Great Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

As most Americans know, it can be tempting to dive into unhealthy eating habits over Thanksgiving break. While many people look forward to quality time with their loved ones, there is also lots of excitement about what delicious foods will be available to eat for Thanksgiving dinner, as it only comes around once a year! 

For families looking to avoid unhealthy amounts of fat, sugar, and salt there are thankfully some great options. With some planning, it is possible to have both a delicious and healthy feast that doesn’t come with a side of guilt or lethargy afterward. 

So what can be done to make a healthy Thanksgiving dinner that everyone loves? Keep reading to learn some great tips!

Limit Your Intake of Unhealthy Foods

There’s no need to completely cut out less healthy foods on Thanksgiving, but that doesn’t mean you can’t cut down on your intake. Make conscious choices about how much butter you use in your potatoes or how many slices of pie you have for dessert. 

Oftentimes people let their excitement override their decision-making capabilities and wind up taking way too much of their favorite indulgences. Although this may feel good at the moment, you will likely feel overstuffed and lethargic afterward and perhaps even a little bit guilty. 

You can also choose to stop eating when you’re eighty percent full instead of waiting to feel totally stuffed. Wait a little while after you finish to see if you’re still hungry for more. 

Bring a Healthy Side Dish

Thanksgiving food

If you’re visiting someone else’s house for Thanksgiving, offer to bring a healthy yet delicious side dish. By doing so, you can ensure something healthy will be available during the meal and you are also sure to like it! 

Think about tasty vegetable dishes like caramelized brussels sprouts, roasted carrots, or a delicious sweet potato soup. Others will likely appreciate your contribution and enjoy digging in for a taste. 

Get Active on Thanksgiving Day

A great way to enjoy Thanksgiving while also reducing guilt later in the day is to get in some exercise ahead of the big meal. You can go for a hike, run, or even do some weight training to get your blood flowing. Exercising like this helps put you in a positive mindset and reminds you that health is a priority in your life. 

You can also choose to go on a nice walk after Thanksgiving dinner to help you digest and process food more easily. In fact, walking after an evening meal can really help reduce spikes in blood sugar levels. 

Watch What You Drink

A family having a meal together

There’s nothing wrong with having an alcoholic drink or two during Thanksgiving, but it’s always a good idea to drink consciously. Make sure to drink enough water if you’ve chosen to drink alcohol, and try to drink non-alcoholic beverages during the night as well. This could include low-sugar sodas and juices as well as flavored or sparkling water. 

Avoid Foodborne Illnesses

If you are helping prepare Thanksgiving dinner, it is a good idea to ensure food-borne illnesses are kept at bay. This can be done by cooking foods thoroughly, especially meat or dishes cooked with raw eggs. When it comes to cooking turkey, use a meat thermometer to ensure that it is cooked to the proper temperature. 

Keep raw meat separate from other foods and make sure to use different utensils and cutting boards for preparing these foods as well. It’s always smart to wash your hands regularly and clean cooking surfaces before you start. 

Once the meal is over, make sure you store food properly instead of letting it sit out all day long. Make sure foods aren’t out for more than an hour between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. 


Father playing in the leaves with his daughter

As you can see, there are so many great ways to have a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving dinner. By making smart decisions throughout the night, you can cut down on your chances of feeling overstuffed, lethargic, or even sick. Staying active before and after dinner is also a great way to make Thanksgiving a bit healthier while making it easier for your body to digest a large evening dinner. 



Maneeza Hasan – Maneeza is a content marketing professional from Los Angeles, California. She loves to create content that helps people live better lives. To learn more about her please visit her website at