Photos ©2016 Palette Group

Thanksgiving can be all about bingeing but I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be! My idea of Thanksgiving is indulging on a few items, putting some family favorites on my plate and making sure I have dessert. Think about what your absolute favorite dish is at Thanksgiving. Now think about what your least favorite is. Why eat something that’s not at the top of your list? 

Whoever hosts Thanksgiving is also generally in charge of food. My advice for parties and tailgates applies to this too: bring a healthy dish that you know will provide you with some nutrients other than carb heavy Thanksgiving dishes. Bring a fresh salad, some roasted Brussels sprouts or a light dessert with fruit. Think outside the box!

Here’s a Glance of  What a Dietitian’s Ideal Thanksgiving Looks Like:

  • Dietitian's Ideal ThanksgivingButternut Squash Soup or other vegetable based dish as a starter. This gets my vegetable consumption started.
  • Turkey (duh) I tend to go for the light meat. This should be a majority of your meal with plenty of protein!
  • Stuffing which I try to skip… Too many carbs and not my favorite dish.
  • Roasted Potatoes with Dijon mustard. On occasion, we have mashed potatoes. I know, not traditional.
  • My grandmothers Sweet Potato Casserole. Marshmallows on top and lots of brown sugar.
  • My grandmothers Classic Macaroni Salad (find the updated recipe).
  • A fresh salad to put something crunchy and refreshing on my plate.
  • Pumpkin pie, apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Traditional desserts that are always tasty.

Remember the holidays are a time for family, food, and drinks but you don’t have to let it ruin your diet or get you off track! Pick your favorites, remember portion sizes and have a good time. Your plate should be: half vegetable dishes, a quarter carb-heavy sides, and a quarter protein. That doesn’t mean you can’t go back for seconds! Find a fun new healthy recipe to bring to Thanksgiving this year and impress your family.