10 Tips for Hosting a Skinny Thanksgiving

It’s counterintuitive to call a Thanksgiving meal skinny. But what if you could cut down on calories and fat without sacrificing flavor? Add some lighter and healthier options to your menu, and you can enjoy a guilt free meal that will still satisfy all your Thanksgiving cravings. Your friends, relatives and waistline will thank you.

Here are some ways to lighten up your holiday meal and still be popular.

1. Use cauliflower rice instead of bread for your stuffing.

I love the versatility of cauliflower rice. I love it so much so that I wrote an entire post about it. Check it out here. Cauliflower rice is a great way to lighten up the usually calorie laden, carb heavy stuffing. I know many of you are groaning at the thought of this, but you can still make a delicious stuffing that is chock full of healthy vegetables and tons of flavor. Check out this recipe from the Healthy Maven. It’s beautiful, delicious and ready in 20 minutes.

2. Serve a Thanksgiving salad

This isn’t a new idea, usually the Thanksgiving salad sits alone in a corner, wilting sadly until someone throws it away. However, if the Thanksgiving salad is delicious and inviting this may not be the case. It could be an unexpected hit. Check out this pomegranate, pear, pecan and brie salad from Five heart home. Such beautiful presentation, no one will be able to resist.

3. Lighten up your mashed potatoes.

Using light sour cream and skim milk cuts calories but not taste. Your guests will never know. Try this recipe for Lightened up Garlic Mashed Potatoes from Skinnytaste.

4. Serve crustless pumpkin pie.

I know what you’re thinking, but the crust is the best part! It doesn’t have to be, make a delicious pie filling that will make your guests forget crust was ever even an option. Try this recipe for Crustless Pumpkin Pie from one of my favorite dessert blogs, Chocolate Covered Katie.

5. Use light whip cream

This is an awesome lower calorie swap and what a perfect complement for the lightened up pumpkin pie! Try this recipe from Nature Box Blog.

6. Roast the vegetables.

Instead of sautéing in butter or cooking them into fattening casseroles, roast the vegetables. This is an easy way to cook them, and it saves a lot of fat and calories. Some ideas for vegetables are broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, carrots, green beans, butternut squash and okra. Be creative and use flavorful herbs to bring out the taste. Rosemary is one of my favorites. It’s sure to be a crowd pleaser, the kids might even eat it!

7. Don’t serve alcohol.

Just kidding!! This is a horrible idea and will ensure you are never asked to host Thanksgiving again!

8. Serve light appetizers.

A good way to do this is add more low carb options to a charcuterie board. Try using parmesan crisp “crackers” as an alternative. Pair with lots of fresh and pickled vegetables, they add tons of flavor and look beautiful. Check out this example from Sincerely Mindy.

9. Lighten up your gravy.

Thanksgiving turkey needs gravy, but it doesn’t have to be heavy. Check out this recipe for Herb Panned Gravy from Eating Well.

10. Skip the bread.

Last but certainly not least, toss the bread basket. Who needs bread when you have a beautiful bounty of delicious foods. Make your dishes so enticing your guests don’t even notice the rolls are missing.

I’m adding the caveat to this post that there will be some people who will not appreciate any of these ideas, like my Dad. I might buy rolls for him, we’ll see!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Have any other ideas or thoughts about this? Scroll down to bottom of page and comment. I would love to hear from you!

  • Laura
    November 21, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    OR: just enjoy life without contributing to the already damaging diet-mentality. The holidays should be about family and being grateful, not counting calories and “skinny” food options.

      November 21, 2017 at 1:56 pm

      OR… you can enjoy your friends and family and still eat a healthy delicious meal… Aren’t the holidays supposed to be about being kind and grateful, I think we have enough negativity in the world.

    November 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    OR… you can enjoy your friends and family and still eat a healthy delicious meal… Aren’t the holidays supposed to be about being kind and grateful, I think we have enough negativity in the world.

    • Laura
      November 21, 2017 at 3:06 pm

      Exactly my point!
      And we should accept people of all sizes, embrace the food we have access to and stop focusing on restriction/diet/morality in relation to what we eat.

      Why is a traditional Thanksgiving meal not “healthy”? Too many carbs? Fat? This focus makes me so sad. I agree that there is enough negativity in the world, but genuinely belive this focus can contribute to eating disorders and recommend blogs with focus on body acceptance and HAES rather than eating/being “skinny”.

    • Alisa Studer
      November 21, 2017 at 6:12 pm

      I absolutely agree the holidays should be about family and being grateful. I in no way was advocating counting calories or restricting yourself from something you want. Some people want to have lighter options, and these are some that are not only lighter but healthy, nothing wrong with that. I was thinking people might take away one thing from these ideas and incorporate that, not make the whole dinner low cal. I myself will be having a mix of both. Have a happy Thanksgiving and I thank you for sharing your opinions!

  • Tracy
    November 21, 2017 at 3:11 pm

    Completely agree, Vanessa~ The post doesn’t encouraging dieting; rather, how to enjoy a holiday meal without putting yourself in a food coma in the process. There is a huge difference between “dieting” & eating cleanly. However, comprehending the difference requires an open mind & a bit of education.

    • Laura
      November 21, 2017 at 3:18 pm

      What does “clean” eating mean? Is a traditional Thanksgiving meal “dirty”?

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