This food-centered holiday doesn’t have to be unhealthy – you CAN plan a healthy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a holiday where we focus on gratefulness while gathering with our friends and family around a table, spilling over with our favorite holiday dishes.

And if we’re being honest, there’s also the added anticipation of watching the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, various pro football games, and intentionally over-indulging – all day long.

For anyone trying to watch what they eat, the holidays – especially Thanksgiving – are challenging at their best and seemingly impossible at their worst. 

Add to that the stressors that frequently go hand-in-hand with the holidays, and we stop worrying if we’ll fall off the diet wagon – instead, we pretty much jump off. In other words, we swing to the extreme, abandoning any effort to plan a healthy Thanksgiving.

And that’s because, on the whole – this holiday indirectly celebrates overeating. And not just overeating, but overeating less healthy foods.

So what can you do?

First, we encourage you to stop thinking of foods as right or wrong. 

While it’s true that some people must manage strict dietary restrictions or allergies that could compromise their overall health or safety, many more of us simply desire to maintain an overall balanced diet for optimal health.

That’s why our recommendation for any of our personal chef services clients is to embrace the holiday safely while also forgiving themselves for indulging in the delicacies of Turkey Day.

 And if you’re interested in healthy substitutes for the classic Thanksgiving fare, the good news is they are a’plenty!

Turkey Day Tasty Alternatives

If you want to plan a healthy Thanksgiving, start with turkey, but avoid the skin, where you’ll find the most unhealthy fat. Avoid deep-frying your bird, and you can partake without guilt since a one-pound serving of skinless, boneless turkey breast has a mere 123 calories, is high in protein, and is very low in fat. 

Most of us struggle with the abundance of high-calorie, high-carb, high-fat, and high-sugar side dishes. For instance, Ambrosia salad – despite containing fruit – is loaded with processed sugars and dairy.

There are healthier-but-still-delicious alternate side dishes that cut the calories, carbs, and fat. Instead of spooning yourself a serving of traditional mashed potatoes this year, try one of our client favorites, “Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Almonds and Toasted Coconut Recipe.” (Available as a FREE download below.)

Even healthier is replacing your traditional green bean casserole with the “Green Beans and Mushrooms with Shallots Recipe” – one of the thousands of recipes we make as part of our personal chef services.

For dessert, know that sugary pies topped with globs of whipped cream are not “bad” food choices in moderation. Still, if you want to keep your desserts on the lighter side, consider a Coconut Milk Panna Cotta or Pecan-Date pie, which has less sugar and fat than a traditional pecan pie.

Plan a Healthy Thanksgiving with Your Portion Sizes

Regardless of what your friends and family serve (because that is often outside of your control), exercising restraint with portion sizes is the best tool to achieving your health goals.

Other handy tips:

  1. Drink a full glass of water before eating.
  2. Focus on placing lower-calorie options on your plate. 
  3. Make sure your larger portions are of vegetables and whole grains, with smaller amounts allotted for fruits and protein

Remember, you can thoroughly enjoy Thanksgiving without walking away bloated, sluggish, and searching for your stretchy pants.

Benjamin Franklin said it best: “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” So, plan a healthy Thanksgiving, eat your favorite dishes in moderation, respect your body’s needs and requirements, and try not to be too hard on yourself and others.

And if we can help you in any way, let us know. We provide personal chef services for individuals, couples, and families who want flavorful, healthy means that best fuel their bodies.

Enjoy these additional chef-approved recipes to make your turkey day healthyish:

Plan a Healthy Thanksgiving - Recipe Downloads