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Make Thanksgiving Dinner a Healthy Holiday Meal

By Nicole Hessels, Uptown General Manager, YWCA of Minneapolis
November 21, 2013
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It is often hard to maintain all of your healthy habits during the holidays, but a few simple tricks may keep you on track, especially since the average Thanksgiving meal contains more than 3,200 calories!

Here are a few of my quick tips:

  • Ask family members to make a healthy version of their traditional dish.
  • Fill your plate with extra greens and turkey.
  • Skip the alcohol.
  • Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Sweet potatoes are a better choice than white potatoes, as long as they are not filled with butter and added sugar.
  • If you are having rolls or bread with your dinner, think about skipping stuffing or dessert.

Personally, I would skip the bread and stuffing and choose the pumpkin pie, because it is my favorite! Just eliminating two carbohydrates from your meal will save you more than 600 calories.

Here’s a breakdown of some popular dinner items:

  • Pumpkin Pie: 343 calories
  • Dinner Roll with butter: 300 calories
  • Stuffing: 320 calories

A sensible Thanksgiving dinner plate:

  • Turkey (white meat): 300 calories
  • Mixed greens with lite dressing: 120 calories
  • Sweet potatoes: 200 calories
  • Cranberries: 100 calories
  • Total: 840 calories

While not always easy, just making a few adjustments here and there can make a big difference in how much you eat!


For more ways on how to eat right throughout the whole year, the YWCA of Minneapolis offers Nutritional Counseling sessions. Learn more about our services.