How to Make Your Thanksgiving Meal Healthier

Thanksgiving is a special time when people get together with their loved ones and enjoy each other’s company over delicious food.  Traditionally, this special holiday started with healthy foods that were prepared from scratch with whole organic ingredients.  If we think of the historic times, the original Thanksgiving dinner had slimmer pickings than the meals that we have today.  Unfortunately, with the passing of time, many unhealthy recipes have made their way on the Thanksgiving table.

How to make the 6 menu item most popular during Thanksgiving


1.  Turkey

Turkey is the main dish during this time and the best way to not add extra calories is to avoid eating the skin.

2.  Stuffing

You may be surprised to know that stuffing is often the highest calorie builder in the entire dinner. Depending on how it’s prepared, it can be close to 500 calories per serving.

One way to make it healthier is by using chicken stock during its preparation instead of fat.

Removing the cornbread and just using bread along with lots of vegetables like onion, apples and celery can also help trim down the calories.

Another option to making it healthier is not to stuff into the turkey…it’s leaner if cooked separately.

If you are one of those people that can’t live without stuffing and can’t control how it’s made, then treating it like dessert and eating a small portion can be an ideal way not to add the unwanted extra calories.

3.  Mashed potatoes & Candied Yams

When it comes to eating potatoes, sweet potatoes and the Yukon Gold potatoes are the better ones to choose from. The good news is that they don’t need much flavoring since they are flavorful from the start so you can save up on the calories.

Instead of using Marshmallow for sweet potatoes, ginger and cinnamon can be a great option to lower unnecessary calories.

For the mashed potatoes, fat- free buttermilk is light and airy and is a good substitute for butter.  You could save yourself extra calories for dessert with this simple ingredient swap.

Always remember portion control when it comes to starchy vegetables, and for those willing to give it up, quinoa can be a great healthy substitute.

4.  Cranberry Sauce

Cranberry sauce is not bad if prepared from scratch. The canned ones are too high in sugar and preservatives.  There are great healthy recipes to lower its tart flavor and still control the amount of sugar that is being added.

5.  Pies

Desserts like Pumpkin, apple and pecan pie are traditional desserts that make Thanksgiving special for some of us.  The best is to eat the filling and avoid the crust if possible, otherwise enjoy them as if you were doing a test tasting experiment.

6.  Green Beans

Vegetables are the healthiest sides in a Thanksgiving dinner if they are not from a can and don’t have a lot of cream soups and butter added to them.  Use fresh green beans and other vegetables to up the nutrients.  Salad is also always a good choice.  Ideally, you would like half of your plate to consist of vegetables.


As you prepare your feast, keep in mind there are great healthy recipes substituting oil & seasoning for flavoring instead of butter and cream.  Make use of them whenever possible.

Make this Thanksgiving a memorable one by making healthy choices so that you can enjoy many more Thanksgiving meals to come!

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