Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving


How to stay on track on a day made for eating.

How many of us look forward to a full day of Thanksgiving feasting? This isn’t your basic buffet either. We’re talking buttery potatoes, carb-a-licious stuffing and pies, pies, pies. But if you’re concerned about smashing calories, don’t cancel your Turkey Day plans yet. We’ve got ideas for staying on track during a food-focused holiday. Here are our tips for a healthier Thanksgiving.

Eat Breakfast

Eating in the morning helps your body set the tone for the day. Ideally you’ll include protein, fat and some type of produce like a banana smoothie or an omelet with spinach. Plus, eating breakfast – and even lunch, especially if your Thanksgiving celebration is later in the day – makes you less likely to go overboard. Breakfast will help fill you up and help you avoid becoming overly hungry which can lead to craving high fat foods with added sugar and overeating. It doesn’t hurt to keep the habit of eating breakfast around long term. Sharon Collison, a registered dietitian nutritionist and a clinical instructor in nutrition at the University of Delaware, told Time magazine… “Skipping breakfast is associated with increased disease risk — not only obesity but diabetes, heart disease and just lower dietary quality.”

Get Active

We all know that working out makes your body stronger, but squeezing a fitness moment into a busy day like Thanksgiving brings another perk: improved mental health. “Virtually any form of exercise, from aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever,” according to The Mayo Clinic. “If you’re not an athlete or even if you’re out of shape, you can still make a little exercise go a long way toward stress management.” Spending hours with a crowd who may or may not share your life views can be the stuff of breakdowns–and exercise can help. Any exercise!

Bring the Veggies

Don’t leave finding healthier  dishes on your Thanksgiving table to fate. Bring your own healthier Thanksgiving option to the celebration.  Try this Cranberry Kale Salad by our partners at EatLove. It travels well and its simple fresh and flavorful ingredients will make a believer out of even your most veggie-phobic relative. Bonus, it doesn’t need to take up oven space for reheating.

Learn more about EatLove.

Also, do your research and find healthier recipes of your favorite dishes. Not every side dish needs to be smothered in marshmallows. A few simple upgrades can help provide nutrition AND flavor, like these EatLove recipes:

Drink in Moderation

Wine and mixers are surprisingly full of sugar, plus a little alcohol of any kind might tweak your judgment. But if you like to wash down your Thanksgiving turkey with a little chardonnay, you’re not alone. Just try these ideas: 

  • Fill your wine glass half full, then savor each sip. 
  • For mixed drinks, double up on ice before adding alcohol or mixers. 
  • Alternate between alcohol and water.  
  • Substitute sparkling water for sugary fruit juice or soda, or mix sparkling water with wine for a lighter spritzer. 

Create a Balanced Plate 

Above all this holiday season, remember that smart portion sizes are your friend. It’s all about a big serving of veggies, according to Kaiser Permanente. Here’s the best way to build your plate:

  • Use a 9-inch plate
  • Fill half the plate with non-starchy vegetables.
  • Fill a quarter with lean protein.
  • Fill the remaining quarter with whole grains or starches.

Also, leave room for a little pie if you want to. Enjoy the day without a little dessert – guilt-free.

5 Healthy Tips for Hosting Thanksgiving Dinner

Find yourself hosting Thanksgiving this year? EatLove Registered Dietitian Ale Zozos has 5 tips for hosting the big day that will keep both you and your guests on the healthier side of the holiday.

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