How to Stay Healthy on Thanksgiving


Overindulgence is a common Thanksgiving theme. With plates full of carbs, sugars, and gravy, it is easy to veer off your normal diet and overeat. The good news is, you don’t have to fall victim this year. Instead, follow our tips about how to stay healthy on Thanksgiving.

Instead of the bird bathed in butter …
This herb-roasted turkey comes highly rated and doesn’t call for any butter in the recipe.  Or, if you prefer a vegetarian option, make these wild-rice-stuffed butternut squash. With ingredients like cinnamon powder, dried cherries, and fresh sage, this recipe may make the holiday a vegetarian feast every year.

Instead of sweet potato casserole …
Make these roasted sweet potatoes with honey and cinnamon. You’ll get the same flavor, without the calories. You can top the dish with chopped pecans to give a crunch that resembles the typical topping of a sweet potato casserole.

Instead of mashed potatoes …
Swap the butter for olive oil, put down the potato masher, and forget about having to add boil potatoes to your Thanksgiving to-do list. These red potatoes are diced up and placed on a baking sheet with rosemary, garlic, and salt before baking.

Instead of canned cranberry sauce …
Make your own. Cranberry sauce is really easy to make. Plus, the sauce will turn out flavorful and fresh instead of … wiggly. An added bonus: you can make this side the night before.

Instead of high-calorie stuffing …
Try subbing out the carbs for cauliflower. This recipe is made on the stove, so it’s one less item to have to worry about juggling the cook time along with the turkey in the oven. With the additions of carrots, onions, and mushrooms — the concoction is a vegetable medley that tastes more like stuffing, which we call a win-win.

Instead of creamed green beans …
Get a whole bunch of fresh green beans to make this recipe. Chop up some mushrooms and red onion. Toss in some olive oil and place in the oven for 15 minutes. While it’s cooking, sauté up some bread crumbs with oregano. Add in parmesan and a zest of a lemon. Top the green beans with the breadcrumb mixture and serve!

Instead of a regular pumpkin pie …
This savvy baker manages to add delights like whipped cream to her pumpkin pie while still offering a recipe with less fat and calories and the addition of some protein. For best results, make the night before; it will be one less thing to have to add to the oven the day of and you’ll achieve much cleaner cuts.

Think about the plate
Sure, those potatoes look good and cranberry sauce is one of those things you can only have during the holidays, but if you’re really trying to have a healthy Thanksgiving you need to know what a healthy Thanksgiving plate looks like.

A good rule of thumb is to think about your plate this way:

  • ½ of the plate should have veggies
  • ¼ of the plate is for protein
  • ¼ of the place is for starches

For the remaining bits, like cranberry sauce and gravy — which we think should be enjoyed full calorie — you should have very small servings. Think of them as garnishes.

We hope you now know how to stay healthy on Thanksgiving. If you find pain is getting in the way of you enjoying your holiday, let’s fix that. Schedule an appointment with our physical therapy clinic today.


Foothills Sports Medicine Physical Therapy