Surviving Thanksgiving the Healthy Way!

Contributed by: Buffy MacNeil, Registered Dietitian
Well the holiday weekend is just about upon us and while we all enjoy the extra time off to spend with family and friends, Thanksgiving usually involves large meals with many not so healthy choices!  If you are trying to watch your weight is there any way to enjoy the holiday??
The answer is yes you can!  You can enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend without ruining your weight loss/healthy eating efforts by following some simple tips.
  1. Focus on keeping your weight stable instead of trying to lose weight – Don’t set yourself up for failure by making unrealistic goals for yourself.
  2. Make a plan – Decide ahead of time what you will and will not eat.  You will then be able to enjoy the foods you love, avoid the foods that you can live without and help prevent binging.
  3. Vegetables first – When you put foods on your plate, start with the veggies.  Once they cover about half of the plate, move on to the protein.  When you get to the starchy, higher calorie foods you’ll have just enough room left for a small portion.
  4. Make your favourite recipes healthier – Making small substitutions to a recipe can keep the taste the same while reducing the fat and calories.
  5. Be physically active – If you’re going to be putting more calories in, you need to get more energy out.
  6. Wear body conscious clothes – You are more likely to overeat if you are wearing loose clothing that you can “hide” under. If you don’t like wearing tight clothing, try just tying a string around your waist underneath your shirt.  The feeling of something snug around your waist will help keep you mindful and on track.
    ** If you overeat, don’t give up!! It takes up to 2 days before excess calories are stored as fat.  So, you have 2 days after to eat a little less and exercise a little more!
    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Healthy Left Over Ideas:

    Turkey Pot Pie Soup
    Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1 1/3 cups • Old Points: 5 pts • Points+: 7 pts
    Calories: 192 • Fat: 2 g • Carb: 27 g • Fiber: 3 g • Protein: 18 g • Sugar:8.5 g


  • 1/4 cup flour 
  • 2 cups turkey stock
  • 4 cups fat free milk
  • 2 large celery stalks, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 8 oz sliced cremini mushrooms
  • fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • 8 oz frozen peas and carrots
  • 1 tsp Turkey Better n Boullion (or more to taste)
  • 2 medium (12 oz total) potatoes, peeled and cubed small
  • 16 oz cooked turkey breast, diced small or shredded

    Create a slurry by combining 1/2 cup of the cold broth with flour in a medium bowl and whisk until well blended. Set aside.

    Pour remaining broth and milk into a large pot and slowly bring to a boil. Addcelery, onion, mushrooms, parsley, fresh pepper, frozen vegetables, salt and return to a boil. Partially cover and simmer on low until vegetables are soft, about 20 minutes. Remove lid, add potatoes and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add turkey, and slowly whisk in slurry, stirring well as you add. Cook another 2-3 minutes, until soup thickens, adjust salt and pepper to taste and serve.

    Makes about 10 1/3 cups.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup
Servings: 4 • Size: about 1 3/4 cups • Old Points: 2 pt • Points+: 3 pts
Calories: 131.2 • Fat: 0.4 g • Carbs: 25.3 • Fiber: 4.6 • Protein: 5.2 g • Sugar: 2.4
Sodium: 57.1 mg
(without salt based on homemade stock)


  • 6 cups homemade turkey stock (or low sodium canned)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup diced carrot
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 3 oz uncooked Ronzoni Smart Taste egg noodles
  • 2 cups leftover shredded turkey (about 8 ounces)

    Fill a large saucepan with homemade turkey stock (or canned). Add bay leaf, carrots, onion, celery, garlic, salt and pepper to taste and simmer 10-15 minutes, until the vegetables are soft. Add parsley, noodles and shredded turkey; cookaccording to noodle directions, about 5 minutes.

    Discard bay leaf and serve.

Skinny Pumpkin Pie
Servings: 8 • Serving Size: 1/8th • Old Points: 3 pt • Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 172.3 • Fat: 6.4 g • Carbs: 31.4 • Fiber: 1.7 • Protein: 3.5 g • Sugar: 20.7
Sodium: 143.1 mg


  • 15 oz canned pumpkin (or homemade pumpkin puree)
  • 2 tbsp light butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
  • 1/2 cup fat free milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 frozen pie crust sheet, Pillsbury (thawed to room temperature)

    Preheat oven to 350°F.

    Lightly dust a large cutting board or flat surface with flour. Roll outa room temperature pie crust sheet, so that it becomes thin enough to cut off about 30%, so that your final crust is 5 oz. Place into a 9-inch pie dish, cutting off excess dough. If you prefer to skip this step and use all the dough, increase points+ to 6 per slice.
    Place pumpkin in a large bowl. Add light butter, and mix well. Using an electric mixer, mix in brown sugar, milk, eggs, egg whites, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth. Pour filling into unbaked pie crust.
    Bake 60 minutes, or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Servewith whipped topping and enjoy!
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