Have A Tasty (And Healthy) Thanksgiving

GIVING THANKS by Jessica Ganzer, Registered Dietitian

The holidays can be one of the most challenging times of the year to focus on health and nutrition. Between the busy schedules and the abundance of delicious food, making healthy choices is not always the top priority. But getting a handle on what you are putting into your body can have long lasting benefits. While weight loss might not be a realistic goal for everyone this time of year, maintaining your weight while feeding your body nutritious food is a great step in the right direction.

Here are some tips to help you get through Thanksgiving without increasing your waistline:

  1. Water, water, water. Fill up on water and hydrate your body,

  2. Eat first. Don’t go into the meal starving. Have a small snack before you begin your festivities.

  3. Fiber focus. Fill up on fruits, vegetables, legumes. Make the stuffing, mashed potatoes, and casseroles a side dish instead of the main attraction.

  4. Skip seconds. Try to eat slowly and enjoy your food. Skip the seconds and skip the extra calories.

  5. Walk it off. Go for a walk before or after dinner to help burn some of the extra calories. If the weather does not allow for outdoor activities, put on some music and have a dance party with your friends and family.

  6. Wear something form fitting. Studies have shown that the looser the outfit, the more you will eat!


Since you can't avoid indulging over the holidays, here are some activities that will help you burn off the extra calories.

  • 1 Slice Pumpkin Pie = 300 calories = 60 minutes yoga

  • 1/2 cup Stuffing = 200 calories = 45 minute cycling

  • 1/4 cup Cranberry Sauce = 100 calories = 20 minutes dancing

  • 6 ounces Turkey Breast = 200 calories = 40 minutes walking

PUMPKIN TURKEY CHILI This one-pot meal will warm you up and fill you up with a healthy dose of protein and antioxidants.


  • Servings: 6

  • Calories per serving: 321

  • Total Fat: 8.4g

  • Saturated Fat: 2g

  • Monounsatured Fat: 0.3g

  • Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.7g

  • Trans Fat: 0g

  • Cholesterol: 57mg

  • Sodium: 584mg

  • Potassium: 565mg

  • Total Carbohydrate: 36g

  • Dietary Fiber: 11g

  • Sugars: 3g

  • Protein: 26g

  • Vitamin A: 105%

  • Vitamin C: 59%

  • Calcium: 16%

  • Iron: 31%


  • 1 pound ground turkey breast

  • 1 can pureed pumpkin

  • 1 vidalia onion

  • 2 cans canellini beans, drained and rinsed

  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 4 garlic cloves chopped

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • 2 teaspoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 jalapeno, chopped (for less spicy, remove seeds and ribs)

  • 3 bay leaves

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • salt & pepper to taste

  • 2 7-oz cans mild green chilies

  • 2 cups chicken broth

  • 1 zucchini, chopped

  • 2 carrots, pealed & chopped


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add ground turkey and cook.

  2. Add carrots, zucchini, onions, garlic & jalapenos to the pot. Saute for 4-5 minutes, until the onions are translucent.

  3. Add remaining ingredients, lower heat, cover, and cook for 45 minutes.

  4. Remove bay leaves, adjust salt & pepper seasoning as needed. Serve with cilantro, Greek yogurt, and tortilla chips.

#thanksgiving #nutrition #wellness

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