Nutrition Articles

SparkPeople's 500-Calorie Thanksgiving Feast

Enjoy All the Trimmings--and Still Stay Trim

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Thanksgiving is a time for family, gratitude, and, of course, food. The typical holiday meal can have more than 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat, according to the Caloric Control Council. That's almost three days worth of food for most of us! Butter, cream and white bread seem to be lurking in almost every dish, and the meal never seems to end.

For those of us who are trying lead healthier lifestyles, moderation and healthy eating are just as important on Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it is possible to eat right and still enjoy yourself on Turkey Day!

To help, I created brand new SparkRecipes for a three-course Thanksgiving meal that clock in around 500 calories! (Dessert, not included in that number, will add 150 calories or fewer, if you have room for it.)

Use the chart below to compare my Thanksgiving feast with a traditional meal. The more recipes you use from this list, the more calories you'll save--without sacrificing taste or tradition!
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About The Author

Meg Galvin Meg Galvin
A World Master Chef and mother of three, Meg hosts a regional television show called "The Dish" and helps develop and test healthy recipes for

Member Comments

    My theory is this, if a person has to be so anal at Thanksgiving or other holiday meals, they should stay home and cook for themselves, nothing more unappetizing than some guests sitting at the table, criticizing every platter of food and pointing fingers as people serve food to themselves, stating calorie counts and so forth........... - 11/23/2014 2:40:47 PM
  • I'll be sticking to my favorites this year. I don't care for turkey or cranberry. I only want a ton of stuffing, gravy and some mashed potatoes. I might even have a piece of pumpkin pie, but nothing else really tempts me. This year my calories will come from wine. Before and after dinner, I might make a suggestion to walk the dogs. - 11/22/2014 9:46:35 AM
  • website stinks. where r the recipes? author takes a bow w/out offering any information. i don't really care if she has three kids, ten or none at all. being able to make babies doesn't define a person nor does it qualify her for being a knowledgeable cook. - 11/4/2014 11:11:23 AM
    I'm sorry to say that is one boring menu. I guess we are much more creative cooks so our challenge is to limit eating everything. We have smoked salmon, bbq pork, corn casserole, chopped salads, grilled vegs, deviled eggs, fruit, etc. With of course the traditional Turkey, gravy etc. I did a preplanned dinner plate in ww this week that was a terrific visual and I only plan the 2 tb rule. Just a taste. - 11/20/2013 11:42:20 AM
  • My family has been making Thanksgiving healthier over the last several years. I make "autumn pumpkin pudding" and "Zesty Orange-Cranberry Sauce".

    HOWEVER, I also believe that we should allow ourselves a couple days each year to NOT count our calories. For me, Thanksgiving is one of those days. I will not be tracking me food on that day.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone. - 11/20/2013 7:04:18 AM
  • Thank you so much. I can't wait for Thanksgiving to get here and have my table looking as yummy as your. - 11/19/2013 6:10:32 PM
    Thanks for the menu - it looks yummy and I can't wait to try it out on my family this year! - 10/19/2013 12:10:33 AM
  • Looksdelicious!

    - 12/13/2010 7:52:39 AM
  • BS8071
    Thanks for this healthier alternative. Definitely will try out some of these recipes... - 11/19/2010 4:57:18 PM
  • Thanks for such great, tempting suggestions. I usually bake yams, then blend with a zapped chopped apple, adding dried cranberries & some pecans at the end. But ideas on how to cut calories on other side dishes is great! That soup sounds good for anytime! Happy holidays! - 11/19/2010 1:22:29 PM
  • I wish this had been out in time for CANADIAN THANKSGIVING. But I will try them out at Christmas. - 11/19/2010 11:04:37 AM
    Thanks so much for the new improved cranberry relish-my children love to hear the cranberries POP! - 11/22/2009 6:17:35 PM
  • I love this! I only wish it was autimatically under Thursday's dinner in our nutritional planner. - 11/22/2009 10:02:21 AM
    Thank you for sharing, not only the menu itself, but also the recipes. Creating healthier, yet tasty, versions of favorite recipes is oftentimes a challenge - but you made it easy this time. Thank you again and Happy Thanksgiving!! - 11/17/2009 7:08:09 AM
  • Some great ideas here. I really appreciate the article. I do wish, however, there was some info on how to put that many dishes together for one meal. What can be made ahead, or at least partially prepped ahead?? I usually start prepping a couple days ahead and use crockpots to make day-of more managable. - 11/12/2009 5:11:27 PM

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