I have had Thanksgivings where I probably did consume nearly 4500 calories from the minute I woke up to the time I went to bed, which is the average number American’s consume on T-Day. I would like to hope that is not true since I started this blog but I am not someone that is going to give up stuffing or pie. I think Thanksgiving is one of 2 days out of the year I actually eat stuffing, candied sweet potatoes and pie to be honest. I’m not going to give them up. I’ll just cut corners in other places to avoid feeling disgusting.
Here are 10 ways you can have a healthier Thanksgiving while still enjoying your favorites:
- Skip the butter. Roast your veggies with non-stick spray to save on fat and calories without missing taste. You can always add more salt and pepper which usually does the trick.
- Splurge on your protein and get the free range organic bird. Yes it’s more expensive, but it’s once a year! Vote with your dollar and support animal rights, reduce your risk of salmonella, avoid the antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides, and added hormones. I think it also tastes better.
- Instead of gravy, try some homemade pesto. Literally, gravy is the fat that melted off the bird. Simply put, it’s like drizzling grease with butter and flour for taste/texture over a plate of somewhat healthful food. I love this kale pesto recipe as an alternative.
- Lighten up your mashed potatoes by making it half cauliflower/half russet potato. Skip the cream, and halve the butter you usually use. Try adding flavor with Greek yogurt which has extra protein and less fat as well as. Use fresh herbs like chives and spices for extra flavor.
- Better yet, avoid the white potatoes all together and stick with roasted sweet potatoes – not the candied kind, although I love those too. You avoid the dilemma of asking if the mashed potatoes are made with cream and butter or causing uncle Aldo to get pissy for messing with his favorite childhood recipe. Pick what you think is worth the splurge. Would you rather run 2 miles and eat the candied sweet potatoes or are they not worth it to you? Pick your treats. Stuffing is mine.
- Avoid boxed anything! You have a freaking year to prepare. Don’t be lazy. The #1 packages to avoid are canned cranberry sauce and stuffing. Did you know 1/4 cup of cranberry sauce has 21g of sugar in it!? Here is a great homemade Paleo stuffing recipe that is gluten free too. You can also go the traditional DIY route by using whole grain bread or quinoa which is a good source of magnesium, potassium and zinc. White bread is low in nutrients. Do we really need more white carbs anyway???
- Skip the sugary drinks and have a wine spritzer! I love spritzers. Mix 1 part white wine, 1 part sparkling soda. Alcohol can make you think your are hungry when you really you are not at all so go easy on the booze.
- Skip pecan pie for pumpkin pie. Better yet, bake your own and bring it with you. Try making it with a gluten free crust or bring a homemade apple crisp with low sugar granola alternative topping.
- Make your own cranberry sauce! I said it above but ¼ cup of the canned stuff has 21g of sugar! What a waste of sugar calories, right?!
- Appetizers – choose wisely. Skip full fat dips. Be choosey. Try everything once if you must and stick with what you truly love. Save your appetite for dinner!
Exercise on Turkey Day
Also, I always exercise 4 out of the 5 days during the week of Thanksgiving. This means if you take Thanksgiving off, you better make sure you get your ass to the gym on Friday. Traveling on Wednesday? Get your exercise in on Thanksgiving.
Sometimes I take Thanksgiving off because I’m too hungover from Wednesday night. It is one of the most popular nights to go out after all… Don’t judge. If I survive, I usually go for a long run. I never have a turkey trot conveniently near my Thanksgiving dinner and I’d rather run 5 or 6 miles if I feel good than just a 5K.
I get that the 5K’s are family friendly and I’ll be grateful for them when I am a mom but right now, I’d like some longer distance races on Thursday morning. Anyone else?
Here is a special Black Friday workout I shot 2 years ago featuring a kick ass 15 minute full length workout. I also have a 10 minute cardio Damage Control HIIT video coming out next week! Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for notification when it goes live.
Sam @ PancakeWarriors says
Love love love! I think boxes anything is a waste! Same with canned cranberry. This is the time to take a few minutes to make it from scratch. Also Id add cut the sugar 1/4 cup. Bet you don’t even miss it!
Ashley @ A Lady Goes West says
Good tips! I’m planning to run a little Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning and will use those endorphins to help me make smart (ish) choices all day. But wine and pumpkin pie are a must … a must!
Daisy @ Fit Wanderlust Runner says
Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing. The holidays are always hard so always grateful for tips around this time of the year.
Lauren @ The Bikini Experiment says
Wine and pie are must haves for me! I usually always do some form of exercise in the morning before eating the big meal though and I just try not to go crazy!
Jess @hellotofit says
These are great tips, love the idea for pesto instead of gravy!!
I love this! The title automatically made me smile. Nonstick spray is my bee eff eff 100% of the time, but this post will definitely help me make some delicious dishes that i can eat for our office potluck. Thanks!!
Livi @ Eat, Pray, Work It Out says
I love the idea of using pesto instead of gravy. Ive never had gravy, but I know pesto would be a delicious substitute and I might even be able to convince my family to trade their gravy in too!
Ri Bud says
One more tip for your tipbox -- don’t skip on salads for the Thanksgiving table.
Veggies go great with the turkey -- and they are a nice healthy alternative side vs. stuffing.
Try a three-bean salad with red onions and parsley -- rich in protein and low in fat.
Hey Sarah, loved this video. Can you do one with x-mas gift ideas for fitness lovers?