Diane May Nutrition Blog

How to Have a Guilt Free Thanksgiving

November 21st, 2015

Thanksgiving is one of the most challenging holidays when it comes to food. Whether you are with family (that you may or may not want to see) or are surrounded by foods that make your brain reel, There are ways to make it easier on yourself. Being prepared is key.

  • Try and eat something small, preferably with protein, before you head out to your holiday celebration. A non fat greek yogurt, low fat non fat cheese or a snack pack of almonds are all good choices. This way you won’t be starving when you first lay eyes on the holiday spread.
  • Think about the thing you are most excited to eat, and allow yourself a small portion without guilt.
  • Set boundaries. It’s ok not to eat something even if it was prepared with love.  If you do not enjoy a particular dish, do not eat it just because it might hurt someones feelings. If you won’t enjoy it, don’t consume it.
  • There are plenty of things to put on your plate guilt free-Turkey (white meat preferable), a variety of greens, roasted root vegetables, sweet potatoes, string beans, whole grains and salad. Stuffing, white potatoes and dessert are considered a treat. They aren’t off limits, just choose one!
  • Avoid passed appetizers, cheese plates and charcuterie. They are loaded with fat and calories and can be had anytime. Enjoy something seasonal and related to the day.
  • Pay attention to your alcohol consumption.  Start with water and as the day progresses, allow yourself a glass of wine, 1 light beer or a cocktail (without juice) of your choosing.
  • Prepare a guilt free dessert or a whole wheat stuffing (see below) to make even high calorie items healthier and therefor more guilt free.
  • Be mindful. If you find yourself overindulging ask yourself why? Are you upset, frustrated, bored, preoccupied?…. Food will not help those feelings. Enjoy your meal, but do not use it for comfort.

If you go into Thanksgiving with a plan-what you are going to eat, treat yourself to and how you will deal with possible emotional pitfalls (other than food and alcohol) you will feel more in control and satisfied. Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


Whole-Wheat Stuffing with Turkey Sausage

How to have a guilt free thanksgiving

  • PREP: 20 MINS



8 slices whole-wheat bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (7 to 8 cups) 
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 link (8 ounces) Italian turkey sausage, casing removed
  • 3 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh sage


Preheat oven to 200 degrees. Arrange bread on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until dried out, about 8 minutes. Let cool. 
  1. Raise oven temperature to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Brown sausage, breaking up meat with a wooden spatula, for 4 minutes. Stir in celery, garlic, and onion. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  2. Combine bread, sausage-vegetable mixture, stock, egg, parsley, thyme, and sage in a large bowl. Transfer stuffing to an 11-inch oval baking dish. Cover with parchment-lined foil. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn on broiler. Uncover stuffing, and broil 9 to 10 inches from heat source until top is golden brown and crunchy, about 1 minute. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

COOK’S NOTESTurkey sausage is the secret. It has 15 times less saturated fat than the traditional pork variety.Frozen Pumpkin Mousse Pie

how to have a guilt free thanksgiving

From EatingWell:  November/December 2007


Makes: 10 servings

Active Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes (including freezing time)




  • 30 small gingersnap cookies, (about 7 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons raisins
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 pints (4 cups) frozen low-fat vanilla ice cream, softened (see Tip)




  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a 9-inch deep-dish pie pan with cooking spray.
  2. To prepare crust: Combine gingersnaps and raisins in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add oil and pulse until blended. Press evenly into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan.
  3. Bake the crust until set, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  4. To prepare filling: Combine pumpkin, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix well. Add ice cream and stir until blended. Spoon the mixture into the cooled pie crust. Freeze until firm, at least 2 hours. Let the pie soften slightly in the refrigerator for 20 to 30 minutes before serving.


  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and freeze the pie for up to 3 days. | Equipment: 9-inch deep-dish pie pan
  • Tip: To soften ice cream quickly, microwave on Medium-Low for 30 to 60 seconds.
  • Storage smarts: For long-term freezer storage, wrap your food in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. The plastic will help prevent freezer burn while the foil will help keep off-odors from seeping into the food.


Per serving: 230 calories; 5 g fat (1 g sat, 2 g mono); 4 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrates; 4 g protein; 2 gfiber; 179 mg sodium; 165 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (80% daily value)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3