Easy Ways to Build a Healthy Yet Filling Thanksgiving Dinner

Easy Ways to Build a Healthy Yet Filling Thanksgiving Dinner

Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year and wondering how to provide your guests with a meal that lives up to the holiday expectations without being completely unhealthy? Health may not be everyone’s first priority this November, but giving your guests a healthy and traditional Thanksgiving dinner is possible, and they won’t even know the difference. Here are a few tips on how to make your Thanksgiving meal a healthy and enjoyable one for everyone around your table.


Encourage Activity

Exercising is a great way to make sure your guests have an all-around healthy Thanksgiving. I know what you’re thinking: exercising on Thanksgiving? But I’m not talking about giving everyone a turn on the treadmill or having weights available. Instead, have your guests go to the backyard for a friendly game of touch football or suggest a family walk around the neighborhood. 

This will help them burn off extra calories before they even consume them. Getting everyone off the couch and on their feet could be the key to providing a healthy holiday. Plus, it’ll get them to stop staring at the TV screen and instead, talk to each other and interact.

Start Light

Endless appetizers are often on the menu before Thanksgiving dinner, but then everybody munches on the apps and isn’t hungry once the turkey comes out of the oven! Instead of going appetizer crazy, just put out a few simple snacks before the meal. Choose light snacks that will hold your guests over until dinner is ready and will still taste great. For instance, a festive platter with assorted nuts or fruits would be a great option to keep your guests happy while they are waiting for dinner to be served. Plus, this way you can put all of your focus on the main course.


Avoid Sugar and Fat

When preparing your dishes, try little tips and tricks to lighten them up. For instance, use plain yogurt in dips and mashed potatoes. Cut back on butter whenever possible and try using sugar substitutes instead of real sugar in desserts. Simply switching to a few low-calorie ingredients can make a huge difference and your guests won’t be able to tell the difference. 


Spread Out the Spread 

When setting up all of your food platters for the actual meal, think about not putting everything on the table. Instead, do a buffet style and keep the food in the kitchen. This will help you and your guests limit portion sizes. When the food is right in front of you, you’re more likely to take another, and another spoonful. If you have to get up to refill your plate, you’ll be more likely to think about whether you really want another helping. 

Also, spread out the dishes throughout the kitchen instead of having them all in one spot. Keep some dishes on the stove, some on the counter, and some on the table. Since they won’t all be clumped together, it will be easier to pick and choose what you want seconds of and it’ll be less tempting to just grab a spoonful of everything.


Avoid Alcohol 

You may not be able to change your guests’ intake of alcohol, but you can certainly control your own and offer ways for your guests’ to be healthier about their alcohol consumption. Have water or sparkling water readily available for those who may want a refreshing glass between alcoholic drinks. This will help you and your guests stay hydrated and limit calories. Offer your guests water periodically to help them stay healthier and also sober.

Go for Lighter Desserts

After dinner, everyone is usually stuffed but somehow have room for a few slices of pumpkin pie. When deciding what appetizers you’ll serve, focus on healthier and lighter desserts that will still satisfy your guests’ sweet tooth. Believe it or not, there are ways to make classic Thanksgiving desserts healthier without sacrificing taste. Try a few recipes and watch your guests gobble them up! 



The most important rule of Thanksgiving is to enjoy the day! You’re surrounded by family and friends, so make sure your focus is on the right things. Providing a healthy Thanksgiving meal is a noble task, but at the end of the day, don’t forget to enjoy the company and laughter that your guests provide you with all day long, no matter how many calories you give them.

Kacey Mya Headshot 2.jpg

Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.