Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Eating healthy Thanksgiving can be challenging, but there are some easy ways to eat a little healthier. (Photo credit:

Kelsie Bald

Wellness Writer

A big part of Thanksgiving is eating a variety of foods all day long. This is a big part of the tradition, but there are ways to make simple adjustments to have a more balanced day of eating. Incorporating heart-healthy ingredients, eating plenty of vegetables, and watching portion sizes can all be beneficial. 

Here are five ways you can have a healthier Thanksgiving:

1.     Switch out saturated fats for unsaturated fats when cooking. Instead of using butter, use avocado oil. When baking, this can be trickier, but butter could also be replaced with applesauce, low-fat Greek yogurt, avocado oil, or possibly even a nut butter, as found in a Medical News Today article.

2.     Limiting sodium on this day can also make for a heart-healthy Thanksgiving. Creating homemade menu items will help to control sodium amounts better than buying premade frozen items. Keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration recommends keeping sodium intake less than 2300 mg. This is equivalent to 1 tsp of salt.

3.     Supplying plenty of vegetable options for Thanksgiving can be festive and healthy at the same time. Having options such as sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, adding vegetables to stuffing, and oven-roasted vegetables can all add balance to your plate. Try to fill half of your plate with vegetables.

4.     One way to have portion control, suggested by the MD Anderson Cancer Center, is to use smaller plates. Using smaller plates helps to make it appear as though you’re eating more food than you think. 

5.     Another suggestion by the MD Anderson Cancer Center is to leave food in the kitchen rather than having the food at the table. It is very easy to overeat when all the food is sitting right in front of you. 

Enjoy Thanksgiving! It is a time to spend with family and friends; overindulging on this one day is okay if your year-round diet is balanced with plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and protein.