Ministry Weight Management Offers Holiday Eating Tips to Cut Calories in Half

Many people gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day.  We overeat during the holidays and promise to go on a diet after the New Year. However, it is possible to avoid adding extra pounds during the holiday season.  

According to Melissa Wild, Health Educator at the HMR Program for Ministry Weight Management™ in Rhinelander, by making some simple changes, you can still enjoy special holiday foods without gaining the traditional holiday weight.

How to Make Lower-Calorie Choices for Your Holiday Feast

White Means Light

The dark meat of the turkey contains more fat and calories than the white meat.

Pass on the Gravy

Gravy contains 60–70 calories per tablespoon.  Use a powdered gravy mix to cut calories up to 80%.

Think Outside the Bird

Stuffing baked outside the turkey has almost half the calories of stuffing cooked inside the bird.

Less Weight with Baked

Baked potatoes have fewer calories than mashed and much less than candied sweet potatoes.  (Plus, use sour cream; it has half the calories of butter.) 

Pies That Don’t Lie

Pumpkin and apple pies have half the calories of pecan pie.  

The chart below compares a typical holiday meal with a lower-calorie holiday feast.  The low-cal option has almost as much food as the first example, with less than half the calories.  (Best of all, you won’t feel deprived.) 


                     (5780 Calories)



        2 mixed holiday drinks                        500

        3 handfuls mixed nuts                         800

        5 celery stuffed w/cream cheese      225  

       10 crackers w/cheese                           700






8 ounces white and dark turkey        480

1 cup mashed potatoes w/butter     300

1 cup stuffing baked inside turkey    600

3–4 servings gravy                                   800

1/2 cup sautéed green beans               50

3/4 cup candied sweet potatoes       300

1/2 cup cranberry sauce                        200

1 roll w/butter                                           180

1 piece apple pie a la mode                525

1 glass cider or wine                              120               



        Total Calories                                   5,780






          (1905 Calories)



     2 glasses sparkling water                           0

   15 pieces crudité with fat-free dip         100








          8 ounces white meat turkey                 350

          Baked potato w/sour cream                 150  

          2 cups stuffing - outside turkey          250

          3 ladles low-fat gravy                             160

          2 cups green beans w/mushrooms    75

          3 cups salad w/diet dressing               100

1       1/2 cup low-cal cranberry sauce*         90       

          2  one-ounce rolls                                    140

1        1 piece pumpkin pie                               370

          1 glass cider or wine                             120



          Total Calories                                     1,905


*Made with fresh cranberries and sugar-free    


For more tips on maintaining or losing weight during the holiday season and throughout the year, visit or call (715)361-2316

Ministry's Latest Social Activities
Facebook Twitter