Thanksgiving meme

American Thanksgiving is just around the bend, and for many people, it invokes a bit of anxiety. “I don’t want to gain weight”, “How do I eat healthy foods when all these temptations are right in front of me?”, “I already feel fat and sluggish, this is going to make me feel worse”, and so on….

Our brains automatically zoom in on how “fattening “ Thanksgiving meals are, but we don’t often think about how much sugar is hidden in these meals. Armed with some basic information about where these sugars are hidden you can at least make healthier choices for yourself and your family from the beginning.Sugar Stacks are a quick and easy visual reference guide to hidden sugars in Thanksgiving meals. It will definitely make you think about what you prepare and what you eat.

Family Enjoying Thanksgiving

If you are a guest at someone else’s meal, you can still try and make “healthier” choices. Perhaps you contribute by making your own cranberry sauce with very little sugar or sugar substitute, or make a homemade stuffing instead of a packaged one. Healthy vegetable dishes are missing from a lot of Thanksgiving dinner tables. Prepare a big salad with homemade dressing, or roasted vegetables, or steamed veggies, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts, or try the green bean casserole dish that we share below.

Dessert is a tough one to say “no” to for most people. While there are some people who really do not like sweets, let’s face it, most of us do. Try not to guilt yourself if you do indulge in tasty desserts, but, as we demonstrate in our pumpkin pie recipe, even desserts can be low sugar, and still taste delicious.

Here are a few basic tips for not overdoing the calories from hidden sugars:

  1. Use sugar substitutes such as Stevia in baked goods. There are many recipes now that incorporate these substitutes.
  1. Limit your sweets. Yes, there is no need to have 4 pieces of pumpkin pie, even if it is a low-sugar variety.
  1. Load up on veggies that are not baked with added sweets. Beware of those sweet potato casseroles! Salads are a great addition to Thanksgiving dinner.
  1. Eat earlier in the day. Not eating all day to save up for the big meal is a great way to sabotage your healthy holiday goals. You will inevitably end up with low blood sugar by the time the big meal comes around and overeat to bring that blood sugar back up.

    alcoholic beverage
    Alcoholic Drink
  1. Limit your alcohol.   It is no secret that alcoholic beverages have sugar in them. Avoid or limit those sweet holiday drinks, like hot buttered rum, and follow each alcoholic beverage with a big glass of water.
  1. Get some exercise. Exercising often helps us manage our appetites. Beware though, of overeating because you feel like you deserve it since you burned extra calories. It is easy to falsely rationalize that you can have an extra piece of pumpkin pie because you walked for an hour. Remember that you will likely still be adding more calories than your average day simply because this is a holiday.

Remember, Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate and be thankful for what you have. With some careful planning and preparation, you can dump the guilt about overdoing it and really get down to the positive parts of the holiday!

We have found a few recipes for lowering the sugar in your holiday meal.  Check them out:

Green bean casserole

Green bean casseroles are common on the Thanksgiving dinner table. The author explains how to cut calories and make your own sauce.  Making your own sauce vs. using canned soup, for example, gives you much more control over how healthy your casserole is. We recommend using fresh veggies, when possible.

Sugarless cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce is so easy to make.  With this recipe, you add a splash of pineapple or orange juice for a delightful flavor.

squash soup
Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup

We found this wonderful recipe for a delicious creamy and rich soup by Wellness Mama.

It shouldn’t take you much more than 40 minutes to prepare and your family and guests will love you for it!

Here is a wonderful Pear and Fennel Salad by Love & Lemons.  Yum!  Simple and so healthy.

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie

By substituting a pecan crust for a typical pie crust, you eliminate a lot of “hidden sugars” in this favorite Thanksgiving dessert.  Be sure and freeze your pecans before you make the crust.

We hope that you have a fantastic and rewarding Thanksgiving!

Meme´s photo copyright: kotiskin / 123RF Stock Photo (Meme was made by

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1 Comment on How To Prepare For A Healthy Thanksgiving

  1. Thanks for the recipes. I am looking forward to trying the cranberry sauce as I love a TART taste for this dish. Also, I noticed that the butternut squash recipe called for coconut milk, to lessen the calories even more you can use a low fat version of it. Still tastes divine too. Happy holidays!

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