Before you get too excited, these challenges do not involve seeing how many piece of pumpkin pie you can eat! Instead, these challenges are simply considerations to keep in mind as you are planning your Thanksgiving meal. I realize that Thanksgiving is only one day out of the year, with gluttony and laziness being part of the fun, but…use these challenges to make your Thanksgiving a happy, and healthy holiday feast!

  1. Make it colorful. Consider the traditional Thanksgiving dinner – turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pie. That’s a lot of white and brown. Make your meal both beautiful and more nutritious by including a rainbow of color. Emphasize the colorful holiday favorites like deep orange sweet potatoes, dark green collard greens, and bright red cranberries, or add in a new vegetable side to brighten up the meal. No one says you have to stick to only traditional foods! Think roasted beet salad, Brussel sprouts with pecans, or arugula with goat cheese. While your family might protest an entire re-vamp of the Thanksgiving meal, even adding a simple green side salad can balance your meal and incorporate more color.
  2. Lighten up a traditional favorite. Green bean casserole, pecan pie, buttery mashed potatoes—there’s a reason that the average person consumes more than 2,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner! This year, find a recipe that uses a little less sugar, salt, and saturated fat and it’s likely you won’t even notice the difference. Or, you may find you like the new version better! Here are a few of my favorites:
  1. Incorporate Montana-made foods. Some of the holiday’s most popular foods are made right here in Montana. Support the local economy by using locally produced items such as pumpkin, winter squash, potatoes, carrots, greens, onions, and wheat in your Thanksgiving meal. Even the star of the show—that big, fat, delicious turkey—can be sourced locally.
  2. Make someone else’s Thanksgiving a happy, healthy one as well. Invite someone to dinner who may not have another place to go. Donate money, food, and/or time to the local food bank. Thank the people who have to work on Thanksgiving to keep us safe or to allow us to make that last minute grocery store run.
  3. Stump your dining companions with one of these fun Thanksgiving trivia questions.
  • Q: What percentage of a typical turkey is white meat vs dark meat?
    • A: 70% white meat, 30% dark meat
  • Q: What is the average weight of a turkey purchased for Thanksgiving dinner?
    • A: 16 pounds
  • Q: When was Thanksgiving declared a national holiday? And by which President?
    • A: 1863, Abraham Lincoln
  •  Q: Name the top pumpkin-producing state in the U.S.
    • A: Illinois
  • Q: What percentage of cranberries eaten in the U.S. are eaten on Thanksgiving?
    • A: 20%

MUS Wellness wishes everyone a safe and enjoyable holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!


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