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Top Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving Feast


One of the most delicious of all holidays is almost upon us, but if you’re interested in having a healthier Thanksgiving day feast, you may be breaking a sweat wondering how you’ll side-step all the indulgent, unhealthy dishes! 

Not to worry, because with some simple steps for success, you can still enjoy the day (and the food), while reigning in your urge to over-indulge. As long as you focus on healthy lifestyle practices in general, and of course throw some healthy Thanksgiving recipes into the mix, having a clean yet decadent Thanksgiving can be easier than you think.

We get it… You still want to enjoy the day with your family and friends, but you also want to feel good about yourself and your ultimate goals in the midst of serious temptation.

Read on to learn how you can do both this holiday…

Tips for Enjoying a Healthy Thanksgiving Feast

1. Choose crowd-pleasing (healthy) recipes

While you’re busy creating your Thanksgiving menu, you may not even realize there are so many ways to make the dishes you typically enjoy – and many of them are healthier than traditional versions. Check out this post on creating a Healthy Thanksgiving Menu for fresh ideas to create totally mouthwatering, healthy Thanksgiving recipes including main dishes and sides.

2. Take proper portions

One of the hardest parts about the Thanksgiving holiday is that it can be so easy to take more than you need to eat to be satisfied. While it’s perfectly okay to treat yourself to some of your favorite foods at your Thanksgiving feast – you still need to stay within proper portion sizes when you do it.

If you’re confused about what this actually looks like, check out this guide by food group on the USDA’s website, MyPlate – which not only tells you recommended portion sizes by age group, but also gives you examples of what an ounce equivalent of food looks like on your plate.

3. 2 shakes + 1 meal

Our next tip falls into line with something that’s actually an amazing daily lifestyle practice, but that’s also particularly great for holidays. If you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner feast (or maybe it’s a big Thanksgiving lunch) that’s great, but make the other two meals in your day yummy meal replacement shakes.

Believe it or not, these amazingly healthy shakes contain the nutrients to replace full meals, for a fraction of the calories – plus there are so many decadent smoothie recipes you can make, so you won’t feel like you’re missing out on delicious food during the holidays!

5. Stay hydrated

Though this is a common health tip you hear repeated often, it’s incredibly hard to forget, especially during busy days of cooking and chatting like holidays. But the truth is, if your body is thirsty, you’ll be more likely to snack, mistaking your thirst for hunger. Staying hydrated is therefore a great way to stay in control of your appetite – and it can also be extremely delicious at the same time.

Simply add fruit, veggies or herbs into a water pitcher full of water and ice to create a crowd-pleasing infused water recipe. Or, make a batch of this refreshing lemonade and detox tea to serve to your guests; Both the lemonade and tea will help speed up digestion, naturally energize and suppress your appetite – so it’s great for flavor and function!

5. Get enough protein & fiber

Our next healthy Thanksgiving tip has to do with the food selections you make – since this is obviously a holiday where there are lots of dishes heavy in carbs and sugar. Instead, take your portions of protein, and lots of healthy veggies first – to ensure you’re getting the foods that will keep your metabolism revved up and your digestion working at its best. In addition, the foods containing plenty of protein and fiber are typically the healthiest nutrient-wise.

6. Make exercise a group activity

Many people look at exercise as a chore, but in reality, it can be a fun activity that your whole family can participate in… and breaking even a small sweat can definitely help you feel better about the Thanksgiving feast you’ll sink your teeth into. Make it a new tradition to do something physical with your family on Thanksgiving, whether it be a morning turkey trot or a post-dinner walk to keep everyone from falling asleep after eating. You could also start the day with a group workout session using simple at-home workout equipment.

7. Reduce stress & give thanks

Last but certainly not least, it’s extremely easy to get extra stressed on any holiday, from all the planning that goes into the day. But high stress levels up the hormone, cortisol, in your body, which can increase anxiety and cause you to reach for more unhealthy foods.

One incredible solution for reducing stress is focusing on all of the things you are thankful for in this season. Make a list and put it somewhere you can see it every day. Also talk about the things you are thankful for with your family and have them make lists as well. It’s not just about the food… it’s also about who you share it with!


Are you ready to have a healthy Thanksgiving?! Let us know what healthy Thanksgiving recipes you are most excited about making in the comments, below.  

Written by:

Dana Gates

310 Nutrition Senior Writer

Dana Gates is a seasoned writer and researcher with over a decade of experience writing about all things health and wellness. Through her articles, she aims to inspire others to live their best, healthiest, and most active lives–by making wise lifestyle and dietary choices daily. Her ultimate goal at 310 [...]

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