Thanksgiving Survival Guide
By Lauren, Roseville Assistant Director & Registered Dietitian
What do you look forward to most on Thanksgiving? Feeling stuffed? Regretting your food choices?
Of course not! We all love Thanksgiving. It’s a special time of year when we get to spend more time with loved ones, relax over a tasty meal, and recount the many things we’re grateful for.
This year, don’t let that “shouldn’t-have-eaten-that” feeling have a place at your table! Instead, plan your meal and activities beforehand. This way you’ll know what to expect, so you can stay on track with your weight-loss journey into the New Year.
Below, you’ll find Livea’s official Thanksgiving survival guide. This includes healthy meal makeover ideas and fun activities to do with the family.
Thanksgiving Tips for Healthy Eating
While designing your menu, plan to make healthy, festive versions of traditional Thanksgiving classics. It’s easy; we promise!
In fact, here are a few fun Thanksgiving food ideas to help you get started.
Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizers
Before the main course, guests are always on the hunt for something tasty to satisfy those “in-between meals” hunger pains. There are endless options for healthy appetizers.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Is it really the holidays without this classic starter dish? To stay on track with your goals, make sure your board contains on-plan foods like
- Low fat cheese
- Dill pickles
- Roasted red peppers
Add a little heat to your starters with this easy, cheesy and crowd-pleasing queso dip! This recipe serves 4 and goes fast, so make sure to double up on ingredients if you’re hosting for a larger party.
Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas
For the main event, there are several swaps you can make to traditional entrees that help reduce starch and added sugars. In fact, you might be surprised how traditional Thanksgiving flavors can really shine through when they aren’t covered by gravy or starch.
Vegetarian Cauliflower Stuffing
Try our Vegetarian Cauliflower Stuffing piled inside a roasted kabocha squash for a show-stopping centerpiece.
Ready for a slight twist on Ole’ Tom? Skip the gravy and go “all in” on fresh herbs and spices with this delightful turkey recipe. It’s super easy to make, serves up to eight guests, and tastes out of this world!
If you, or someone at the table, prefers a vegetarian alternative to turkey, our spaghetti squash recipe will keep your tummy happy and full. This recipe includes grated parmesan, low-fat greek yogurt, and fresh thyme!
We’re willing to guess that some non-vegetarians might even try getting their hands on this entree, too!
Healthy Thanksgiving Sides
Sometimes, sides really are the best part of the meal! The good news is you won’t have to sacrifice your favorite seasonal side dishes to stay on target with your weight-loss goals.
This recipe allows you to lighten up your green bean casserole by using sweet and savory caramelized onions on top of steamed green beans. This helps replace the traditional French fried onions and heavy sauce.
Try using your regular spices and seasonings in this mashed cauliflower recipe for a lower carbohydrate alternative to potatoes. If you don’t want to pass up on gravy, you’re in luck because this recipe has a healthier alternative for gravy lovers, too!
Instead of cornbread or biscuits this year, try this easy-to-bake, delicious zucchini muffin recipe or enjoy our warm, fluffy, and oh so cheesy biscuits that use cauliflower and low-fat cheddar cheese in place of traditional flour.
Healthy Thanksgiving Desserts
Think the dessert tray is off the menu? Guess again! We have so many pumpkin-flavored tasty treats for you to enjoy—just remember serving size and moderation is key.
Pumpkin and Cinnamon Crisp Dessert
If you’re craving the spices and flavors of the holiday season, this recipe is sure to delight everyone’s taste buds at the table. It swaps traditional pie crust with cinnamon crisps and delivers a mouthful of pumpkin paradise in each bite.
If you’re having a more intimate Thanksgiving celebration this year, why not sink your teeth into our delicious pumpkin cheesecake recipe. Perfect for two, this seasonal staple is packed with rich flavors and simple to make on the fly!
If you’re a little “pumpkined out”, you might be craving a different seasonal spice—like gingerbread! This cookie recipe features sugar-free maple syrup and vanilla and is topped with cream cheese frosting.
It’s hard to just eat one, so make sure you’re keeping track of how many cookies you put on your plate!
Healthy Thanksgiving Tips for Staying Active
Aside from planning food options, you’ll also want to decide which activities you’d like to include in the day’s itinerary.
Holiday Self-Care Ideas
If you’re spending this year’s celebration solo, it’s time for some well-deserved “me” time! Bundle up and take a walk in a favorite park, read a book with a hot cup of tea, or call friends and relatives to tell them how grateful you are for them.
Holiday Family-Time Ideas
Spending the holiday with family or friends? Pick out some outdoor or indoor games you all like to play. Pull out the old Monopoly board, pick teams for charades, or try your luck with family-friendly card games like Uno.
Remember, if you’re busy having fun, you won’t feel left out of festivities—regardless of what you do or what you don’t have on your plate.
Healthy Thanksgiving Tips for the New Year
Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season and the countdown to the end of the year. As you plan your Thanksgiving Day celebration, think about your vision for the remainder of the year.
Start by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do you want to wear to your next holiday get-together?
- How do you want to feel in the coldest months of the year?
- Can you finish this year feeling healthier and stronger than you started it?
Want More Fun Thanksgiving Food Ideas?
If you’re looking for more guidance on how to plan your Thanksgiving Day meal, be sure to check out our recipes page for inspiration. You’ll also find fun and healthy leftover turkey recipes to enjoy and help you stay on track the rest of the week!
This Thanksgiving, start a new tradition that will leave you feeling more energetic with no regrets. By planning ahead with healthy and flavorful food, seasonal fun activities, and goals to be the best version of yourself, you can have a holiday to be grateful for.
From all of us at Livea, we wish you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving!
- Brickley, L. Tips for Serving a Low Carb Thanksgiving Dinner. https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/low-carb-thanksgiving