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Seasonal Diet Tips

Explore our expert knowledge on topics such as healthy eating during the holidays, and how to live into a happier and healthier you in the New Year. Discover tips and tricks on how to avoid weight gain at holiday parties and while on vacation.

10 Tips for a Slimmer Thanksgiving

With the fall holidays often being a difficult time for weight loss, we've created these 10 healthy Thanksgiving tips that will keep your weight loss goals still in range, all while enjoying the much anticipated fall holiday!


The turkey baking in the oven, potatoes getting mashed, and the cream whipping to top the infamous pumpkin pie... With most traditional dishes rich in calories from sugar and fat, falling off the health wagon may be highly projected. Luckily, these 10 healthy Thanksgiving tips will keep your weight loss goals still in range, all while enjoying the much anticipated fall holiday!

10 Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

1. Eat Breakfast
Giving up breakfast to save room (and calories) for the main Thanksgiving event seems logical. But consuming a light, well-balanced breakfast is stressed much more than skipping out on eggs, toast, fruit, yogurt, and other favored foods. Eating breakfast can keep hunger at bay, thus reducing the risk of overeating at the Thanksgiving meal.

2. Exercise
Start the day with an exercise routine or run! Accept our Planksgiving Challenge to burn calories and get you in a positive mindset. Partaking in morning exercise can create a calorie deficit from the very beginning while setting the pace for a healthy Thanksgiving. Additional ways to get active include taking family walks following the Thanksgiving meal, a hike with friends, or these three exercises that boost your metabolism.

3. Self-Discuss
Likewise esteemed as a "pep talk," allow yourself to mentally discuss your health goals. Remember why you started this journey in the first place and make decisions that align with your personal aspirations. If needing further accountability, confine in a close friend and family member to keep your goals in check.

4. Strategize
Construct a strategy for enjoying Thanksgiving while sticking to your health goals. Firstly, dismiss the mindset of, "it is a holiday, I can eat whatever I want." Reconstruct that mentality into "it is a holiday and I can enjoy it, indulge some, and not abandon my weight loss efforts." Think of ways to include exercise throughout your day (mentioned in tip number two) and food options you most want to treat yourself with.

5. Recipe Alterations
Unlike commonly believed, Thanksgiving dishes do not have to be rich in calories and less-healthful ingredients. Lighten up recipes with simple changes such as reducing heavy amounts of butter and salt in the mashed potatoes, sautéing veggies in olive oil, using light whipped topping on the pumpkin or apple pie, and these healthy Thanksgiving recipes featured on the Food Network.

6. Portion Control
Taking a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes or a few dinner rolls may be a Thanksgiving temptation, but doing so each year (and all holidays) can hither weight loss and health goals. Try to choose which foods trigger the most temptation and stick to a proper portion size. Utilizing smaller plates can lessen the opportunity to overeat and before reaching for a second helping, wait at least 10 to 20 minutes to gauge whether you are truly still hungry.

7. Say "No"
With so many various options and choices, it is absolutely okay to just say "no." You do not have to overstretch yourself (or your belly) to fit in all offered foods. If feeling pressured to try a family member's side dish, mention you simply do not have the room for it at the time. You can also suggest taking a portion home to try at a later time.

8. Limit Alcohol
First off, alcohol can certainly fit into the diet and even provide health benefits. The catch? If consumed in moderation - men are advised to no more than two alcohol servings while women are recommended to one. Overdoing alcohol intake packs on calories and may increase the urge to overindulge on foods after a few drinks.

9. Savor the Flavor
Also reflecting on the concept of mindful eating, savor the flavors of the well-crafted foods. All the tasteful Thanksgiving options take time to create so slow down and appreciate not only the flavor, but also the effort put into their preparation. Slowing down on meal intake, while staying intuitive with hunger and satiety cues, can ultimately lessen the likelihood of overeating and foster a healthy Thanksgiving.

10. Give Thanks

To more than just the tasty foods! Though the Thanksgiving meal is always desired and pleasing, fixate your attention to more than the turkey and stuffing. Thanksgiving has brought you to a table filled with close friends and family so enjoy and nurture those annual memories!

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on November 15, 2016. Updated on May 13, 2019.


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