Thanksgiving is often associated with plates overflowing with our favorite foods. Often our Thanksgiving feasts can leave us with a sickening feeling in our stomachs, but Thanksgiving meals don’t need to be so bad for us! There are plenty of ways to stay healthy this holiday season while still enjoying our favorite treats! 

    Everyone loves a good Thanksgiving turkey. It’s impossible to imagine a holiday meal without it. Turkey is usually one of the healthiest foods on our Thanksgiving tables, so if you need to go back for a second helping of a dish, turkey is the best choice! Turkey is an excellent source of protein, and since your body can not store protein, you need to consume it every day, and Thanksgiving is no exception! Some studies also show that by eating foods with selenium in them, like turkey, you can reduce your risk of getting some types of cancer. If you want to be extra healthy, you should go for the light meat instead of the dark meat if you can, and try not to drown the poor bird in gravy. I’m sure you’ll enjoy the natural taste of turkey by itself if you only give it a chance.     

    It’s very tempting to stuff ourselves full of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but it’s essential to remember that mashed potatoes are very filling. They don’t have to be so unhealthy, though. Be mindful of the amount of butter, cream cheese, and other ingredients in your mashed potato recipe, and search for alternatives on the internet. If you want to be a health food superstar this holiday season, you can always trade out the mashed potatoes for something like mashed cauliflower. I have attached a link to a recipe at the bottom of this article if you would like to try it out. 

    Stuffing is the favorite side dish for many Americans, but it is primarily butter, salt, and bread. Although this is a very unhealthy dish, there are some ways to make your heart happy as well as your taste buds! Since stuffing usually calls for a significant amount of salt, try using unsalted butter and unsalted broth. Salting your stuffing or any other food at the table isn’t necessary since most Thanksgiving dishes already contain a lot of salt. If you're feeling experimental and want to add some nutritional value to your stuffing recipe, add some of your favorite chopped vegetables, like corn, carrots, or celery! 

Without changing any recipes on Thanksgiving, there are a few general ideas to keep in mind. Portion sizes are critical when it comes to big meals. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to try a bit of everything, but many platefuls of food won’t make you any happier than one portion-sized serving of each. For your stomach to digest food and your brain to process that you are full, it takes about thirty minutes, so before going back for seconds, take some time to enjoy the people around you. After all, Thanksgiving isn’t about the food; it’s about being grateful for the people and things that we are so blessed to have in our lives.