What to Put on Your Plate This Thanksgiving | The Kewl Blog

What to Put on Your Plate This Thanksgiving

Posted on November 12 2016

healthy eating at thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a day for feasting—from the traditional stuffed turkey to special family recipes; it is a time we all enjoy the most delicious foods without paying much heed to calories. Sticking to your diet when the entire family is gathered around the table with tempting aromas wafting up your nose may not be an achievable task. But like always we have some tips on how to mingle and enjoy your temporary foray into being a foodie.

Here are some tips on what to avoid putting on your plate and how to partake of slightly healthier food when you sit down for dinner this year.

For tips on how to survive holiday splurging with your waistline intact read our guide here

Thanksgiving Dishes to Avoid

Resisting the temptation of digging into everything in sight while chatting away with extended family is indeed difficult. If you regularly hit the gym and make healthy food choices, binging on unhealthy, fatty food suddenly may impact your health.

These foods are also known to give you energy crashes, stubborn belly fat, and in some cases bad skin. Here are the top foods to avoid on most Thanksgiving tables. 


Thanksgiving Turkey stuffing may contain 500 calories in a single serving

Yes, we know— the beauty of every Thanksgiving turkey lies in its stuffing. But give stuffing a miss if you do not want to pile on unhealthy carbs and calories. This holiday staple usually consists of loads of bread, meat, processed meat (like sausage), and spices. Things that do not do much good for your health or curves. In fact, some fattier versions of the turkey stuffing may contain up to 500 calories in a single serving. So, leave the stuffing alone and instead enjoy the actual turkey.

Deep-fried turkey

When it comes to the quintessential Thanksgiving turkey, not every preparation is healthy. For most of us, Thanksgiving memories comprise feasting on the traditional roasted version, but recently there has been a trend of people serving deep-fried turkey during the holiday dinner. It may sound appetizing, but it cannot be recommended for anyone who wants to keep the consumption of unhealthy carbs to a minimum. 

No deep-fried food is healthy, and the same goes for turkey. The longer it is fried, the more fat content it absorbs. A deep-fried turkey can be termed as anything but healthy food. If you absolutely cannot refuse, go for a tiny portion or peel off the fried skin and enjoy the white meat portions.


Thanksgiving bread have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels

Dinner rolls, bread pudding, and other varieties of bread are a regular feature for Thanksgiving meals. But store-bought or white breads are best avoided. Combined with dollops of butter, these breads not only add a significant number of calories, but can also have a negative effect on your blood sugar levels. So stay away from bread as much as possible, and try some healthy veggies or fruit salads  instead. 


Another traditional side dish, the gravy usually consists of juices and fats derived from the turkey drippings to which cornstarch or flour is added to achieve the right consistency. One serving of gravy contains more fat than you probably should be eating for an entire 3 days!

If the gravy has been prepared from a store-bought packet, it can also contain high amounts of sodium and other additives. So when the gravy boat is passed to you, drizzle just a bit on top instead of going for several spoonfuls.

Recommended Thanksgiving Dinner Choices

So many wonderful items under the ‘unhealthy’ list may sound like there is barely anything for you to enjoy at the Thanksgiving table this year. The good news is that you can enjoy some delicious vegetables, which are also part of the typical holiday meal. Take a look at theses vegetables you need to put on your plate and their health benefits.

Kale or Greens

Eating kale prevents oxidative damage and protects your eyes as well

You probably already know this, kale and greens are green leafy vegetable filled with several antioxidant vitamins and other nutrients like iron and calcium. You can have that yummy salad full of kale leaves. It is not only delicious, but will also leave you feeling much lighter than a meal full of fatty items. As for calories, cooked kale contains just about 33 per cup.

It has been found that eating kale prevents oxidative damage and protects your eyes as well. You can also serve kale chips as a healthy, yummy appetizer if you want to prepare something other than the salad.

