Thanksgiving is a day to express gratitude, enjoy time with family and friends, and, for most of us, it’s a day we tend to overindulge when faced with a huge spread of delicious foods of appetizers, sides, dinner, and desserts. Going into the holiday season while dieting can be overwhelming, but it is possible to celebrate with loved ones and not ruin your diet. Stay healthy this Thanksgiving with these tips:

Mind your portions

It’s possible to enjoy all of your Thanksgiving favorites, with moderation. Being mindful of your portion sizes can help you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Try to use a smaller plate this year, as large plates encourage you to add more food to fill the plate. When in doubt, fill up on lean protein and vegetables. Here’s a helpful breakdown of what healthy portions look like:

  • Turkey: Protein portions should be about the size of your palm.
  • Vegetables: Try to stick to green veggies or add extra roughage to your meal by sticking to salad. Vegetable dishes should be about a baseball-sized serving.
  • Stuffing, mashed potatoes, and other starchy carbs: Stick to about a ½ cup serving size, about the size of a hockey puck.
  • Butter, margarine, or oil: Aim for a dice-sized serving of fat.

Don’t skip meals

One of the most important tips to stay healthy on Thanksgiving is to not skip meals all day to “save up” for one big meal. Doing this can lead you to overeat when it finally comes time to eat. It’s best to continue your weight loss program and eat small, consistent meals throughout the day. This will keep your blood sugar steady, boost your metabolism, and help control your appetite.

Think twice about seconds

Before getting up to fill your plate with seconds, sit for a moment to let your body digest and give yourself time to feel full. To avoid adding more food on your plate, crumple your napkin over your plate as a visual aid to signal that you are done eating, or clear your plate from the table and sit with a cup of hot tea or coffee. Sticking to one serving can prevent you from feeling overly stuffed or bloated.

Stay hydrated

Drinking water will help you stay healthy over the holidays, and it can help with weight loss and weight management. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying properly hydrated can curb your appetite and make you feel full. Drinking water can also help flush out excess sodium from Thanksgiving foods, preventing you from feeling puffy or bloated the next day. Water is zero-calorie and can help you burn more calories, so try replacing other caloric beverages with a full glass of water. Aim for two to three liters of water a day.

Be smart about sweets

Limit the number of desserts you consume by choosing just one special treat that you only get once a year on Thanksgiving. Stick to a small slice, about the size of a regular-sized light bulb. Take your time to savor your sweet treat by eating slowly and enjoying each bite. Try cutting down on calories by splitting a dessert with a family member or friend. You can even swap pies and cakes for a cup of fresh berries and cinnamon. Restricting yourself can lead to binging, so go ahead and eat a healthy portion of your favorite dessert.


Following these tips will allow you to indulge in the holiday spirit without overindulging in food. Remember to feel thankful for all that you have and for the people around you, and to express gratitude to yourself and others. Happy Thanksgiving!

If you find yourself struggling to lose weight or want to kickstart your weight loss goals by jumping ahead of the holiday season, reaching out for a free consultation with one of our weight-loss clinics may be an option. We offer many different programs and even one-on-one counseling that can help you avoid the holiday weight gain and ultimately give you the tools you need to make a healthy lifestyle change.