing potatoes, try low sodium chicken broth instead of butter and milk.

Do you have any light cooking secrets?