Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving

Devising a strategy to get you through this Thanksgiving is one way to tackle the beginning of the holiday season without packing on the pounds. Luckily, there are many ways to prepare and bring your best self to the Thanksgiving table.

Avoid Getting Stuffed this Thanksgiving Holiday

Step one towards conquering the official day of eating is to start with a decent breakfast or light snack. Showing up to the family holiday ravenously hungry is a dangerous situation to find yourself in. Instead, build a breakfast with about 20 to 30 grams of protein. This will help increase your satiety, or how long you remain feeling full after a meal. If you’re curious what 20 to 30 grams of protein looks like, you could enjoy an H-E-B Greek 100 yogurt, a slice of 100% whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a hardboiled egg for a whopping 27 grams! If you have an extra 10 minutes to spare for prep time, try these Power Protein Pancakes to support your pre-game breakfast.

Dietitian Tip: "My family and I will start the day with a well balanced breakfast since we know dinner will be a heavy meal" - Mikala Guillaume, RD, LD


Save Calories with Mindful Eating

Avoid mindless eating by setting up a food environment conducive to making better choices.

  • Request the food be set up at meal time versus having the food sit out all day.
  • Use a smaller plate for your appetizers and your meal. You’ll naturally portion less food onto the plate!
  • Enjoy your meal with your back to the buffet table or put the family style platters out of reach. This way you’ll have to actively seek getting second helpings. 

Dietitian Tip: "I like to start off with a salad or load up with vegetables since those in general will be very filling and nutrient dense. Choosing the white meat turkey as your lean protein would be wise. Also, asking yourself if you're truly physiologically hungry when grazing may help connect you to your true hunger level." - Mikala Guillaume, RD, LD

Food for the Party

In the grand scheme of the holiday season, Thanksgiving is only one day. Indulge and enjoy the traditions of the holiday. You can always start a tradition encouraging physical activity with the family to burn some extra calories. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

Also, you know it’s not polite to show up empty handed. Opt for contributing a seemingly indulgent side dish or better-for-you baked good as your contribution to the party. Try these simple 3 ingredient pumpkin brownies

Dietitian Tip: "I definitely savor a small slice of pumpkin or pecan pie. Thanksgiving is the only time of the year I eat them and I look forward to enjoying them. I’d suggest 'lightening up' your recipes such as avoiding marshmallows on the yams, limiting liquid calories from sweetened beverages and alcohol and using less sugar in recipes. All of these modifications can lighten your calorie load. Make sure to keep up your exercise routine during the holidays." - Rita Zapien, MS, RD, LD, CDE


try these recipes

Protein-rich Breakfast: 
Nutrient-rich Plate Filler:
Lighter Dessert: