5 DOs and DON'Ts For A Healthier Thanksgiving

Alyssa Corso
Alyssa Corso14 Aug 2021

Did you know:

  • 8 out of 10 Americans plan to include turkey in their Thanksgiving dinner this year.
  • 46 million turkeys are eaten each Thanksgiving, 22 million on Christmas and 19 million turkeys on Easter.
  • Many people consume over 4,500 calories during a Thanksgiving gathering, that‚s twice the amount of daily recommended intake. 

With that in mind, for those of us who want to fully enjoy the holiday while staying healthy, the 5 DOs and DON‚Ts below should help you to feel great while still enjoying yourself throughout this holiday season:

Do Eat Breakfast

Skipping breakfast to save calories for the Thanksgiving lunch or dinner may sound like a good idea but it is not. Being surrounded by an enormous about of snacks and candies, dieters often find themselves snacking on the most calorie-heavy items waiting for the main course. On top of that, overconsumption is hard to avoid when you are already starving. 

"Eating a nutritious meal with protein and fiber before you arrive takes the edge off your appetite and allows you to be more discriminating in your food and beverage choices," Connie Diekman, MEd, RD, former president of the American Dietetic Association (ADA).


A hearty breakfast is needed even on the big day!

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Do Use Small Plates

Have you ever wondered why the plates at the buffet line are often smaller than your plates at home? There is a science behind that. 

Use a small plate! Cornell University researchers collected 56 research studies examining the effect of smaller plates on consumption. Combining all the studies, they concluded that a 30% reduction in plate size leads to an average 30% reduction in food consumption.


Small plates make things look big.

Do Dim the Lights

Not only does dimmed lighting create a warm atmosphere, but studies also suggest that eating in a setting with softer light may lead to consuming less food. So create a nice intimate ambiance in your dining room that everyone will love.

Another not-so-obvious tip is to have the main meal during dinner instead of lunch. It is hard to have dimmed and softer ambient lights during lunch than dinner. 


Warmer atmosphere is associated with less food consumption

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Don‚t Let the Alcohol Seduce You

Did you know Thanksgiving is one of the top 10 booziest holidays in the U.S.? The average person consumes 2.7 drinks with 11% to 15% of people engage in binge drinking and take it to the next level.

While that sweet raspberry punch or honey cider may seem extremely enticing to your palate, they also add hundreds of calories each, delivering alcohol and sugar straight to your bloodstream so be sure to limit these types of drinks.

They are delicious but also contain a lot of calories!

And lastly, Don't Be Peer-Pressured Into Eating More

Yes yes, it is a once a year event and you feel justified to over-consume a little bit. But it seems to never be enough for the chef aka Auntie who effortfully thaws the turkey the night before. 

Multiple psychology research shows peer pressure and groupthink not only have a direct effect on decision making but even more so in social circumstances like at your Thanksgiving dinner. 

We know it is very hard to be the first one to break away from the dinner table, but the best strategy to avoid overeating is by eating slowly. Not only will it help you with digestion, but this approach is also your best defense when it comes to Auntie‚s peer pressure. 

We have a strategy for you.



Alyssa Corso

Alyssa is a Senior Marketing Associate & Content Writer at Mira. She is passionate about educating others on how to affordably access healthcare.