Healthy Thanksgiving ... Seriously??

Thanksgiving is next week and our family has already begun salivating over the thoughts of pumpkin pies, yeast rolls, yummy casseroles and of course .... THE TURKEY & DRESSING (it's a southern thing) lol.  But then I received these tips about how to have a healthy Thanksgiving and my dreaming came to a halt ... oh yeah ... we're on a family health kick ... hmmmm..

Here are the tips I received:

Ten Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving from the Alliance for a Healthier Generation


(NEW YORK) November 16, 2009 –  Thanksgiving provides the perfect opportunity to make healthier choices for your family meal. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, suggests the following tips to ensure a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving meal:


1.      Start small: When it comes to Thanksgiving, the biggest concern is not just WHAT you are eating, but HOW MUCH of it you are eating. Aim to have small portions of those foods that are high in calories such as casseroles and desserts while filling up on lighter fare such as vegetables and lean turkey.


2.      Talk turkey: Turkey is a great source of lean protein and is healthiest if you skip the skin and go for the white meat. If you prefer the dark meat, mix and match in order to get a little extra flavor without adding too much fat.


3.      Be sweet on sweet potatoes: Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber that can make a tasty side dish or dessert. A healthy way to cook them is to cut them in half, sprinkle with orange juice and a little brown sugar, and pop them into the oven.


4.      Kick the canned cranberry: Cranberries are packed with antioxidants that can help keep you healthy. Unfortunately, canned cranberry sauce is often also packed with sugar and calories you don’t need. Try making your own by mashing fresh cranberries with a generous splash of balsamic vinegar or apple juice concentrate.


5.      Pick a pumpkin: Pumpkin is low in fat, low in calories, and loaded with potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Make pumpkin pies with canned, evaporated fat-free milk, half the amount of sugar in the recipe, a graham cracker crust, and light or fat free whipped topping for a light and tasty dessert.


6.      Stuff with more veggies and less bread: Opt for less bread in your stuffing and add more onions, celery, vegetables, or fruits such as dried cranberries or apples to make a lower calorie version of the old stand by. Try using whole wheat bread to make it an even healthier option.


7.      Go fruity!: Baked apples or poached pears are perfect, light ways to end any autumn meal.


8.      Avoid greasy gravy: Use a fat separator or refrigerate the pan juices and skim the fat before making the gravy. This can cut out a significant amount of fat.


9.      Sacrifice fat, not flavor:  Use low-fat buttermilk or low-sodium chicken stock in place of cream or whole milk in dishes like mashed potatoes, whipped sweet potatoes, or butternut squash. You’ll achieve a creamy consistency and loads a flavor, minus the unnecessary fat and calories.


10.     Steam and mash: Try sneaking in more low calorie vegetables by mashing or pureeing steamed or boiled cauliflower with low-fat milk. It’s a flavorful substitute for mashed potatoes and can help balance an otherwise potato-rich meal!


BONUS!  Veg out:  Fall veggies such as squash and green beans are great side dishes that can add color and variety to the meal without adding too many extra calories.



About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit:

Ok, so it's not SO bad ... these are DOABLE things to help us not totally loose our fitness momentum. So I guess we will give it a try. It is all for the end goal of being fit and living healthier, right?

I like how these tips are things you can actually do! They don't tell you that you can't have those favorite foods - because we all know that won't work! They just remind you to enjoy the food but keep it manageable.

What do you think? Comment and share your "can't resist" Thanksgiving foods and whether or not you'll use any of these healthy tips this Thanksgiving.


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