5 Tips for a Lower Calorie Thanksgiving Meal!

My Diet Matters
lower calorie thanksgiving meal

With Thanksgiving around the corner, here are 5 simple ideas to trim your calorie count on Thanksgiving without feeling like you gave up your favorite holiday foods. If you keep in mind that most of the calories are lurking in hidden fats in your meal, you can eat slightly larger amounts of other foods, and not worry about adding another notch to your belt or wearing stretch pants for the rest of the week. Enjoy my tips on how to lower the calorie count of your favorite traditional Thanksgiving meal menu.

Turkey always works for a lower calorie Thanksgiving menu item

lower calorie thanksgiving meal

Turkey is a lean meat. Just watch your portion size and keep in mind that a normal serving size looks like a checkbook or deck of cards. Skip the extra fatty gravy (or make your own low-fat gravy). And, don’t be afraid to experiment with some of the packaged dry gravy options. They have virtually no fat, and I have never had a guest complain about these types of gravy! Finally, skip eating the turkey skin!


Avoid stuffing the dressing inside the turkey cavity. When you cook the stuffing in the turkey, you are adding more fat by virtue of turkey drippings. Dish out fewer calories and lower the overall fat content of your stuffing just by baking in a separate casserole dish.


Why not make your mashed potatoes with skim milk, fat-free sour cream, or broth? All these options will slash your fat and calories if making from scratch! If you order the potatoes from carry out or a restaurant, chances are they are loaded with both fat and sodium. Potatoes add nutritional value to your diet because they are loaded with potassium.

Alcohol as part of a lower calorie Thanksgiving meal

Choose a light beer, champagne, or dry wine. These are all lower calorie options to toast the November holiday. For more calorie values on favorite alcohol drinks, read on.

Pumpkin pie

Have you considered a crustless version? Or, have one with crust and be the sneaky one eating the crustless version. Virtually all of the fat and calories end up in the crust, and the rest of the pie is full of health enhancing beta-carotene, fiber, and protein. Cut the sugar slightly and cut the calories more.

Here’s my recipe which is so easy it’s barely a recipe. This is a family favorite pumpkin pie recipe I serve all year round. It’s super nutritious and can be served for dessert or even breakfast!

Do you have other tips for a healthy holiday dinner? Have a very happy Thanksgiving.

Sue Rose, MS, RD, LDN

Sue Rose helps readers sort through the maze of nutrition information available to the public. As a seasoned clinical dietitian/nutritionist with decades of experience, her blogs attempt to educate and inform the public at a time when there is so much information it is often overwhelming to understand. Stay tuned for clarity on a variety of topics!


Use this information at your own risk. Although I am a licensed IL dietitian/nutritionist, I am not your dietitian. The information in my blog Chew on This located at www.mydietmatters.com is for educational and informational purposes only. It is also my own opinion and subject to change in the future. Please consult with your own medical professionals for individual treatment.