Food & Nutrition Science

5 Healthy Thanksgiving Food Ideas Everyone at the Table Can Enjoy

With the holidays right around the corner, there is always one thing on everyone’s mind: savory dishes and holiday-inspired cocktails. That’s right, the holidays, especially Thanksgiving, come with temptation – but your clients don’t have to go cold turkey just to stay on track with their nutrition goals. 

With turkey, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, cranberries and leafy greens at the heart of the dinner table, your clients (and even you) can stay on track even during the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season. So feel free to pull up a chair and indulge! Thanksgiving doesn’t always have to lead to a food coma and the notorious “morning after” hangover – instead, use it as a jumping-off point for a savory and healthy holiday season!

Avoid Holiday Weight Gain with these Healthy Thanksgiving Food Ideas

Rather than obsessing over creamy mashed potatoes and the dessert table, stick to dishes that are healthy, hearty and delectable. Here are a couple of our favorites this holiday season:

Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes are not only rich in vitamin B6, C and D, but they are a great source of iron, potassium and magnesium. Not to mention, they’re creamy, delicious and a perfect substitute for white or yellow potatoes. Here is a Thanksgiving-friendly recipe from that everyone is sure to enjoy:

Leafy Greens: You may have heard that leafy greens, like kale, can provide a number of different health benefits, such as: lowering the risk of cancer, help to lower your cholesterol, and much more. Essentially, it’s a nutritional powerhouse that has everyone feeding into the ‘kale frenzy.’ Not only does the nutrient-rich vegetable provide a number of different health benefits, but it’s versatile and works with a variety of your favorite dishes. Here is a recipe from from Seasons and Suppers that we can’t take our eyes (or our mouths) off of:

Pumpkin: Nothing says fall and Thanksgiving like a pumpkin dish. But it doesn’t always get a reputation for being healthy; partially because it’s accompanied with other ingredients, like heavy cream and sugar. So we would like to present to you a healthy alternative for those unhealthy pumpkin treats, a pumpkin cheesecake parfait you can make in 10 minutes! (Featured on iFoodReel’s recipe blog).

Turkey or Vegetarian Protein Dish: Turkey (or if you’re a vegetarian, a large source of protein) is likely going to be the center of attention at your table! Opt for smaller portions, paired with a salad and a soup for the perfect meal. If you’re a vegetarian, we recently discovered a seitan roast we can’t wait to try. 


Thanksgiving Food to Avoid (or keep to a minimum)

Whether your client is hosting this Thanksgiving, or they are attending a dinner party, encourage them to stay on track with the healthy options we have listed above. If your client is still curious about what they should stay away from on this holiday dedicated to feasting, we have compiled a short list of some of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes that we should all keep to smaller portions (or pass altogether).

  1. Mashed Potatoes
  2. Creamy Soups
  3. Pies
  4. Alcohol (with the exception of a little red wine)
  5. Stuffing

A Few Extra Tips for Staying Satisfied All Season Long

Thanksgiving is traditionally known for two things (besides counting the things we’re thankful for, of course): filling up and over-stuffing (and yes, unfortunately we’re referring to ourselves and not the turkey). Instead of opting for a self-induced food coma, we recommend stopping when you’re full. Yes we agree that it may sound pretty obvious, but the holidays have a reputation of leaving us stuffed, instead of just perfectly satisfied. And if you’re anything like us, the traditional Thanksgiving feast can also create a domino-effect all season long, but it doesn’t have to derail the health and fitness goals your client has set for themselves.

A couple of small changes to your Thanksgiving can make a huge difference, for example: sticking to water all evening long can help your client feel fuller longer and avoid over-eating. Also, instead of running right to the couch right after dinner, encourage your client to help the host clean up, or even take a long walk with family and friends so they can burn off some extra calories before unwinding for the evening. 

With these tips in mind, your client can stay satisfied and on track this Thanksgiving – Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving!


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