A Thinner Thanksgiving

Turkey day doesn’t have to leave you feeling like a stuffed turkey yourself.   I always say, stuff your face on the major holidays.  However, if you do that, then be ready for an over-eater’s hangover the very next day.  Probably one of the worst feelings I can think of.  However, it’s your choice and doing so on Thanksgiving will not hinder your weight loss at all, if you get back on the very next day. 

Either way, I have provided you with some dish alternatives to keep some of your options healthy that day.  Remember, your body is your temple.  So if you gorge it with all unhealthy food, then good luck explaining to your body that you really do love yourself cause your body will not be your BFF post-Thanksgiving. 

So here are some simple modifications to use for your Turkey Day if you wish to maximize your health even on one of the most festive family-oriented days of the year:

1)      Always serve a Salad of Gratitude

·         Salad of gratitude ingredients: Dark leafy greens, cucumber, tomatoes, jicama, sundried tomatoes, feta cheese (use sparingly), pumpkin seeds, red and orange diced bell peppers-yum!

2)      Thin Turkey

·         Must you stuff the turkey with butter or other saturated fat?  For a scrumptious taste, not necessarily.  Ever thought about BBQ your turkey on the grill?  Most of you love the BBQ so here is a trick to a yummy turkey that doesn’t add 1000 calories to your plate. 


12 lb turkey

Salt and pepper to taste

Italian seasoning

Olive oil


a)      Prepare your grill for a medium heat.  Too high will dry the turkey out.

b)      Rinse turkey.  Turn wings back to keep neck in place, and tuck the legs.  Brush the turkey with olive oil.  Season the turkey inside and out with the Italian seasoning and a dash of salt and pepper.  It is best to premix the seasoning to avoid too much salt.

c)       Place turkey breast side up on a metal grate inside of a large roasting pan.  Place the roasting pan directly on the grill.  Grill for 2-3 hours to an internal thigh temperature of 180 degrees F or 85 degrees C.  Remove turkey from the grill when fully cooked and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before carving it and enjoying it with 17 others. 

3)      Always serve 2  Cooked Vegetables (feel free to put these out as starters too):

·         Roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto

·         Grilled tri-colored bell peppers

·         Roasted carrots and spice and everything nice


1 lb. carrots, peeled and sliced in diagonal pieces

2 T olive oil

1/2 tsp. salt

Fresh ground black pepper

Spice Mix Ingredients:

(makes enough for 5 batches of roasted veggies)

2 tsp. ground cumin

1/2 tsp. chile powder

1/2 tsp. sweet paprika

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper

¼ tsp ground cloves


Preheat oven to 475F.  Wash and peel carrots and cut into pieces about 2 inches long, on a diagonal. Put carrots into plastic bowl and toss with olive oil, salt and fresh ground black pepper, and 1 tsp. of spice mix.

Cover shallow roasting pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. Arrange carrots in a single layer on pan. Roast 25-30 minutes, turning every 10 minutes, or until carrots are starting to brown and are slightly shriveled. Serve immediately.

4)      Mashed Sweet potatoes is certainly something to consider. 


5 lbs of sweet potatoes

1 small canister of smart balance light butter

Half container of low fat cream cheese

Half cup of half and half creamer

Either Tajin or Cinnamon, depending on what flavor you prefer

Yup, not the super healthiest dish, but certainly better that what you were thinking of.  And, who’s to say that you have to eat all 5 lbs of potatoes yourself?  Exactly, this portion is cut out for 10+ people.  Make sure you only use a scoop of this stuff. 

Always put your sauces on the side.  I would personally stick to the 2 tbsp rule for sauce.  Remember, overdoing it will only make you feel nausea.  If you are ok with that, then go on with your bad self, but don’t say that I didn’t make you think about it (mm hmmm).

Some other side dishes…

5)      Stuffing (the JZ Fitness way!)


Whole grain Ezekiel bread cut up into small squares (whole bag)

Crimini Mushrooms (Trader Joes sells bags of these-use 2 bags)

Whole organic celery stalk

Whole onion

Organic chicken broth

Fresh thyme

 Spread the bread pieces on a cookie pan and bake at 350 in the oven for 30 minutes. In the meanwhile, dice up the mushrooms and sauté them.  Cut the celery and onions into fine pieces and place into a mixing bowl.  Simmer organic chicken broth in a pot with fresh thyme.  Add the sautéed mushrooms and bread into the mixing bowl along with the broth.  Place all the contents in a casserole and cover it for 30 minutes.  Uncover the stuffing for the last 20 minutes, equaling approximately 40 minutes of cooking time at a 350 temperature.

6)      Cranberry Sauce (the JZ Fitness way!) Ditch the high sugar cranberry sauce and replace with it with Raspberry Jello.


One 3-ounce package sugar-free raspberry gelatin

One cup boiling water

One 16-ounce can low sugar cranberry sauce

Half cup chopped pecans


Combine gelatin and boiling water in a glass bowl, stirring until all gelatin is dissolved. Chill until mixture is the consistency similar to unbeaten egg white (about 45 minutes in refrigerator.) Stir in cranberry sauce and chopped pecans.


Spray square glass casserole dish with non-stick spray. Spoon mixture into dish, cover, and chill until firm, about 3 hours.

 7)      Garlic Green Beans with tomatoes, olives and capers instead of a bean casserole with fried onions:


Thin green beans (1 lb)

Fresh garlic chopped

8 kalamata olives chopped

Tomatoes chopped

2 tbsp capers

Fresh basil

In a skillet, sauté the green beans in 2 tbsp of olive oil.  Add in 2 tablespoons of water with the fresh cut tomatoes, olives, capers and garlic until beans are brought to a simmer for 20 minutes in the skillet with the lid on. Add the fresh basil in, with a dash of salt and pepper.  Serve hot, once the beans are soft enough.  Ditch the other bean casserole cause not only is it nasty tasting, but it is so fattening (save your calories for pumpkin pie already!)

8)      Pumpkin Pie –Just eat it and don’t feel guilty.  It’s Thanksgiving.  However, the day after Thanksgiving- get back on track with zero sweets-got it?  If you’re gonna have desert, it better be worth the calories.  There is nothing worse than having sugar and fat and saying to yourself, “I know that JZ told me I can binge today, but dang, this isn’t worth it!”  Dive into your favorite dessert and please, do NOT feel guilty.  We are supposed to eat junk food on the holiday. 

An amazing recommendation, worth the shipment, are Carousel Cakes in my hometown!  From pumpkin pie, to New York cheesecake and double chocolate chip cake.  Yes!  I have broken my chains of poor eating, but on Thanksgiving, give me a sample of each of those!

9)      To drink: AVOID beer!  It has more sugar than sugar.  You are better off drinking one of the following:

·         A glass of red or white wine

·         Vodka with club soda and a lime

·         Tea and brandy

Post holiday clean up can entail a trip to the gym, lots of fluids (water), and getting back on track to your low glycemic way of life.  Check out this video: