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5 Ways to Lighten Up Holiday Side Dishes

Thanksgiving dinner can yield more calories than you should have in one full day. And Christmas dinner can be even worse. See more Thanksgiving turkey pictures.

Did you know that the average Thanksgiving meal contains about 3,000 calories and 229 grams of fat, and the traditional Christmas dinner can top 7,000 calories [source: American Council on Exercise]? With experts recommending no more than 2,000 daily calories for adults, it's no surprise that Americans gain about a pound a year during the holidays. Over the years, these pounds can add up to significant weight gain that can affect your health, as well as your level of body satisfaction [source: National Institutes of Health].

Besides the obvious health and weight impacts of over-eating, these high-fat, high-calorie meals can zap your energy. Lightening up on holiday meals can allow you to actually enjoy the rest of the day, instead of feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. To make your holiday meals healthier, try these tips to cut calories and fat in your favorite side dishes.