How To Make Your Thanksgiving Healthy, Enjoyable, and Delicious

November 23rd, 2015


Here we are, just a few days away from the long anticipated, or long dreaded Thanksgiving. Where do you find yourself on that spectrum? Do you love the food, the friends/family, the time to relax? Do you stress about making everyone happy, about ending the day happy yourself? Or do you totally dread the one day where you’re expected to be gluttonous? Everyone sees Thanksgiving just a bit differently. At the time when we have the wonderful opportunity to focus on what we do have in this life, and what really matters. To me that’s my family and the constants in my life. But sometimes that gets overshadowed with guilt, weight gain, self loathing, and other thoughts.

You hear it all the time, the ever dreaded holiday season that’s filled with numerous parties, with high calorie treats, with cold weather that makes going outside dreadful. Every lifestyle magazine, every talk show, so many blogs and all over social media focuses on not falling victim to those pesky additional calories. And the guilt really sets in… Not a great combo for maintaining the healthy habits you developed over the warmer months. The aforementioned avenues are riddled with “shoulds” and “ought to’s” and GUILT. It makes me crazy, all I want to say is “Don’t should all over yourself” (say it aloud). When was the last time you thoroughly enjoyed Thanksgiving or another holiday meal? A time when the voices from social media and those we look up to in society didn’t tell us that our value lies in our ability to restrict and deprive ourselves? I don’t know of a time. I may not be as hot as a Victoria’s Secret model, or as convincing as your favorite talk show host, but I know what research and best practices mean from a lot of people. Restrictive eating in general doesn’t work, feeling guilt after eating or eating too much doesn’t (in the long run) help you reach goals. Instead of letting guilt, expectations, and what you “should” be doing guide your eating choices, let your preferences guide your choices. Follow these three simple tips to make healthful Thanksgiving eating decisions but also enjoy this meal.+ a few dietitian approved Thanksgiving recipes.

  1. Fill half of your plate with vegetables. We’re getting real basic here, but eating lots of nutrient dense, low calorie vegetables can be a great way to fill you up, while still giving you the volume you crave. Hey, if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it!
  2. Take…. your…. time. Again, real simple here. But simple works. Physiologically our full signal is far along our intestinal tract, therefore it takes time for that signal to reach our brain & register that we’re full. Also, chances are that you’re going to be spending time at the table. The longer you’re there with food right in front of you the more likely you are to eat it. Even if you’re no longer hungry, or you’re even stuffed! Drink water in between bites, put your fork down to chat. Do what you can to slow down your eating rate and you’re likely to eat fewer calories without feeling deprived.
  3. Realize that you don’t have to eat & like everything. Do you ever find yourself eating something that you don’t really love because it’s there or because someone wanted you to? There may be special considerations, but in general you’re not obligated to eat every bite of everything. If you don’t love it, take a bite and leave the rest. It’s ok, we all have different preferences and preconceived expectations of what certain foods should taste like, and if something doesn’t live up to that expectation, that’s ok!

Thanksgiving Meal Plan via Jessica @ Nutritioulicious

Green Beans with Parm, Cranberries, and Pecans via Karman @The Nutrition Adventure

Roasted Squash with Dates via Abby @ Abby Langer Nutrition


Cranberry Apple Compote that’s naturally sweet! via Lauren @ Bite of Health Nutrition

Healthier Hemp Pecan Pie via Kara @ The Foodie Dietitian Blog


Spiced Cheesecake with Roasted Cranberries via Jenny @ My Cape Cod Kitchen

Subtle Healthy Changes No-one Will Notice via Amber @ Homemade Nutrition

More ways to lighten up those main events for Thanksgiving via Amy on the Weight Watchers blog

Have Vegetarian Guests, check out 33 Vegetarian Meal Ideas via the Greatist

And need some inspiration for …after Thanksgiving? Check out these yummy recipes to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers via Jennifer @ Nourished Simply


Need to use up more of that cranberry sauce or cranberries? Try out this delicious looking breakfast orange cranberry tart via Judy @ Live Best blog.

For all that leftover pumpkin, try one of Abbey’s delicious recipes from Abbey’s Kitchen




Posted by: UAND Social Media

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