There’s nothing better than having friends and family for a holiday meal in with good food and plenty of laughter. Make sure you really are the hostess with the mostess, using these healthy Thanksgiving dinner ideas.

As a Toronto nutritionist and weight loss coach, I specialize in helping women to achieve the best results from their training and diets. My moto is to never put my precious clientele through gruelling dietary restrictions and make their diet plans follow-able long term.

That said, there is nothing more frustrating than putting in the sweat and tears at the gym and not seeing results (if that’s you, read my blog about exactly this topic). And even if you follow your plan to the T, one dinner in the middle of your fitness journey can set you back literally for days.

Yo-yo dieting is exactly that, making progress, sliding back, then playing catch up again. The truth is, life happens. All the time. And if you open your calendar, I bet you a cup of coffee that you can find a reason not to follow your fitness plan at least 2 days a week. If you are already a member of our bootcamp classes, or working with one of the Body Beautiful coaches in person, or online you already know that we use cheat meals to help you enjoy the foods you like.

The main thing here is that these cheat meals are scheduled and still have some rules, so that you don’t set yourself back. Problems happen if cheat meals are too sporadic, too frequent and uncontrolled. It could be a work event on Thursday, a friend’s birthday on Friday and you’re going to a party on Saturday. Oh guess, what? It’s Thanksgiving this upcoming Sunday, so throw that in the mix too!

So the point is not to become anti-social and cancel all of your events. The point is to lay some ground rules to mitigate the damage and stay true to your fitness program without losing friends.

Thanksgiving dinner can easily pack 1,500 calories without even trying. When I work with my clients, I make sure that each one of them gets a list of tips for each and every single holiday, so that we do not playing catch up with their results. The healthy Thanksgiving dinner ideas below are basically what each one of my clients is going to use this upcoming Sunday and I highly recommend you trying them to avoid the yo-yo effect!

healthy thanksgiving dinner ideas

My 11 Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas That My Clients Follow to Avoid Weight Gain

These healthy Thanksgiving ideas are easy to follow and will save your waistline. All you need is a little bit of planning!

  1. Small canapés are more satisfying than low-fat snacks. Fill celery stalks with hummus, serve mini turkey meatballs, or top endives with smoked salmon and a smudge of Greek yogurt and dill.
  2. Flavoured sparkling water makes a great alcohol-free alternative to wine. Switch between the two and you’ll wake up with a clear head and a budget that isn’t blown.
  3. Quality not quantity makes a good buffet, so prepare a few well-chosen dishes rather than lots of smaller options. This also makes it easier to work out how much you’ve eaten.
  4. Say yes to natural flavours. Healthy food can taste so, so good! You just have to know what you’re doing! Cook with plenty of spices and seasoning, bake or grill your food, dress your salads with olive oil, lemon or balsamic vinegar (or all three!).
  5. Eat early in the evening, so you don’t become ravenous and then overeat – or drink too much.
  6. Desserts can create a minefield. One trick is to serve something you’re not that keen on, but friends will enjoy. Or opt for fresh fruit salad, and perhaps add a dash of alcohol to add a bit of interest.
  7. Position yourself well. Don’t put yourself right in front of the candy dish. Who needs the agony? Plant yourself elsewhere, facing other pleasures – a nice fire, warm smiles, good tunes and a dance floor. You’ll have a much better time, and you’ll like yourself a lot more come morning.
  8. Avoid too many leftovers by checking recipe instructions carefully. It’s a challenge having a fridge full of goodies the next day.
  9. Savor every bite. Eat slowly, putting your fork down between bites, and really savor each mouthful. It’s one of the easiest ways to enjoy your holiday meal without going overboard on calories.
  10. Do what you want; No One’s Watching. People often think that if they say “no” to certain dishes, everyone notices, when in fact there’s a very good chance that everyone is caught in a conversation with their neighbour and are completely unaware. Just play it down. Simply say, “No thanks, I’m full,” or “Try me later.” Then, sit back and enjoy the rest of your healthy Thanksgiving Day.
  11. Plan fun post meal activities! A hike or walk after is the perfect way to end a meal. What a wonderful way for families to enjoy the holiday together. Another tip: Plan some outdoor fun before dinner, like a game of soccer or volleyball with the kids. (It’s a great strategy for keeping the appetizer buffet at bay, too.)

These healthy Thanksgiving dinner ideas are simple, yet extremely effective when you actually apply them in action. Try them and see how much more fun you will have when you take food out of the equation!

What If These Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas Didn’t Work?

In case if the tips above didn’t work for you and you ended up not following them for whatever reason – you need a back up plan.

The best thing to do is to get back to healthy eating and fast! Body Beautiful’s 7 Day Detox Plan is a fantastic way to reverse the damage from the dinner and get back on track with your fitness goals. It is the best way to lose weight in a short time and do so in a healthy way!

Download it here and apply promo code BBEAU123 to get it for absolutely free! And make sure to help your friends with these healthy Thanksgiving dinner ideas by sharing this post with them!

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