All Entries For thanksgiving

How Well Do You Know Your Thanksgiving Portions?

Thanksgiving is coming, and let's be real: You're probably going to eat more than you normally would, and you may or may not track it. Different people take different approaches to the Thanksgiving meal. Some take a little of everything, while others just pick a few favorites to indulge in. But which is the best strategy when you're watching your weight? Here's a scenario comparing two different Thanksgiving plates.

Uncle Bob loves Thanksgiving food and wants to taste it all at least once, so he takes some of everything: Turkey, gravy, stuffing, two types of potatoes, and, of course, green bean casserole. He even saves room for a little bit of Grandma Mildred's famous pumpkin pie for dessert. Here's what Bob's plate looks like:

6 ounces turkey (white meat, with skin)
1 cup mashed potatoes
1/2 cup green bean casserole
1 cup sweet potato casserole
1/2 cup turkey gravy
1 dinner roll
2 pats butter
1/2 cup stuffing
1/4 cup cranberry sauce
½ a slice pumpkin pie

Grandpa George, on the other hand, is a no-frills kind of guy and likes to stick with the basics. Since he's watching his weight, he skips the butter and gravy. He even passes up on dessert! Here's what George's plate looks like:

6 ounces turkey (dark meat, with skin)
1.5 cups mashed potatoes
2 dinner rolls
1 cup stuffing
1 cup cranberry sauce
1 cup green bean casserole
Between Bob and George, who consumed the least amount of calories during the Thanksgiving feast? (No cheating by checking your Food Tracker—Make your best guess!)
Posted 11/10/2012  10:00:00 AM By: Melinda Hershey : 55 comments   45,253 views
Read More ›

Your Stress-Free Thanksgiving Planning Guide

The wheel of "It's your turn to host Thanksgiving" was spun and the arrow stopped on me. Yippee! If you won this year too, check out this list and you will be smiling all day.  No stress, no worries, just holiday spirit, laughter among loved ones and plenty of delicious food.
Posted 11/5/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 37 comments   29,781 views
Read More ›

15 Tips to Feed the Vegan or Vegetarian in Your Life

Vegetarian Awareness Month is wrapping up, but the meat-free mealtime fun doesn't have to end! In addition to giving away 5 copies of our e-book "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople: The No-Stress, No-Guilt Way to Reap the Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet," today I'm sharing tips for anyone who might need to cook for a vegetarian or vegan. With the holidays on the horizon, I hope you find these tips to be of use.

When I wrote "Easy Vegan Meals by SparkPeople," I intended it to be for vegans, vegan wannabes, and those who love them. Don't worry--SparkPeople isn't taking the stance that we all need to ditch meat forever. But with at least 325,000 vegetarians and vegans on our site, we know that many of our members are interested in eating less meat and more plants. We believe there's room at the table for all of us. This book fills a niche, and I wrote it with the SparkPeople philosophy in mind--moderation, no fad diets, and taking small steps along the way to a healthier you.

That said, let's segue into tips for feeding the vegan or vegetarian in your life.
Posted 10/29/2012  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 15 comments   12,446 views
Read More ›

The Best After-Dinner Stretches for Thanksgiving Day

After a large meal, such as Thanksgiving dinner, I like to take a short walk to jump-start digestion. If I've overindulged and feel a bit blah in the belly, I add in a few quick stretches to get the digestive juices flowing.

Today I'm sharing two of my favorites.
While I usually wouldn't advocate practicing yoga on a full stomach, this is one time I break that rule, for these specific, beneficial poses.

"Wind-Relief" Pose
About the pose:
Yes, this pose does exactly what you think it does. It helps relieve gas and bloating because, by bringing the right knee into the chest, we apply pressure on the ascending colon, which helps aid digestion. Make sure you're doing this with only the right knee in. If you bring in the left leg, it applies pressure to the descending colon, making it harder for digestion to occur.
Posted 11/24/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 11 comments   37,503 views
Read More ›

Poll: How Do You Eat on Thanksgiving?

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, of course, and we're curious:

What's your eating style on the big day? Do you eat with restraint or overboard? Do you have seconds or stick with one helping? Do you skip dessert or sample a bit of everything?
Posted 11/23/2011  6:00:00 PM By: Stepfanie Romine : 28 comments   10,480 views
Read More ›

Thanksgiving Dessert SparkRecipes

If an appetizer is the prelude to any meal, then desert is the encore. SparkPeople is thrilled to share many outstanding Thanksgiving meal ideas that are healthy from beginning to end. We’ve gathered the top dessert recipes from SparkRecipes that embody our “everything in moderation” mantra and since most of these recipes have at least one serving of fruits and/or vegetables, you can enjoy your desert without worrying about your waistline. Wishing you a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! 
Posted 11/23/2011  4:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 9 comments   7,685 views
Read More ›

7 Things I Am Thankful for When Dieting

It’s the time of the year again here in America when we all take a few moments to reflect on the things that make us thankful. Rather than rehash the usual categories of family, friends and health, I’m going to take a quick look at the seven things I’m most thankful for when dieting.

