Simple Swaps for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Authors: Southeast Region Leadership Team

Foodies rejoice! You don’t have to pass up your Thanksgiving favs to live nutritiously (and deliciously!) this Thanksgiving. Simple swaps during Thanksgiving will help keep you feeling your best as you kick off the holiday season.

Make New Traditions

Being healthy during Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you should toss your family’s beloved mealtime traditions out the window. Blend new traditions with old for a healthy feast the family will love.

  • Choose whole grain dinner rolls.
  • Mash parsnips with your potatoes or try this cauliflower “mashed potato” recipe.
  • Limit oil and butter where you can.
  • Add flavor to your veggies by roasting them with fresh herbs.
  • Use sugar substitutes or fruit purees to reduce added sugar. We love this cranberry sauce that uses raspberries to add sweetness while upping the nutrition!
  • Use Greek yogurt to add creaminess to mashed potatoes, dips and casseroles.

Indulge Without Guilt

The urge to splurge during the holiday season is understandable, but you don’t have to sabotage your waistline to enjoy the delicious offerings that will surround you. Feeling stuffed should be left to the turkey alone, be sure to plan ahead to set yourself up for success.

  • Help plan the Thanksgiving menu. Be sure to balance out the menu with roasted veggies and seasonal salads.
  • Eat breakfast. Curbing hunger is a great way to prevent over-indulging later. Start your day off right with a balance of protein and carbs to leave you feeling satisfied and energized. Poached egg on whole wheat toast, whole grain cereal and low fat milk, and even a PB&J are all great ideas to get your day started right.
  • Practice portion control. Use smaller plates, bowls, cups and serving utensils; cut pies and cakes into smaller pieces.
  • Plan your leftovers. Not only will you reduce food waste, but you’ll have a plan in place to limit over-eating.

Get Active

It may be no surprise that people exercise less and eat more during the holiday seasons. Kick your holiday season off right by remaining active. The American Heart Association recommends exercising for at least 30 minutes each day. Avoid the urge to sink into the coach after your meal—instead walk the neighborhood with your family and friends!

You don’t have to set aside your family traditions to savor your food, family time, and your wellbeing. For more nutrition tips, visit!