5 Need-to-Know Tips for Keeping You Sensible on Thanksgiving

It's Thanksgiving already? What!? My how time sure flies! This will be my first Thanksgiving as a "non-meat eater", and the thought of not eating turkey on Thanksgiving is still so foreign to me. Growing up, we are subconsciously taught that turkey is the center of this holiday feast, so it will be interesting to see how I handle myself when I'm in the moment tomorrow sitting around the table with all my meat-eating relatives. I will admit though, that I don't really miss eating meat at all, so I'm pretty certain I will be able to stick with my usual plant based eating pattern.

This week's blog post is written by my dietetic intern, Rachael, who just happens to be vegetarian! What are the chances! She has put together some great tips that I know you guys will love, for helping you stay sensible during the big feast. Check out her post below!


With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, it marks the beginning of yet another fun and food filled holiday season! The weather just keeps getting colder up here in the northeast and the days are growing shorter and shorter. For me, this season screams warm mugs of tea, big batches of homemade bean and lentil soups, and of course, many nourishing holiday meals. Since becoming a vegetarian about six years ago, I have lots of experience finding those vegetables at every holiday meal, no matter where I end up! My Thanksgiving favorites are things like roasted squash and sweet potato with a drizzle of olive oil and tons of spices, roasted root vegetables like carrots, beets, and parsnips, and a new favorite this season is a plant based shepherd’s pie with a creamy and dreamy sweet potato topping. If you ask me, Thanksgiving does not have to be centered on turkey, you can always find tons of colorful veggies to fill up your plate.

This year is going to be my first year not spending the holidays with my family, instead I’ll be spending it with my boyfriend’s family. A little tip I always use when I’m unsure about the amount of plant based options available at the meal is to offer to bring a side dish or an appetizer. You can always count on the turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course, dessert, but there is always room for more veggies! This year I am bringing a veggie tray of my choice with a little hummus for dipping. That being said, even if you are not bringing a dish to the meal, there is always the option to choose a vegetable (or maybe even twoJ) at your Thanksgiving meal. Of course, there is always going to be room for a piece of your favorite pie and a scoop of those mashed potatoes, but staying focused on the veggies always helps me fill up on mostly good stuff!

Here are my 5 tips for staying healthy on Thanksgiving while still enjoying the special time with family and friends!

1.       Don’t skip breakfast or lunch before your Thanksgiving meal! Treat the day as a normal day and don’t show up to the big meal totally famished. If you keep your eating mostly normal throughout the day, you will be less likely to eat way too much at Thanksgiving dinner.

2.       Fill your plate up with vegetables! Make at least half of your plate vegetables and leave the other half for a small portion of all the other goodies you want to try. Try to keep one quarter of the plate for turkey and one quarter for your choice of starches.

3.       Eat slowly! Try to focus on really chewing your food and engaging in conversation with others. The slower you eat your food, the slower you will finish your plate. This is a great way to both eat less and really focus on enjoying the deliciousness of the meal.

4.       Drink water! Instead of going for that soda, or apple cider, or juice, or alcoholic beverage, stick to a glass of water. Water is a zero-calorie drink and it is way better to save those calories for the food.

5.       Keep dessert in its place! Fill up on your meal first and choose your dessert mindfully. Even if there are what seems like 1 million desserts to choose from, try to stick to that one (or two) choices that excite you and that you don’t get to have very often. If you cut the piece of pie in half and take the time to enjoy each bite you will feel satisfied with way less dessert.

I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving and hope these tips motivate you to stay in control of your plate!


About Rachael

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Rachael is a graduate dietetics student with only a couple months left until graduation. She has an undergraduate degree in human development and education and is excited to see where she ends up as a future dietitian. Rachael has learned a lot working with Emily for the past month and is hoping to have her own food and nutrition blog in the near future! In between clinical rotations and thesis work, Rachael loves cooking new recipes and being outside.