Healthy Thanksgiving

Most of us think of Thanksgiving as the official start to the holiday season. This is the time for families to get together, time for celebrations with friends and there are even festivities at work. Food and temptation is everywhere! How are you supposed to stop the number on the scale (and your waist size) from getting larger and larger when there are buffets filled with roast turkey, gravy, dressing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie? Here are a few healthy tips to try to maintain your weight:

  1. Maintain-This is not the time to diet. Trying to diet during the holidays will only make you frustrated. And can make most of us eat more.
  2. Portion control – fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies. Lean protein should be a quarter of your plate. The remaining quarter is where you get to enjoy those holiday extras. Decide what really looks good to you and have a small serving. A couple of bites of several things starts to add up to a lot of food.
  3. Eat before you eat. Whether you’re going to a party or to the family Thanksgiving lunch, have a healthy snack before you go. Enjoy fruit, yogurt or a veggie salad. This will help take the edge off your hunger and will lead to making better food decisions. We eat more, and we eat faster when we are hungry.
  4. Take one trip through the buffet. Choose wisely.
  5. Eat slowly and enjoy your food. Take time during dinner to talk with family friends. This gives your brain time to send the message that you’re full.
  6. Drink plenty of water!
  7. Exercise-go to the gym, take a walk through the neighborhood, play a game of football.


Now is also a good time to take a healthier spin on some of our favorite holiday recipes. Here are few examples of small changes that make a big difference:

Instead of This: Try This:
3 oz. Dark meat turkey with skin

147 calories, 3.73 grams fat

3 oz. Turkey breast without skin

97 calories, 3 grams fat

¼ cup Homemade gravy

131 calories, 9 grams fat

¼ cup Prepared low sodium gravy

25 calories, 1 gram fat

¼ cup Canned cranberry sauce

105 calories, 26 grams sugar

¼ cup Fresh cranberry relish

67 calories, 12 grams sugar

1 cup Classic sweet potato casserole

558 calories, 78 grams sugar, 9 grams fat

1 small baked sweet potato with 1 tsp. brown sugar and 1 tsp. pecans

138 calories, 12 grams sugar, 2 grams fat

1 slice pecan pie (1/8 of a 9 inch pie)

806 calories, 54 grams sugar, 25 grams fat

1 slice pumpkin pie (1/8 of a 9 inch pie)

265 calories, 27 grams sugar, 9 grams fat


Written by: Laurie Casey- Food Service Director at The Hearth at Franklin


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