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Week 2: Holiday Survival Eating Challenge: Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving

Posted Nov 17 2008 7:02pm

If you started the Holiday Challenge on November 10 th, record your weight for Week 2. Did you use the or another method to write what you ate and reduce the amount 100-200 calories each day? Sometimes this is challenging to do! Some steps that have worked for me to prevent hunger include lots of salads and soups to fill me up in addition to eating a lot of other veggies each which are only about 25 calories each. I have also been drinking lots of hot tea which is also tip that works for me to eat less. Making sure that you drink an adequate amount water is also helpful. If you are new to the challenge, get started by recording your weight and reading this week’s blog entry. It is never too late to get started for the Holiday Eating Challenge!


This week, we are focusing on Healthy Thanksgiving Tips. Plan ahead and make this year the healthiest Thanksgiving that you ever had, whether you prepare the meal, come as a guest or go to a restaurant. Did you know that a typical Thanksgiving Dinner adds up to about 2000 calories or more and that is without second helpings.


Here are a few tips to help you stay within a reasonable range this Thanksgiving:


  1. Make half the plate veggies. Fill up on salads, low calorie soups and vegetable trays. This may prevent you from going back for several plate-fulls of the Thanksgiving spread.
  2. Challenge yourself to prepare a colorful plate with green veggies or salad, orange sweet potato, carrots or squash and purple cranberries.  
  3. Familiarize yourself with portion sizes of food. A meat serving is 3 ounces which is the size of a deck of cards and mashed potatoes, dressing/stuffing, corn, peas, sweet potatoes are 1/2c cup each. Fruits and vegetables are about ½ cup each. A serving of butter/tub margarine is 1 teaspoon and a serving of salad dressing or gravy is one tablespoon.
  4. Lighten up your traditional recipes by trying some of these healthy substitutions:


Instead of:                                     Try:


Cream Cheese                                    Low Fat Cream Cheese


Cream                                                   Evaporated skim                                                                                             milk


Oil in marinade                                 citrus juice,                                                                                                        flavored vinegar


Oil or butter for                                Chicken or  

sauté’                                                    vegetable broth


Nuts                                                      Try ½-3/4 of                                                                                                      amount


2 oz. grated mild                               1 oz. reduced fat

cheddar                                               sharp cheddar


Bacon                                                    Canadian bacon



Ground beef                                       Ground turkey breast,

                                                               Sirloin or vegetarian soy



Instead of:                                                       Try:


1 oz baking chocolate                                      3-4 TB cocoa powder

                                                                                + 1 TB oil (for frosting

                                                                                & sauces), ¼ c. cocoa

                                                                                (for cakes & cookies)


1 egg                                                                       2 egg whites or ¼ cup

                                                                                liquid egg substitute


1/2 c. butter or margarine                              ½ c. applesauce or

                                                                                Prune puree or ¼ c.                                                                                  margarine with ¼ c.



Sweetened condensed milk                          low fat/fat free                                                                                                 condensed milk


Pastry pie crust                                                 phyllo crust, graham                                                                                  cracker crust


Sour cream                                                           low fat or yogurt


1 c. chocolate chips                                           ½ c. mini chips


Cake frosting                                                       sliced fruit or sauce,                                                                                  light dusting of                                                                                                powdered sugar









5. If you are preparing the meal and are in the process of planning your recipes, here are a few healthy suggestions that you might enjoy:


Healthy Thanksgiving Menu Ideas:


Turkey Fixed Your Way:


Check out this website for everything that you need to know about fixing a turkey. It also has some great recipes to go along with it.



For those of you who want a turkey free Thanksgiving, check out Vegetarian Times at:





Here are some great side ideas to go with your meal:


Healthy Cornbread Stuffing


Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Garlic and Rosemary


Sweet Potato Casserole


Herbed Pan Gravy


Green Beans with Shallots


Spinach Salad with a Mustard Vinaigrette 



For traditional cranberry sauce or something a little different such as cranberry chutney, check out



To top off your meal whether it is traditional pumpkin pie or an updated version of either Frozen pumpkin mousse pie or Marble Pumpkin Cheesecake


Need som

Need some good side ideas to bring when you are a guest? Check out:


Check out Week 3 as we explore going out to eat during the holidays. Keep up the good work!




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