Eat Well

Healthy Thanksgiving Hacks

Nov 25, 2015

By Kristin Kessler, Registered Dietitian

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time for fun, family, and food indulgence. Traditional Thanksgiving comfort foods like mashed potatoes and pie may be great for sentimental effect, but they aren’t great for the waistline. Try these healthy hacks to lighten up Turkey Day while still ensuring a happy, memorable meal for all.

Lighten Up Favorites

Thanksgiving comes just once a year, so this is not the time to forgo your favorite casserole or dessert! Instead, make just a few recipe modifications to cut down on the calories, fat, and/or sugar and create a “healthified” version. Swap butter with yogurt or cottage cheese, refined grains with whole grains (think: white rice versus brown rice or white bread versus whole wheat bread), and bake those previously fried recipes. Experiment with this Green Bean & Wild Rice Casserole, featuring Libby’s® French Style Green Beans. Cream of celery soup stands in for traditional cheese and butter, keeping the dish light, yet flavorful.

BYOHD (Bring Your Own Healthy Dish)

Curb overindulgence at Thanksgiving potlucks by contributing your finest go-to veggie or fruit-filled dish. That way, you know there will be at least one guilt-free option to lean on. This Carrot and Beet Salad (made with Libby’s® Sliced Carrots and Sliced Beets) makes a colorful, nutrient-rich addition alongside your favorite indulgences.

Make Like A Turkey and Trot


Let this Thanksgiving be about more than just food! Start the day with a brisk walk around the block to get your blood flowing and appetite revved. Then, remain mobile throughout the feast by pausing for mini stretch breaks in between courses. After you’ve filled up on food, ditch the usual turkey-induced nap and instead rally the group for a friendly game of flag football (once you’ve fully digested, of course.) 🙂