Health Advocate Blog

Ask a Health Advocate: What are some ways I can make my Thanksgiving menu healthier?

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year to celebrate things we are thankful for and spend time with family and friends. But Thanksgiving dinner is a meal where it can be easy to overindulge. Luckily, there are easy ways to tweak classic dishes so you feel good, not guilty, about what you ate. Try these tips:

Turkey: When cooking the meat, switch out the turkey fat for a tasty herb-roasted spread instead! Try this one:

Also, once the turkey is served, avoid eating its skin, as it contains extra fat and calories. Just peel it away and enjoy the meat underneath.

Gravy: Use the stock from the roasted turkey plus some herbs to create a delicious low-fat gravy.

Vegetables: Serve vegetables steamed, or roasted with a drizzle of olive oil and fresh herbs. Avoid drenching your veggies in butter, which can add unnecessary calories to your meal.

Also, with fall in full swing, there is a plethora of seasonal produce you can incorporate into your holiday meal. Consider serving sweet potatoes, squash, beets, carrots, and Brussels sprouts for added health and color. The following recipe features root vegetables as the star of the dish:

Mashed potatoes: Looking for a healthier version? Try cauliflower mashed “potatoes” for a lower calorie, creamier side dish!

Stuffing: Stuffing is a favorite Thanksgiving dish for many people. For a healthier version, try swapping out the bread with wild rice or quinoa, which can provide extra nutrients and fiber!

Green bean casserole: Re-vamp your green bean casserole to reduce the sodium and fat often found in canned soup by making an easy home-made sauce.

A few final tips:

Try these simple tips and substitutes when cooking your Thanksgiving dinner, or any other meal!

  • Reduce butter and oil whenever possible
  • Use fresh or frozen fruit and vegetables instead of canned
  • Try using plain yogurt rather than sour cream in mashed potatoes and casseroles

If you’re a Health Advocate member with access to the Wellness Coaching program, reach out to your Wellness Coach for more tips on ways to stay healthy during the holidays.

Have a question for a Health Advocate? Email, and your question may be the topic of an upcoming “Ask a Health Advocate” column!