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Healthy Thanksgiving Tips

Matthew Szenderski 11/26/2013
Matthew Szenderski

Gobble! Gobble! – Healthy tips to minimize weight gain and promote a healthy Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Believe it or not, Thanksgiving is upon us. It won’t be long before we are wrapping gifts and ringing in the New Year. The average American gains anywhere between 3 and 7 pounds during the holiday season. So as we enter into this caloric tidal wave called the holidays, what can you do to prevent unwanted weight gain and promote overall total health?

Try these easy holiday tips to help navigate this first caloric hurdle we refer to as Thanksgiving:

  • Thanksgiving PoundsPractice portion control. The recommended portion size for a piece of meat is 3-4ounces. The recommended portion size for a side dish, such as mashed potatoes, cranberry, and stuffing, is the size of your fist or a deck of cards. Be mindful of the portions you are consuming during holiday meals.
  • Avoid the skin of the turkey, where a majority of the fat is contained. White meat is generally lower in calories, and healthier than dark meat.
  • Stay hydrated! To help avoid unnecessary snacking, use water as an appetite suppressant.
  • Bring a healthy dish to the party! While pumpkin pie is fun it isn’t mandatory. Try a relish tray or fruit plate providing healthy options for your fellow party goers.
  • Move the party out of the dining room after dinner to avoid second or third helpings.
  • Stay fit! Make sure to fit in physical activity the morning or afternoon before a large holiday meal or party. Don’t suspend your exercise until January!

Try this fun and healthy recipe with your leftovers from Thanksgiving dinner.

Bird to the Last Drop (Recipe courtesy Alton Brown of the Food Network)


2  quarts vegetable stock

1  turkey carcass

1  (10-ounce) box frozen mixed vegetables

½  cup long grain rice

2  cups cubed cooked turkey

1  teaspoon crab boil seasoning (recommended: Old Bay)

2  teaspoons dried thyme

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Directions: Combine the vegetable stock and the turkey carcass in a 6 to 8-quart pot. Push down the carcass so that is mostly covered by the liquid. Cover, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Adjust the heat to maintain a simmer and cook for 1 hour. After an hour, remove the carcass, and add the vegetables, rice, turkey, crab boil seasoning, and thyme. Cover again and simmer for an additional 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Perfect side: Caesar salad.