Tips to Trim Calories from Thanksgiving Dinner

By: Sue Pasqual

We all have a favorite holiday to spend with friends and family but, let’s face it, that holiday may also bring our favorite not-so-healthy foods.  For me, Thanksgiving is one of them & I believe that’s true for many. But, there is a way to enjoy your holiday favorites and trim a few calories from Thanksgiving dinner!

Trim Calories from Thanksgiving Dinner

The best part of Thanksgiving is the turkey! I guess that’s where the whole saying “stuff yourself like a turkey” comes from.  Thankfully, turkey is a protein that I don’t eat often throughout the year which means it’s the first thing I add to my plate.

So, my first tip to trim calories from Thanksgiving dinner? Start with the healthy stuff! The turkey, salad, veggies (that aren’t loaded with unhealthy fats and cheeses of course), and sweet potatoes. Those are the foods that you are most likely going to see on the table anyway!


Now, let’s talk about how to prepare some foods to trim the calories from Thanksgiving dinners that are normally high-fat, high-sugar and high-carb.

  • If anything calls for cream, cheese or another type of dairy, try fat-free or low fat instead. 
    Those green bean or broccoli casseroles call for a lot of cheese, and this is a great way to enjoy them without sacrificing taste! With all the other seasonings, your guests won’t be able to tell the difference.
  • Cut down on the butter.
    Most recipes will still taste the same even if you use half of the butter the recipe calls for.  I started using grass-fed ghee instead of regular butter and it works perfectly!
  • Swap out the white sugar.
    If you are making “candied” carrots or sweet potatoes, consider a healthier sugar option.  You can use Orange Juice, cinnamon, nutmeg and some pure maple syrup (or maple agave nectar) instead.  Really, you can make ANYTHING into a healthier version!


What if you aren’t the chef and cannot control what is added to any of the foods being served on Thanksgiving Day?  What you can do to trim calories from Thanksgiving is be sure what YOU make is healthy and consistent with your healthy lifestyle. Find a recipe here on the blog or reach out to your Coach for a few ideas, then you’ll have something to fall back on if you’re having trouble navigating the table!


Remember, restriction isn’t the name of the TLS® game! If there are plenty of dishes on the table you want, it’s absolutely okay to try a little of everything.  Just remember to not load up your plate. Try a little of them all and enjoy them in moderation, making sure that the majority of your plate is well-rounded.


Nothing is worse than feeling full, bloated and then getting a stomach ache because you indulged too much! The pie and turkey aren’t going anywhere, so don’t feel like this is a “now or never” experience. Check-in with your body & make sure you’re listening to the signals it’s giving you.

When in doubt, remember the 3 bite rule.  The first bit is always the tastiest, the middle bites are usually mindless eating, and the last bite is the most memorable. Eat mindfully!


Be sure to fit in a workout that day! You will feel great about yourself, keep your body moving, and it can help with digestion, too!



First and foremost, don’t forget what Thanksgiving is all about. Be grateful that you have friends and family to spend your favorite holiday with because, after all, Thanksgiving isn’t really about the food. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!