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Try These Tips to Slim Down Thanksgiving Dinner

Allie Benson, R.D., Program Assistant, NDSU Extension Service

The holiday season often is associated with over-indulging and weight gain, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Here are a few tips to help you prepare healthier food and maintain your weight this year.

Main Dishes

Use herbs and low-sodium chicken broth to baste and flavor a turkey instead of butter. Remove the skin before eating to cut down on saturated fat. Make your own gravy using the roasting pan drippings (with fat skimmed-off), reduced-sodium chicken broth and a flour-based thickener.

Side Dishes

If you want to serve green bean casserole, try using a low-fat or low-sodium cream of mushroom soup to reduce up to half the calories, fat and sodium. Choose a different side such as sautéed green beans with almonds, roasted carrots or mashed sweet potatoes.


When you have the choice between apple and pumpkin, pumpkin pie is going to be the more nutritious option because it contains fewer calories and sugar and more protein and fiber than its apple counterpart. Consider mixing it up and making baked apples with a sprinkle of cinnamon to cut back on added sugar.

Move More

Gather everyone for a walk or family game outside after eating. Balancing all of the calories you just ate with some physical activity can help you maintain your weight. Also, consider serving your main meal during mid-afternoon. Then, skip the evening meal and end the day with dessert.

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Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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