Savor Thanksgiving, but watch the carbs: 47 easy ways to scale back

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When dining out, it's a good idea to decide ahead of time what you'll eat. You won't overdo it if you stick with one carb treat per meal. Go with a dinner roll. Or two glasses of wine. Or split a dessert.

When dining out, it’s a good idea to decide ahead of time what you’ll eat. You won’t overdo it if you stick with one carb treat per meal. Go with a dinner roll. Or two glasses of wine. Or split a dessert.

Thanksgiving is but one day. So just enjoy it (in moderation, of course). After all, it’s what you eat the remaining 360-something days of the year that really determines your pants size.

Throughout 2013, the L.A. Times’ Mind & Body section has focused on taking small, simple steps to improve your health and fitness. And we’re doing more of the same as the holiday eating season gets underway. So how about we savor the handful of truly special meals that revolve around the gathering of family and friends — and keep a close eye on our plates the rest of the time?

One of the easiest ways to do that?

Slash the junky carbs.

No, we are not demonizing carbohydrates. But the fact is we’re Americans. Ergo, we eat too much of the sugary, starchy stuff. (The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates a day. But many Americans eat at least twice that amount.) And scaling back your excess carb intake is a simple way to also scale back calories.

So here are 14 super easy ways to trim the carbs in your diet by 50% by focusing on processed carbohydrates and food, empty calories and portion sizes. Best of all? We suspect you’ll barely miss a thing. If you have tips for keeping a lid on the carbs in your diet, let us know on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LATFit.

1. Give yourself a carb allowance when eating out: Choose one carb per meal. Are you going to splurge on one to two glasses of wine? A dinner roll? Or a dessert you can split with the table? Make the rest of your meal about veggies and lean proteins.

2. Bah humbug to coffeehouses and those irresistible holiday concoctions! Go for the small size and skip the whipped cream. Or get the fully loaded version and take a few sips and then toss the rest.

3. Your guilt-free party drink this holiday season? Wine spritzer.

4. No need to abandon Friday night pizza. How about use half an English muffin as your base? Pile on the toppings.

5. Even better: Use the inside of a roasted portobello mushroom cap for your Friday night pizza crust. Pile on the toppings.

6. Another veggie-rific alternative: Broil inch-thick slices of eggplant, and then use that as the base for your Friday night pizza. Pile on the toppings.

7. No need to abandon Saturday night burgers. How about use two roasted portobello mushroom caps as the “buns” for your cheeseburger. Pile on the toppings.

8. Or eat your cheeseburger served atop a salad, no bun necessary.

9. Or order your burger “protein style” (wrapped in lettuce).

10. Does your Sunday begin with pancakes? No need to miss out, but just have one instead of a stack. Pour on the syrup, slather on the butter, but just eat one.

11. There is no law that says Thai and Indian curries must be served over rice. Try ladling your curry over chopped and roasted broccoli or cauliflower.

12. Speaking of cauliflower: The rage in the Paleo community is “cauliflower rice” as a nutrient- and fiber-rich way to stick to your diet and still enjoy a Thai panang or a chicken tikka masala.

13. Love spaghetti and meatballs and lots of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese? Uh, who doesn’t? Try the meatballs on a cup of roasted spaghetti squash.

14. If you just have to have the real thing, watch the portions. According to the U.S. government’s food guidelines, a serving of spaghetti is half a cup. I know. Tragic.

Courtesy of Los Angeles Times

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