I started my latest weight-loss plan about two months ago. During the first seven weeks, I dropped a nifty 27 pounds. But over the past 10 days or so I’ve kind of drifted and lost a lot of my resolve.

Perhaps by performing this seasonal exercise of thanks I’ll be reinvigorated and find the motivation I need to climb back up on my horse and ride on to a healthier weight – something that remains off in the distance!

So, here I go. When I am dieting, most thankful for…
Posted 11/23/2011  2:00:00 PM By: John McGran : 5 comments   7,084 views
Read More ›

Giving Thanks from Your SparkPeople Family

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

In a few short days many of us will gather around the table with family and friends to give thanks for the many blessings bestowed on throughout the year. While today's Thanksgiving celebration is centered around mealtime, football games, parades and fun events, stopping to give thanks is still front and foremost for many of us.

Today's blog features quotes from our SparkPeople family to you as to what we are most thankful for. I hope you enjoy reading the quotes. While many of the names will be familiar with our members, we have many people behind the scenes who work diligently every day to give each and every one of you the ability to live the life you are meant to live.
Posted 11/22/2011  10:00:00 AM By: Nancy Howard : 34 comments   11,168 views
Read More ›

Have You Caught “The Wave” of Daily Gratitude?

It’s that time of year again when we pause and give thanks. We gather together and take stock of who and what is most important in our lives. You may have even noticed the wave of daily gratitude movement on Facebook, which has been a wonderful opportunity to get caught up in this season of thankfulness. What if, however, we could make gratitude a part of our daily experience of life? What would that look like? How would it change our world?
Our friends at the HeartMath Research Center in Boulder Creek, Calif. have challenged us to exercise daily gratitude. HeartMath shared these tips with us:
Researchers have observed that the feeling of appreciation is the most concrete and the easiest positive emotion for individuals to self-generate and sustain for long periods. 
"Gratitude is an expression of the heart and it is a powerful and positive emotional energy that can add hope and resilience in your life,” said behavioral psychologist Deborah Rozman, author of Transforming Stress: The HeartMath Solution for Relieving Worry, Fatigue, and Tension
Nearly everyone can find something – whether big or small – to genuinely appreciate and stress experts say that the act of simply recalling a time of feeling sincere appreciation and then intentionally focusing on that feeling for a few moments can reduce emotional stress. Learning to self-generate positive emotions such as appreciation can also have a beneficial effect on attitudes and relationships.
Gratitude in Focus
Photos are a great way to summon positive feelings. Find a few photos that evoke feelings of appreciation. It can be a photo of a great vacation moment, a picture of a loved one or a favorite pet. Place the photos in locations where you will see them during the day – in the car, on your desk, the bathroom mirror, or your refrigerator. When you see the photos pause for a moment and connect with the feeling of appreciation.

Blessing Reminders
While you’re building the habit of appreciating more often, try using tools to remember your intention. Place a sticky note in key locations or set an alarm on your cell phone. Reminding yourself to pause for a moment or two can help reconnect you with your heart intention. During this short break find something that you appreciate that took place that day, it can even be appreciating yourself for your commitment. This practice starts to increase your awareness of what’s happening in your life that is good.

Keep a Gratitude Journal
Set aside a few minutes at the end of each day to write down a few things you are grateful for. It can be as simple as appreciating the person who held the door for you. The practice helps you see life more through the perspective of gratitude. Once you write your list, allow a couple minutes to focus on the genuine feeling of appreciation for the things on your list. Be consistent with the practice to get the most out of it. You might also consider adding a gratitude app to your smartphone so you can carry your lists with you and add to it as you move through your day.
Incorporate Gratitude into Your Parenting 
I can't think of a better opportunity to expand the practice thankful living than to incorporate gratitude into our parenting. Teaching our kids to be thankful in childhood will expose them to the positive energy that is released when we share feelings of gratitude. Cementing this practice at a young age will establish positive patterns and healthy outcomes that they will carry into the rest of their life. 
As a mom, these tips really hit home. I thought about the ways to introduce this concept to your children:
  • Model thankfulness for your children. Notice the small and big things others do for you and make a big deal about it in-front of your kids.
  • Take your children into the kitchen (of a friend's house or even a restaurant) to thank the cook.
  • Encourage your kids to show thankfulness when a friend shares a toy or a sibling offers them their turn for something fun. 
  • Create a thankfulness board in your home where family members can leave personal notes for one another.
  • Talk with them about how good it felt to give thanks or be thanked.
Learn more about HeartMath’s gratitude initiative and their free gratitude resources at and on their Facebook page at