Cruciferous vegetables

Cruciferous veggies include bok choy, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts. Such veggies are known to be sources of essential nutrients (including folic acid and Vitamins A and C). They also have disease-fighting properties, so do not shy away from munching on these tasty treats. However, refrain from coating them with butter before you eat. Instead, consider roasting them in the oven with a sprinkle of olive oil and salt and pepper.


Pumpkin Pie is rich in fiber and Vitamin A

Who can resist a tempting pumpkin pie during the holiday season?  Pumpkin is easy to cook and yummy to eat, in addition to being rich in fiber and Vitamin A. These characteristics of pumpkin make it ideal for promoting healthy digestion and vision. Pumpkin is also lower in calorie count than most other dishes at the table, so go ahead and take a slice. Just remember not to overeat.


Beets help your body deliver oxygen to your blood and muscles

Rich in dietary nitrates, beets help your body to deliver oxygen and blood to your muscles. It is a vegetable particularly good for the athletes in your family as well. This is because your body converts the nitrates to nitrites and can boost energy while running or during other exercises.

What to Remember This Thanksgiving  

So now that you know what to eat and what to avoid, choosing the right things at Thanksgiving dinner will be easier. Here are some additional pointers that can help reduce the chances of gaining holiday weight.

Do not skip breakfast

A lot of people believe that not eating breakfast on Thanksgiving morning reduces the damage from all the feasting at dinner, but that is not how the whole calorie count thing works. Instead, start the day with a healthy meal comprising foods like healthy veggies, an omelet made of egg whites, and whole-grain cereal. This jump starts your metabolism and prepares it for dinner.

Eat slow

While enjoying a big Thanksgiving dinner, eat slowly and savor every bite to enjoy the meal and feel fuller with lesser quantities. Remember to put your fork down between every bite and talk to others. This is an effective trick when you are trying to watch your quantity and eating speed. Foods that have high quantities of water like soups, vegetables, and fruits help you feel fuller and prevent overeating.

Keep an eye on your portions

It is easy to get carried away by conversations and not realize how much you are actually eating. But ensure that you police your meal portions. Take time to look at the buffet table before you start filling your plate so that you pick the right foods and quantities. Also, try and resist the temptation to go for second helpings in one sitting.

Limit your alcohol intake

We often forget that alcohol and other beverages have calories too, and these can add up rather quick. So try to keep your alcoholic drinks to a minimum and instead go for some good old water to stay fresh and hydrated.

Eat turkey...lots of turkey

It is Thanksgiving, and you cannot be rude to the host by refusing the painstakingly-prepared turkey. Do not worry, there is a way around it. Choose slices of turkey breast. Turkey breast is a more lean option than legs and thighs.

Add to your plate strategically

Every Thanksgiving dinner offers you tons of food options. This gives you the advantage of choosing the more lean options. Opt for lean proteins and vegetables. Avoid sweets, fried foods, and stuffings.

Choose one starch

Starch-rich foods will be aplenty on the table, but resist the temptation to load everything on your plate if you do not want to send your blood sugar level skyrocketing. Instead, choose one starch item like macaroni and cheese, fried appetizers, or mashed potatoes. Although these are not the healthiest food options, you can surely make the best out of the situation by choosing just one.

Prepare dishes with healthy alternatives

If you are the host for Thanksgiving dinner prepare the food with healthy alternatives. Consider using less sugar and fats or simply choose some alternatives. Being mindful of the use of oil and butter. Removing these fats does not always compromise on the taste. Your guests will appreciate the more healthy and balanced food. Plain yogurt, fat-free broth, and healthier substitutes for sugar are a few ways in which you can make Thanksgiving dishes healthier and tasty.  

We are not asking you to give Thanksgiving dinner a miss. We all love this time of year spent with family and friends. But giving your plate a second look this year will ensure that losing your holiday pounds is not on your list of new year resolutions.  

Happy Thanksgiving Kewl Girls. We love being apart of your kewl.

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