Nutrition Tips: 4 for Thanksgiving

November 22, 2016

Lisa Brown

Professor Lisa Brown shared some nutrition tips to keep in mind during the holiday!


Go ahead and try everything, but only eat regular portions of the stuff you really like. Using smaller bowls and plates and even a smaller spoon for dessert can help limit portions. 

You can also plan some active outdoor family activities so that you don't sit around the house all day picking at food that's out for the occasion. For example, my daughter and I try to hike the conservation land behind our house on Thanksgiving. I know some other families that have a family touch football game or soccer game. 


There are no dishes that really need to be avoided, but be smart about what you choose to fill your plate with. My family has been known to make sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and then also have bread and stuffing on the table. I generally advise people to choose one carbohydrate-based side dish, a protein which is usually the main meal dish, and then focus the rest of the meal on vegetables. Eat all the veggies before you go back for seconds of anything else.

Almost any dish could be healthy or unhealthy depending on how it's prepared. Easy changes can make a world of difference. For example, instead of making green beans or carrots in butter, you can roast them in olive oil. I grew up with sweet potatoes that my mom pan fried in margarine and covered with brown sugar. We now bake them with a little maple syrup and honey and they taste almost the same. 

My favorite Thanksgiving dishes are the ones I grew up with. Candied sweet potatoes are one of my favorites, and we have found a healthier way to make them over the years, but they taste almost the same as the margarine-soaked, sugar laden ones from my childhood. I also love my mother's gluten-free stuffing.