The first thing to remember is to stick to what I call a three-plate rule for the day. That means you get to fix one plate of hors d’oeuvres, one plate of food for your meal, and one plate for your dessert. If you can stick to that rule, you’ll avoid the trap of going back for seconds and thirds. Second, don’t deny yourself all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. It’s a holiday. You should enjoy it. Just try to exercise some moderation and choose a few of your favorites in reasonable portions. To help you do that, I’ve broken down the best options to choose from a traditional Thanksgiving spread, including cuts of turkey, sides, desserts, and beverages.

From the bird choose:

  • White meat or dark meat, no gravy (in a portion equal to 2 to 2.5 decks of cards)

From the side dishes choose two vegetables (2 to 3 fists each) and one carb (1 fist):

  • Green beans (2 to 3 fists)
  • Cooked carrots (2 to 3 fists)
  • Broccoli (2 to 3 fists)
  • Spinach, not creamed (2 to 3 fists)
  • Kale (2 to 3 fists)
  • Zucchini (2 to 3 fists)
  • Baked potato (1 small or medium)
  • Baked sweet potato (1 small or medium)
  • Stuffing (1 fist)
  • Mashed potato (1 fist)
  • Corn (1 fist)
  • Sweet potato casserole (1 fist)
  • Whole grain roll (1)
  • Pumpkin or zucchini bread (1 slice)

Note: Broth-based soups don’t count towards your side dishes.

From the dessert table choose:

  • Fruit (1 fist)
  • Sorbet (1 scoop)
  • Vanilla ice cream (1 scoop)
  • Fruit crumble or custard, no whipped cream or ice cream (1 fist)

From the beverages choose:

  • Water
  • Seltzer water
  • One light beer or a glass of wine (if you have more than one, you need to count it as your starch)
  • Tea or coffee

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