Table full of healthy Thanksgiving foods.

By Registered Dietitian Rachel

The idea of dieting during the holidays sounds like the opposite of fun, but maintaining a healthy diet during Thanksgiving and the holiday season doesn’t mean you have to stay away from your favorite holiday meal traditions. Enjoying food in moderation and choosing healthier twists on signature dishes and classic desserts will help you stay on track and enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving and holiday season!

If you’re not in charge of planning the menu for this year’s Turkey Day feast or Christmas dinner, you might be worried you’ll insult your host for passing up on certain dishes they spent all day preparing. However, there are several tricks you can use to help you stay in control of your Thanksgiving diet and still enjoy the deliciously prepared meal in front of you!

Healthy Choices at Thanksgiving When You’re the Guest

  • Be mindful of portion sizes—Did you know the size of a baseball is around 1 cup, and a deck of cards is about 3 ounces of meat?
  • Make at least half your plate fruits or colorful vegetables1.
  • Make at least one quarter of your plate protein—Adequate protein will satisfy your hunger longer1.
  • Pick desserts with fruit instead of high-saturated fat choices.
  • Bring your own healthier dessert—check out Livea’s healthy choices below.
  • Bring your own healthy vegetable side to share, like Livea’s Super Spinach Dip—check out more veggie favorites below.
  • Use mindful eating practices. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied.
  • Eat slower! It takes around 20 minutes for your brain to catch up with your stomach. You may be full before you even realize it2.
  • Be mindful of your beverage choices—Alcoholic drinks and cream drinks, such as eggnog, are very high in calories.
  • Try to choose healthy Thanksgiving foods that are fresh and lean.
    • Turkey = Lean (white meat- 6 ounces)
    • ½ cup of steamed green beans= 1 serving of vegetables
    • 1 cup salad with light dressing (you can always bring your own dressing) = 1 serving of vegetables
    • ½ cup roasted cauliflower = 1 serving of vegetables

These choices may have more “extras” than you are used to, but filling up on vegetables will help you meet your weight loss goals sooner!

Healthy Choices at Thanksgiving When You’re the Host

If you’re planning to feed your family a traditional Thanksgiving meal, you might worry you’ll have to sacrifice your healthy eating habits to appease the group. However, there are several fun, healthy substitutes you can incorporate into your family’s favorite recipes:

  • Swap mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower (Pro Tip: Even a 1/2 potato and 1/2 cauliflower mix is a step in a healthy direction)
  • Swap sour cream for plain greek yogurt
  • Swap oil for apple sauce when baking
  • Swap canned vegetables for fresh vegetables (Pro Tip: Steaming vegetables preserves more vitamins and nutrients than boiling)
  • Swap regular broth for no-sodium or low-sodium broth
  • Swap white flour for whole wheat flour
  • Swap gravy for Livea’s Creamy Chicken Alfredo
  • Swap bread crumbs for Livea’s Crushed Pretzel Twists
  • Swap regular ginger snap cookies for Livea Ginger Snap cookies
  • Swap butterscotch pudding for Livea’s Creamy Dulce de Leche pudding
  • Swap pumpkin pie for Livea’s Pumpkin Pie Shake/Pudding (Pro Tip: add whipped cream for only 1 extra)

In the upcoming weeks, meet with your personal lifestyle consultant and come up with a game plan before your next holiday gathering. Your lifestyle consultant has excellent tips to help you keep up with your healthy eating plan throughout your family’s holiday season!

Below are some healthy and fun side dishes you can bring to your next holiday party! 

* Made with Livea Meals

Stick to these healthy Thanksgiving foods and tips, and you’re sure to stay in control of your weight loss goals all holiday season long! From all of us at Livea, we wish you a safe, happy Thanksgiving Day!