The annual tradition of giving thanks around the table with our family and friends can come with something we’re not grateful for— unhealthy fat traps and high-calorie dishes.
According to the Calorie Control Council, the average holiday dinner can set you back around 3,000 calories. And that’s not including an additional 1,500 calories consumed through appetizers and cocktails— and that's only one meal out of your day.
Celebrity chef and ABC’s “The Chew” co-host Clinton Kelly says there are simple ways to make your menu healthier.
“If there is one dish that you love that’s loaded with cream, fat and cheese don’t deny yourself that dish. Choose the one or two dishes that you’re most excited about and then choose healthier versions of the others,” Kelly told FoxNews.com.
One festive staple Kelly says not to skip on- the big bird.
“Turkey is a healthy lean protein, so you should enjoy that. Just go easy on the gravy. I think it’s all about moderation,” he said.
Kelly also swears by another meal-makeover tip: Incorporating mangos into dishes.
“I’m a really big fan because they are so easy to find all year round,” Kelly said, who is also a spokesperson for the National Mango Board. “They are really low in calories, a cup only has 100 calories, and you get 100 percent of your daily vitamin C with one serving -- so it’s really good for you and it adds such a wonderful sweetness.”
One of Kelly’s favorite mango-inspired dishes is endive boats with fresh mango chicken salad.
“This is a really delicious chicken salad that you can make in just a second-- and it’s also a great salad to serve over some mixed greens if you want to have a healthy snack over the week or to bring to work,” Kelly said.
Endive boats with fresh mango chicken salad
½ C sour cream
¼ C olive oil mayonnaise
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. Italian parsley
1 tsp tarragon
1 large mango, peeled, pitted, thinly sliced
1 rotisserie chicken
3 celery stalks
4 green onions
3 large Belgian endives
¼ C raw macadamia nuts
In a medium size bowl, combine sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, parsley, tarragon, salt and pepper; set aside. In a large bowl, combine mango (reserving some for garnish), chicken, celery and green onion. (Reserve 1 tablespoon green onion for garnish.) Pour dressing over mixture and toss to coat. Fill endive leaves and garnish with reserved mango, green onion and toasted nuts.
Kelly says mangos can also add a sweet taste to many traditionally sugar-heavy dishes.
“People take sweet potatoes and cover them in butter and sugar because they want the extra sweetness, but you don’t have to do that when you add something like mangos to the mix— they’re naturally sweet.”
If you’re hosting this holiday season, Kelly says guests enjoy having healthy options.
“I think your guests will appreciate it too because people want to feel full at Thanksgiving, but they don’t want to spend the next week on the treadmill working off the meal,” he said.
For more healthy mango recipes visit Mango.org.