3 Tips for a Weight Wise Thanksgiving


The holidays are upon us! As you may have experienced, Thanksgiving often serves as the starter pistol for the holiday weight gain marathon. Don’t let holiday collateral damage be the impetus for your New Year’s resolutions this year. A little planning and mindfulness can keep the joy in your season and your weight in the "No Dread" zone.

Try these 3 tips for a pleasantly memorable Thanksgiving:

1. Eat breakfast on Thanksgiving morning

  • Since Thanksgiving is traditionally a day of "stuffing," it’s natural to think that skipping breakfast will help you cut calories that day. Think again. Research shows that skipping breakfast causes you to experience excess hunger later which can result in poor food choices and excessive portion sizes at your next meal.
  • Start Thanksgiving Day with a light anchored breakfast containing a healthy carbohydrate, a lean protein and a little healthy fat to keep your energy balanced, your attitude positive and your Thanksgiving meal reasonably portioned.

Here is a healthy breakfast you can prepare in minutes:
(prep some of it on Thanksgiving Eve)

Crock Pot Steel Cut Oats (click here for recipe) with 1 tbsp. pecans
1-2 boiled eggs or Organic chicken sausage links
1/2 cup frozen blueberries for your oatmeal

2. Plan a workout into Thanksgiving Day

  • Either before the feast or after, getting your heart rate pumping and your endorphins flowing will set the stage for mindful eating and better family tolerance on the big day. (Even a 30 minute brisk walk is beneficial.)

3. Send leftovers home with your guests

  • One overindulged meal won’t undo months of workouts and healthy eating. To keep your "feasting" to one day, divide and conquer. Split your leftovers and send them home with your guests. Then get back to healthy eating on Black Friday. (P.S. Keep some leftover turkey for yourself for turkey paninis or homemade turkey soup- see recipe below.)


Turkey and Wild Rice Soup

Makes 8 servings



2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
5 stalks organic celery, diced (about 1 ¾ cups)
2½ - 3 cups shredded carrots
1 cup chopped Vidalia or spring onions
2 cloves garlic, minced
10 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
½ tsp. Lawry's® Seasoned Salt (opt.)
½ tsp. crushed dried rosemary
½ tsp. dried thyme
½ tsp. dried sage
1 tsp. dried dill
3 bay leaves
2 cups cubed butternut or acorn squash (sweet potatoes will work, too)
1 ½ cups dry wild rice or wild rice blend (no seasoning packet)*
3 cups cooked turkey (leftover turkey from Thanksgiving is perfect for this recipe)
Pepper to taste


- Heat olive oil in a large soup pot.



- Add celery, carrots, onions and garlic. Sauté for 3-5 minutes until onions are clear.


 - Add broth, seasoned salt and all the herbs.

- Bring to a boil then add wild rice. Bring to a boil again, cover and reduce heat to Simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.

- After 20 minutes, stir in the turkey and squash.


- Bring to a boil again, then reduce heat to Simmer.


- Cover and cook for 20 more minutes or until squash and rice are desired tenderness.

- Add pepper to taste.

- Remove bay leaves and serve.

*New Product Alert: Lundberg® Wild Blend Rice -Blend of 5 whole grain rice varieties.
Nutrition Information per Serving (using turkey breast meat; fat will be higher if all dark meat or blend of dark and breast meat is used): Cal: 289, Pro: 23 gm, Carbs: 40 gm, Fiber: 5 gm, Total Fat: 5 gm, Sat. Fat: 0.5 gm, Trans Fat: 0 gm, Sodium (varies depending on the low sodium broth you choose) approx: 280-580 mg, Chol: 47 mg

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this recipe.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of this blog post.



About Author

Cathy Greer Mazanec, MPH, RDN, LDN

Cathy is the Senior Manager of Nutrition and Healthy Living Programs at SAS Institute Inc in Cary, NC. She is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, functional medicine nutritionist, blogger and food photographer. Cathy's specialties include integrative and functional nutrition, gut health, food allergies and intolerances and culinary nutrition. She is also a Certified Biofeedback instructor. An avid lover of the outdoors, Cathy spends her free time biking, golfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, sitting under the stars and spending time with her grandson. Follow @CmazanecRD on Twitter.

Leave A Reply

Back to Top