What are you thankful for and have you shared that with some special recently? Let’s start a wave of gratitude right here, right now by leaving a comment on this article about with what you are thankful for today.
Posted 11/19/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Samantha Donohue : 55 comments   13,788 views
Read More ›

Habits of Healthy Eaters: Don't Make Extra Food

Next week will be the fourth time that my husband and I host our families at our house for Thanksgiving This year, I'll be cooking for 15 guests—a new record! I like cooking and I tend to make the same Thanksgiving dishes each year: rosemary roasted sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, steamed green beans, garlic mashed potatoes, homemade stuffing from whole-wheat bread, honey-glazed tofu, whole-grain couscous with pumpkin seeds, and of course, turkey (courtesy of my mom). We usually have a beautiful seasonal salad, too, and small amounts of fixings like cranberry sauce and gravy. And don't forget the dessert! I make pumpkin pie from scratch every year (starting from an actual pumpkin!), my sister will usually make a baked apple or pear dessert, my sister-in-law will make some gluten-free cookies, and my mother-in-law brings her delicious rice pudding.
It can be a challenge to cook so much food for so many people in my tiny kitchen, but I think it's fun. I see it as an opportunity to show my family members that you can eat healthy over the holidays and still eat plenty of delicious food! No one ever complains that the bread we serve is whole-grain or that the bulk of our sides are vegetables.
But one holiday tradition I don't believe in is stuffing yourself like a turkey!
Just as I work out on Thanksgiving and other holidays, I treat holidays like any other day when it comes to food. That means practicing moderation when it comes to what I put on my plate and how much I eat of it.
But whether you make all the traditional Thanksgiving foods or you try healthier versions of the classics like I do, one thing we could all benefit from is making less food. Here's why.
Posted 11/18/2011  6:00:00 AM By: Nicole Nichols : 42 comments   12,181 views
Read More ›

Chef Meg's Decadent, Delicious (and Healthy!) Thanksgiving Menus

An Entire Thanksgiving Meal--for 400 Calories!

As you know, the typical Thanksgiving meal can include more calories than some of us eat in two days (more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to the Caloric Control Council)! Two years ago, I created SparkPeople's 500-Calorie Thanksgiving Feast. This year, I did even better. Not only do you get 7 brand-new recipes for Thanksgiving (plus several recipes and ideas from "The SparkPeople Cookbook"), but you get three sample menus. Thanks to my slimmed down but flavor-packed recipes, you can feast even if you aren't willing to blow your calorie budget. Would you believe that you can eat five different dishes, including dessert, for about 400 calories? 

I hope these recipes will soon become family favorites and healthy staples on your Thanksgiving table.

400-Calorie Trim Thanksgiving

500-Calorie Thanksgiving Dinner

600-Calorie Thanksgiving Feast

Want more recipes? Keep reading!
Posted 11/14/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Meg Galvin : 14 comments   22,286 views
Read More ›

11 Fall Appetizer Recipes

Appetizers are a great way to start Fall gatherings, which are marked by shorter days, cooler nights, and holiday fun. Not only will these starters provide your guests a warm welcome, but it will also gives you a chance to whet their appetite and increase their enjoyment of the full meal that's still to come. With an abundance of versatile and affordable Fall produce, your food can impress on the palate without expanding the waist line. I’ve gathered the top SparkRecipe appetizers for your enjoyment. 
Posted 11/9/2011  2:00:00 PM By: Samantha Donohue : 1 comments   29,840 views
Read More ›

Poll: Do You Count Calories on Thanksgiving?

Happy Thanksgiving. Here's a quick poll for your Turkey Day curiosity:
Posted 11/25/2010  5:01:55 AM By: Stepfanie Romine : 40 comments   11,479 views
Read More ›

I'm Thankful for the Gift of Health

I’ve decided to make it an annual tradition to blog about what I’m thankful for at this time of the year. I feel like I do a pretty good job of being thankful year-round for a lot of things in my life: my family, my friends, a stable job that I enjoy, etc. But my health is something I easily take for granted.
Posted 11/23/2010  2:08:45 PM By: Jen Mueller : 59 comments   18,456 views
Read More ›

7 Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers

Do you find that you usually have a lot of turkey leftover from Thanksgiving? If that happens this year, don't despair! We've rounded up some healthy and delicious recipes that will add variety to your Thanksgiving leftovers!

Leftover Turkey Tortellini Soup

Left-Over Turkey Pot Pie

Jackie's Homemade Turkey Soup

Posted 11/23/2010  9:23:32 AM By: Denise Tausig : 21 comments   19,291 views
Read More ›

‹ Back | Read More Entries ›