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13 Tips to Celebrate a Healthy Thanksgiving Day 2024

9 min read
Last Updated on 23 January, 2024

I love Thanksgiving because it's a holiday that is centered around food and family. - Marcus Samuelsson

As we know it, Thanksgiving is that time of the year when we celebrate the harvest and blessings of the previous year. The centerpiece of this holiday is nothing but the Thanksgiving dinner. Which is why, this tradition definitely calls for a huge family feast.

In fact, many consider this holiday as one where they get to enjoy traditional food and go overboard with all the eating while having fun-time with friends and family. As a result, we tend to gain weight every year during the holidays and sometimes, that extra weight stays forever.

However, a thanksgiving day does not necessarily have to be all about weight gain. It can be the other way around too. With a little improvisation, you can still have your favorite dishes and stop worrying about that calorie intake, thus enjoying a guilt-free thanksgiving.

If you're looking to experience a healthy thanksgiving day by tracking your nutrition, we got some advice.

Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving Day

If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.- W.Clement Stone

You cannot go all fitness-conscious with Thanksgiving dinner, but you can definitely use certain tricks to make it a little healthier. Anyways, the last thing you want to do is to be rolling on the couch like a sloth post your thanksgiving dinner. Whether you should reduce your portions or avoid eating certain dishes, we can help you with that.

1. Be Proactive

Thanksgiving day will fill you with calories; there is no denying that. But there is something that can help you burn those calories. Exercise. If you can maintain your fitness routine even during the holiday season, nothing better than that.

Wake up in the morning, do some minimal rounds of exercises considering the holidays. If we burn calories before and after eating the grand meal, weight gain can be significantly avoided.

Extend your fitness routine days ahead of Thanksgiving and prepare yourself. Motivate family members to accompany you on calorie burning walks and other fitness activities.

2. Eat 3 Meals a Day

A healthy thanksgiving day has one very important rule. Do not starve yourself until the feast. We often have the habit of eating less or skipping meals ahead of some big family dinner or party.

This plan always backfires. Saving up calories does not give us control over our appetite, but eating small meals does.

Because just imagine how hungry you are going to feel if you wait until dinner. The temptation to eat everything will take over, and you will end up eating more than you had planned to.

Also, starving yourself all day will cause your blood sugar to drop, which is unhealthy. Plus, it is no fun as hunger makes one cranky. And who wants that on a festive occasion?

So just start your Thanksgiving day with a small but balanced breakfast. Also, have lunch, even if it is in small quantities. Consuming protein and fiber will keep your appetite in check, allowing you to choose your food nutritiously and not worry about overeating.

3. Add to the Menu

Preparing Thanksgiving dinner yourself or bringing your dishes to the party can make it healthier for yourself, family and friends. Cook dishes with ingredients low in fat, sugar and calories.

Almost every recipe has a huge amount of fat and sugar, and hardly anyone will understand if you skim those calories and replace them with low-calorie ingredients.

Use sugar and oil substitutes in the dishes.

4. Divide your Portions wisely

One of the smartest hacks for a healthy thanksgiving dinner is portion control. This simple hack will do wonders for your health-conscious plan.

As we know, the holiday table is always bountiful and laden with all kinds of family favorite dishes during occasions. All you have to do is fill your plate wisely. Scan the food items and make your smart choice.

Try not to waste your appetite on dishes you eat all year long.

Instead, go for those holiday favorites that include traditional foods along with the food you love the most.

Now to keep your food consumption in check, split the plate into three portions. Dedicate the largest portion to veggies, a medium for protein, while the smallest for the carbs (non-starchy vegetables). This combination is the optimal solution to balance sugar levels, maintain good metabolism and give the required nutrients to your body.

5. Avoid Second Rounds

When there's delicious food, we often go for a second round. And this temptation needs to be resisted. Instead, think of it this way- leftovers are so much better in taste the day after.

Thus, once you restrict yourself to one plate, the point of overeating does not get into the scene. Also, you can have room for dessert. So, choose your food, keeping everything in mind.

Turkey meat, veggies, pumpkin pies- all these are best bets since they are low in calories and fat. Another way is to eat small portions of everything. That way, you can taste and enjoy every food item there is.

6. Go Easy on the Meal

Slow eating works like a charm. Eating food slowly and enjoying every bite is what a satisfactory meal sounds like. And once you follow this, you will feel full by the time you finish eating one plate of food. This would further refrain you from going for that second round.

That sounds like a good idea, doesn't it?

7. Control the Alcohol Intake

Alcohol possesses a hundred calories. Also, the occasion of thanksgiving does call for some drinks. But after limiting yourself to just one plate and policing portion control, consuming alcohol without thinking twice will sabotage your entire plan of a healthy thanksgiving day.

In that case, what you should do is have a glass of wine, but between those drinking sessions, keep hydrating yourself. That way, you serve the purpose of staying hydrated, restricting those alcohol calories, and staying sober at the same time.

8. Create a Healthy Routine

I agree holidays are the time to have fun and celebrate. But you should also remember this is one chance to plan a healthy routine and start following that. Because once the holiday season is over, you would be rolling in busy schedules and other chores.

So, Thanksgiving is a good time for all those weight management activities you have in mind.

Thus, make this thanksgiving a healthier one with all sorts of restorative practices. That way, there will be no holiday weight, and you can keep ahead of your own game.

9. Know What your Body wants

Mindful eating is difficult to stick to during thanksgiving dinner. However, listening to one's own body is considered a very helpful tip in the holiday season.

