Thanksgiving Day: Celebrating the gift of health with family and friends

Thanksgiving is a highly anticipated American tradition when family and friends come together for a celebratory feast Photo: ap

SAN DIEGO, November 19, 2013 — Recognized as a special day to express gratitude for life’s many blessings, Thanksgiving is a highly anticipated American tradition when family and friends come together for a celebratory feast.

The traditional Thanksgiving Day meal features a glorious turkey as the centerpiece, accompanied by splendid offerings of soups, salads, gravies, stuffing, potatoes, and various other side-dishes, desserts and delicacies.

SEE RELATED: Holiday Recipe: Simple tips for cooking a Thanksgiving turkey

Thanksgiving with friends and family.

It is entirely possible to consume as much as 3,000 calories while enjoying a Thanksgiving Day meal.

For the health conscious American, and for those with health challenges such as diabetes and heart disease, navigating the food choices available on Thanksgiving Day can be very difficult.

The Mayo Clinic offers a variety of appealing and enjoyable menu suggestions for preparing a healthier version of a traditional Thanksgiving feast:

SEE RELATED: Holiday Recipe: From scratch green bean casserole for Thanksgiving

Soups and Salads:

Pumpkin soup

Wild rice mushroom soup

Apple salad with figs and almonds

SEE RELATED: Recipe for fall-inspired drink at the Blue Duck Lounge

Salad greens with pears, fennel and walnuts

Turkey and Stuffing:

Herb-rubbed turkey with au jus

Roasted turkey breast with fruit stuffing

Turkey gravy

Stuffing with cranberries

Wild rice (or quinoa) stuffing

Side Dishes:

Honey-glazed sweet potatoes

Garlic mashed potatoes

Cauliflower “mashed potatoes”

Acorn squash with apples

Healthy Desserts:

Pumpkin cream cheese dip

Tasty apple pie

Rustic apple-cranberry tart

The suggested menu items offered by the Mayo Clinic are modified with ingredients to ensure low-fat, low-sodium, low-sugar, and low-calorie fare.

To get some of the Thanksgiving Day recipes offered by the Mayo Clinic, go to

When it comes to sweets on Thanksgiving Day, there are a variety of sugar substitutes available which lower the calorie content of foods for those who are weight-conscious or diabetic. They may be used in cooking, baking, desserts, and drinks.

You can find these sugar supplements at most grocery stores. Be certain to read the labels of any substitutes you find to ensure that you know the most appropriate ways to use them.

Several additional methods of modifying traditional Thanksgiving Day dishes are available which help ensure they are made in the most healthful way possible:

-Substitute non-fat soups for dishes requiring full-fat ones.

-Instead of using cream or whole milk, use skim milk or chicken broth.

-Substitute a low-fat butter alternative whenever possible.

-Instead of using heavy whipping cream as topping, use light whipped topping.

-Low-salt or non-salt alternatives are ideal instead of regular salt.

It is estimated that approximately 14% of Americans will gain 5 to 10 pounds during the holiday season, starting on Thanksgiving Day and lasting through New Year’s Eve.

Though the majority of Americans will gain less than five pounds throughout the holiday season, “The bad news is that weight gained over the winter holidays isn’t lost the rest of the year,” according to Dr. Jack A. Yanovski, an investigator for the National Institute of Health’s Child Health and Human Development Department.

Being overweight can lead to many debilitating and even life threatening diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and many more.

Family and friends will enjoy sharing the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of a splendid Thanksgiving Day celebration, knowing that the preparation and planning was done with thoughtfulness, concern and caring.

This Thanksgiving Day, may all Americans express thankfulness for the gift of good health, and the inherent opportunity to maintain and improve it.


Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at; on Facebook at, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate


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