Healthy Eating

Tips For a Healthier Thanksgiving Plate (No Deprivation Required)

And yes, you can still enjoy the pumpkin pie.

By: Rebecca Jacobs

If the thought of prepping all the yummy Thanksgiving food has you stressed, we’re with you. Between the actual food prep to deciding what recipes to make, things can get stressful. But, we’re here to share healthy Thanksgiving tips to make Thanksgiving dinner delicious, but also healthy. Oh, and no deprivation required here. It is the holiday season, after all! 

The Top Healthy Thanksgiving Tips You Need For Your Healthiest Thanksgiving Yet 

#1 Simplify Portion Control 

Portion control on Thanksgiving? (says no one ever). But, with some simple healthy Thanksgiving hacks, portion control on Thanksgiving doesn’t have to feel like a chore. 

Divide Your Plate: You can divide your plate without actually using one of those cool official divider plates. Just mentally split your plate into three portions. One large portion for your veggies, a medium section for your protein, and a small section for your carbs. 

Eat Your Veggies First: When you dive into your Thanksgiving meal, start by eating your veggies first. You will be more likely to fill up on the healthy goodness, and only have a little room for that carb-heavy stuffing. 

Listen to Your Body: While it’s easy to woof down a Thanksgiving meal, and throw mindful eating out the window, listening to your body is such a great healthy Thanksgiving tip that you can carry with you through the entire holiday season. Take a moment to just stop and listen to your body after you eat your first Thanksgiving dinner portion. Are you really still hungry enough for a second plate, or is your body telling you to slow down? Try to tune in, and when you feel like you are 80% full, stop. You will feel SO much better and not as bloated and fatigued after a giant Thanksgiving meal. 

#2 Get Smart About Macros

No, we’re not telling you to actually count macros on Thanksgiving. Who really wants to do that during the holiday season? But, you can get smart about macros without having to do any math at all. When you start to fill up your Thanksgiving plate, go for all the green and colorful goodness first (think asparagus, sweet potatoes, cranberries), then go for the protein (aka turkey). The last thing to add? Those delicious mashed potatoes and cornbread. It’s an easy healthy Thanksgiving tip that takes the stress out of enjoying that Thanksgiving meal without the guilt. 

#3 Get Side Dish Savvy 

One of our favorite healthy Thanksgiving tips is to get side dish savvy. If you can make the side dishes yourself, that’s even better! But, if not, you can get creative with what’s offered at Thanksgiving dinner by being smart about your choices. Try to stick to veggies first and opt for a smaller plate, so there’s less room to fill up on the sides. This will leave more room for the main dish (like turkey) and less room for carb heavy sides. 

If you’re bringing your own side dish, you can whip up something like mashed sweet potatoes made with a splash of coconut milk and sea salt. Or, try making roasted veggies with carrots, sweet potatoes, and Brussels sprouts with some olive oil and garlic. Yum! 

#4 Make Those Sweets a Little Sweeter (for your health that is) 

If post Thanksgiving dinner comes with a side of pumpkin pie, we’re definitely not here to tell you not to eat it. Life is all about balance, and this time of year, we all love enjoying delicious foods with friends and family gathered around the dinner table. But, here’s the thing — you can enjoy that piece of pumpkin or apple pie and do so without the sugar overload. 

This year, make those sweets a little sweeter for your health by signing yourself up to be the one to bring the dessert to Thanksgiving dinner. This way, you can reduce the sugar content, and even consider swapping refined sugar with some pure maple syrup, honey, or coconut sugar. You can even try swapping out that traditional whipped cream you serve with your favorite pie with some homemade coconut whipped cream instead. All you need is a can of full-fat coconut cream, a splash of vanilla extract, and a high-speed blender. Whip until it turns into a whipped cream-like consistency. 

A Sample Healthy Thanksgiving Plate 

Ok, so let’s put this all into real life. Here’s a sample healthy Thanksgiving plate that’s full of all the deliciousness you want, but portioned perfectly to leave you feeling satisfied but not full enough that you’re stuck in that post-turkey haze. 

Here’s the perfect example of what a balanced Thanksgiving plate looks like. There’s plenty of greens, a side of cranberry sauce, a decent portion of turkey, and a scoop of mashed potatoes. It’s balanced and will satisfy all of those holiday food cravings come Thanksgiving day. 

Now go and enjoy that Thanksgiving feast! You now know exactly how to enjoy Thanksgiving and all of the yumminess that comes with it, while still keeping your health in mind. 

Happy Thanksgiving!