Healthy Thanksgiving


“Always have an attitude of gratitude.” – Sterling K. Brown

While this sentiment is an excellent concept to live by, Thanksgiving is a day to truly focus on gratitude for all the things we have. Taking time out on Thanksgiving to appreciate even the little things is a wonderful opportunity to refocus our priorities and shift our mindset. But, Thanksgiving is also known for food, family, and often starting those Black Friday shopping excursions early. Tomorrow’s blog will focus on Black Friday, but for today we are going to offer some ideas on how to make this Thanksgiving a truly Healthy Thanksgiving.

Healthy Food

First, let’s look at healthy food options! Let’s be honest, my stomach is already growling just thinking about the delicious Thanksgiving dinner coming up in a few weeks!

  • Roasting that turkey is the healthiest way to eat it and skipping the butter under the skin makes it even more so! Also, consider using fresh herbs for seasoning to keep the flavor high and the sodium content low
  • Rather than mashed potatoes, try baked sweet potatoes (in lieu of the usual sweet potato casserole as well!), mashed cauliflower, or vegan mashed potatoes from Delish!
  • Try a healthier version of the traditional green bean casserole with low-fat milk instead of soup in a can from Food Network! They also have a gluten free stuffing option!
  • For dessert, you can opt for several healthier options to the traditional foods like Better-For-You Pecan Pie, Healthy Pumpkin Pie Bars, or a Cranberry-Pear Lattice Pie from Women’s Health!

Healthy Activities

Next, here are some COVID-friendly family activities for Turkey Day!

  • Watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade! A long-standing tradition for so many families was modified last year, but the show goes on!
  • Create a Thanksgiving playlist! While cooking some of the recipes above, dance along to some Thanksgiving-themed tunes! Country Bumpkin by Cal Smith is a personal favorite and you can even branch out to food-related songs like Wild Honey Pie by The Beatles or family-focused songs like Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors. So many options to get your family dancing!
  • Decorate the house! Create a Gratitude Board, a leaf garland, a pinecone door hanging or another idea from a list like this one from!
  • And, if you need to social distance and can’t have the traditional big family gathering, gather virtually! With so many video platforms these days, using Google Duo or Skype to share your meal with extended family can be a great way to bring the family together safely

Healthy Ways to Give Back

Finally, one of the best activities to participate in for Thanksgiving, if you are able, is charity work! Here are a few ideas of how you can give back and give others something to be thankful for!

  • Take your cookie exchange to the next level! Work together with friends and family to make a few batches of cookies each and then donate them to local food banks or shelters for others to enjoy
  • Write a note or card to people who will pick up items from the food banks or people in shelters. Give them some encouragement, let them know they are loved and cared about, and hopefully put a smile on their faces
  • Because of COVID, some food banks, soup kitchens, or shelters may have additional precautions in place, so reach out to them and learn the requirements ahead of time. But, reach out to them and see what you CAN do, even if you can’t work a shift. Most local organizations have come up with new ideas for how people can give back and, because of the COVID restrictions, they may need more help now than ever!

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