Tips (And Recipes) For a Healthy Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, you might think it is impossible to stick to a healthy eating plan-right? Wrong! Although high calorie foods and holidays go hand in hand, it is 100% possible to stay on track! Do not let the cornucopia of food options weigh you down; it is time to kick off the holiday season right. Follow these tips to ensure you have a happy AND healthy season!

Top 10 Thanksgiving Survival Tips

1. Eat a well-balanced breakfast and lunch before your Thanksgiving extravaganza to prevent hunger and the overeating that often results from it!

2. Bring a low calorie dish or dessert to your Thanksgiving dinner (even if you aren’t asked) to ensure you have healthy options available.

3. On the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, make sure you maintain a healthy lifestyle every day. Choose to eat well and exercise often to prevent any unnecessary weight gain.

4. Drink plenty of water on Thanksgiving! It helps fill you up without any extra calories.

5. Aim for just one helping from each food group! Enjoy a balance of protein (white meat turkey), vegetables, and one type of starch, such as corn or potatoes, to fill you up!

6. If you must, save a red light food to have an extra helping of potatoes or a dessert!

7. Enjoy special holiday foods! Don’t waste calories on foods you can eat everyday; instead, choose smaller portions of holiday favorites like Pumpkin Pie or Sweet Potato Pie.

8. Avoid noshing on small appetizers because they can add extra calories to your meal without making you feel full.

9. Fortunately, white meat turkey, vegetables, and sweet potatoes are healthy options found at most Thanksgiving dinners! Just be aware of how they are prepared; avoid fried foods, heavy sauces and foods made with a lot of butter or oil.

10. Nix leftovers! Give your guests “doggie bags” or donate leftover food to a homeless shelter in your area.

Thanksgiving is a day to focus on family and friends and to give thanks for all the blessings in your life! You may want to even start a new Thanksgiving tradition in order to celebrate. Instead of focusing solely on the food being served, get the whole family moving with a friendly game of touch-football or basketball. Don’t forget to give thanks for your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the holiday season!

Healthy and Hearty Thanksgiving Staples

Pumpkin Spiced Squash Pie

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ready Time: 90 minutes


· 1 cup cooked mashed butternut squash

· 3/4 cup fat-free milk

· 2 eggs

· 1/2 cup dark brown sugar

· 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

· 1 tsp cinnamon

· 1/8 tsp salt

· 1 store-bought graham cracker crust


1. Preheat oven to 350 F.

2. blender, purée squash, milk, eggs, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon and salt until completely mixed.

3. Pour into graham cracker crust and bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until the pie is set in the center.

4. Let pie cool on the counter and then refrigerate.

Makes 8 servings

1 slice (1/8 pie): Yellow

Nutty Bean Salad

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ready Time: 25 minutes


· 8 cup small green beans, ends trimmed

· 2 cup sliced green onions

· 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or almonds

· 1 1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary

· ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

· 1 1/2 Tbsp grated lemon rind


1. Arrange green beans in a steamer basket over boiling water. Cover and steam 8 to 12 minutes or until crisp-tender. Place beans into cold water to stop the cooking process; drain.

2. Spray a sauté pan with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, add green onions and sauté until tender. Add green beans, walnuts, rosemary, and lemon juice.

3. Cook, stirring constantly, until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.

Makes 8 servings

1 cup: Green

Cranberried Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 12 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Ready Time: 65 minutes


· 2 medium sweet potatoes

· 2 Tbsp cranberry juice

· 1 Tbsp brown sugar

· 1 Tbsp butter, melted

· 1/8 tsp ground ginger

· 4 tbsp craisins


1. Preheat oven to 400 F.

2. Scrub potatoes and cut in half lengthwise; do not peel.

3. Spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the potatoes in pan, cut-side down. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 40 minutes or until almost tender.

4. Stir together the cranberry juice, brown sugar, butter, and ginger. Turn potatoes cut-side up and brush with cranberry mixture. Bake 5 to 10 minutes or until tender. Sprinkle each half with 1 tbsp of craisins. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings

½ potato per serving: Yellow


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