What it means is that after eating one portion of the dinner, stop for a moment and analyze whether you would like to have more.

Does your body want to go for that second round?

The moment your body signals that it's 80% full, put a full stop to the eating session. Because stopping at 80% is satisfying instead of eating more and feeling bloated and fatigued after the giant feast.

10. Get your Priorities Straight

Now let's talk about the order with which you should fill your plate. Since it's the holiday season, you should not be counting the macros. In fact, the math can wait if you act a little smart about it.

As I mentioned, while filling the plate, prioritize greens first, then comes protein, i.e., the thanksgiving turkey, and lastly, go for those delightful mashed potatoes. With this order, you can enjoy the meal guilt-free.

11. Keep the Sweetness in Control

Pumpkin pies, apple pies- all are meant to be devoured upon on occasions. And you should definitely be eating these. However, to maintain a healthier thanksgiving, these items can be prepared without the sugar overload.

Now, how are you supposed to do that if the feast is cooked by someone else? The solution is simple.

Contribute to the thanksgiving dinner by taking responsibility for the dessert. Make the pumpkin pie with low sugar content; maybe replace it with maple syrup, honey or coconut sugar. That way, you are eating healthy desserts too.

12. Make Smart Substitutes

Although some dishes are mandatory in thanksgiving, they can still be substituted with healthier versions. Mashed potatoes, for instance, is a mandate in thanksgiving dinner mainly because of their smooth texture and their ability to be the perfect dish for gravy but healthy? Not so much.

So what you can do instead is try a healthy recipe and go for that cauliflower dish. Cauliflowers are rich in Vitamin C, Fiber and Potassium. Not to mention how mashed cauliflowers are heaven to your taste buds.

13. Flood the plate with veggies

Thanksgiving or not, veggies are forever in the healthy meal category. And to hold a healthy thanksgiving day, you got to eat your veggies first. Only then you must move on to carbs.

Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.

Roasted Brussels sprout salad, green beans, or a green salad and use fresh herbs and some spices like garlic and cumin for the flavor. You can try other combinations too.

After having these, there is some room left to offer to the carbs and stuffed turkey. That way, healthy and delicious food exists together on one single plate.

Foods to celebrate Healthy Thanksgiving Day at work

For a holiday that revolves entirely around food, organizing the menu is a huge responsibility. And this preparing and deciding phenomenon can put one into stress.

Just because it is thanksgiving does not mean nutrition has to be compromised. Delicious and healthy- these two terms need to be paired up together while preparing the Thanksgiving meal.

Also, Thanksgiving is an occasion for being thankful and grateful. Often, workplaces celebrate this occasion by hosting potlucks. There, every employee brings some mouth-watering dish to work and shares it with their colleagues.

So, let us take your worries and stress off regarding the food items and come to your aid by suggesting some healthy thanksgiving day recipes which you can eat at home and also bring to the office.

14. Roasted vegetables

Photo by Jodi Pender / Unsplash

Simple and easy, this one is worth a room on your plate. Flavored with dried cranberries and vinegar, this recipe can use sprouts, carrots or any other vegetable of your choice.

15. Baked sweet potato

Photo by Unsplash

When you are trying to eat healthy, sweet potatoes are good to go. Enriched in fiber and vitamin C, these potatoes can be stuffed with chicken to make them more delicious.

16. Cauliflower stuffing

Photo by Alexandra Tran / Unsplash

Like we discussed, we can easily replace mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Similarly, stuffed cauliflower also serves a purpose. It can easily substitute bread, which many people following a low-carb diet do not prefer.

And cauliflower stuffing proves that amazing filling is possible without the use of bread too.

17. Keto pumpkin pie

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez / Unsplash

Who would even think something like a dessert is a healthy option? I mean, pies are that guilty pleasure for every fitness conscious individual. Pumpkin pies are some kind of weakness.

However, worry not. Here comes the keto pumpkin pie. For everyone willing to have a low carb dessert, it suits them best. A gluten-free crust with sugar substitutes together forms a keto pumpkin pie. You can use nuts, and some whipped cream and nobody would even notice the difference.

18. Mashed cauliflower

Photo by Parnis Azimi / Unsplash

As mentioned earlier, mashed cauliflowers have a kind of ring to themselves. Giving tough competition to potatoes in both taste and nutritional value, they can be made smooth and creamy by adding cream cheese.

Hence, low carb and creamy- what more do you want to make a perfect thanksgiving supper?

19. Green bean salad

Photo by Anh Nguyen / Unsplash

The name speaks for itself. Green and salad- the first word that comes to mind is healthy. But if it looks too boring, you can add air fryer garlic turkey breasts to it. Greens and turkey, both together, would make a pretty good team, won't they?

20. Broccoli Rabe

Photo by Drew Taylor / Unsplash

There's a special thanksgiving side dish that goes with sausages and pasta. Mind you, this is not ordinary broccoli. Broccoli rabe is a moderately bitter green, and its stalk, top, everything is edible. You ought to make it flavorful by adding some garlic and olive oil.

Wrapping it up

The more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for.- Norman Vincent Peale

There are a hundred other dishes. So this Thanksgiving, let only the turkey be stuffed instead of you. Enjoy it to the fullest while keeping your fitness motivation intact.

This article is written by Dipshi Bhattacharjee. Besides working as a Content Writer at Vantage Circle, she is an animal lover with a huge fascination for Cinema, Television & Foreign languages. For any related queries, contact

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