Thanksgiving Nutrition Tips

turkey handprint

Here are a few simple ways to make your favorite Thanksgiving dishes healthier!

Green Bean Casserole

  • Use fresh or frozen green beans, or rinse canned green beans to remove any excess salt from water.
  • Use crushed whole wheat crackers as topping (the USDA recommends “making half your grains whole.”)
  • Use lower sodium cream of mushroom soup.
  • Use half the amount of cheese in recipe.


  • Use whole wheat bread crumbs.
  • Add extra veggies including celery, onions, fresh parsley, carrots, zucchini or mushrooms.
  • Use low sodium broth.


  • Serve a fresh veggie platter.
  • Try hummus instead of ranch or blue cheese dip.
  • Enjoy a fresh fruit salad.
  • Roast fall favorite veggies, such as green beans, squash, or pumpkin. Use olive oil instead of butter.


  • Whip up some sweet potatoes – a great source of Potassium and Vitamin A. Cut in half, brush with orange juice and a little brown sugar, and roast.
  • Add pureed cauliflower to mashed potatoes to reduce calories and fat in the overall dish.
  • Use low fat milk instead of buttermilk or whole milk.
  • Keep potato skin on to increase fiber content.
  • Do not add too much salt – no more than a pinch.

Increase Physical Activity on Thanksgiving

  • Take a morning walk.
  • Do a quick, 30 minute exercise video.
  • Play games with your family during the day (such as football, tag, hide and seek or capture the flag).
  • Laugh a lot (show family movies or photos).

For more resources on healthful eating, visit the USDA’s MyPlate website.

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