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by Erika Albertini, PT, DPT November 17, 2023 11 min read

Mindful Thanksgiving: Blending Celebration with Healthy Choices


Thanksgiving, a time for gratitude and family, often centers around indulgent meals. Traditional dishes like roasted turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are delicious but can be high in calories, fats, and sugars. For instance, a typical Thanksgiving meal can contain over 3,000 calories, far exceeding the daily recommended intake. However, the essence of the holiday is not about restriction but about enjoying these foods mindfully.

To savor the holiday's offerings healthily, the blog introduces the concept of mindful eating. It's about relishing each bite and making conscious food choices. Serving yourself smaller portions, chewing slowly, and being present in the moment can enhance the dining experience and prevent overeating. It's not just about the food but also about enjoying the company and creating lasting memories.

Balancing your Thanksgiving plate is also crucial. Filling half of it with vegetables, a quarter with whole grains, and a quarter with lean protein like turkey can ensure a nutritious meal. For those not keen on the taste of vegetables or dealing with picky eaters, Rewind Greens super greens powder offers a versatile solution. It can be mixed into various dishes, enriching them with essential nutrients and making them more palatable. Making healthy swaps in traditional recipes, like using natural sweeteners or whole-grain alternatives, can also maintain the deliciousness of the meal while adhering to health goals. Lastly, incorporating physical activities like morning walks, backyard games, or yoga into your Thanksgiving Day can create a balance between indulgence and a healthy lifestyle.

Understanding Thanksgiving Indulgences

Thanksgiving, a time of gratitude and family gatherings, is synonymous with indulgence. Traditional dishes like roasted turkey, stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie are staples of this festive feast. However, these foods are often high in calories, fats, and sugars.

According to the Calorie Control Council (yeah, that’s a real thing), a typical Thanksgiving meal can contain a whopping 3,150 calories and 159 grams of fat! This is significantly higher than an average adult's 2,000-2,500 recommended daily caloric intake. For instance, a slice of pumpkin pie is not just pumpkin and spice; it alone contains about 323 calories and 13 grams of fat. Similarly, a serving of green bean casserole can have up to 230 calories and 9 grams of fat.

While indulging on special occasions is part of the joy of celebrations, understanding these numbers is crucial in maintaining a balance. The key isn’t to avoid these foods but to enjoy them mindfully, ensuring that Thanksgiving remains a day of gratitude, not guilt.

Stay tuned as we explore how to savor the holiday’s delicious offerings while keeping health in mind. Let’s turn this Thanksgiving into a celebration of yumminess without compromising your wellness journey.

Mindful Eating During the Holidays

Mindful eating during Thanksgiving isn’t about restriction; it’s about savoring each bite and making conscious food choices. A study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that mindful eating can lead to a healthier relationship with food and improved digestion.

To practice mindful eating, start by serving yourself smaller portions. This allows you to enjoy a variety of dishes without overeating. Chew slowly, noticing and savoring the flavors and textures of each bite. It's like being a food critic at your dinner table! This practice enhances the dining experience and gives your body time to signal fullness, preventing overindulgence.

Another key to eating mindfully is knowing when we eat based on our emotions. Holidays can be a rollercoaster of feelings, and sometimes we eat just because we're riding that wave. Being mindful means pausing and asking, 'Am I hungry, or is this just my reaction to Aunt Edna’s third recount of her vacation?' Recognizing these patterns can help in making more thoughtful food choices.

Most importantly, be in the now; be present at the moment. Thanksgiving is as much about the company as it is about the food. Engage in conversations, enjoy the ambiance, and create memories. This holistic approach to the holiday meal can satisfy both the palate and the soul.

Balancing the Plate

Creating a balanced Thanksgiving plate is about proportion, variety, and nutrition. Harvard's Healthy Eating Plate recommends filling half your plate with vegetables (and fruit), a quarter with whole grains, and a quarter with protein.  

Let’s start with the veggies – they’re the stars of your plate. Fill half of it with delicious choices like roasted Brussels sprouts, a vibrant carrot salad, or a fresh green leafy salad. These aren’t just tasty; they’re your nutritional powerhouses, low in calories but rich in all the good stuff your body loves: fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

But what if you're not a big fan of the taste of veggies or have picky eaters like kids at your table? No problem! This is where Rewind Greens super greens powder shines. It's a fantastic alternative for meeting your veggie intake. You can easily mix Rewind Greens into soups, sauces, or Thanksgiving gravies. It's a simple yet ingenious way to pack in those essential nutrients without the veggie taste. Another option is blending Rewind Greens into a Thanksgiving-themed smoothie or juice, which is an excellent choice. Not only does it offer a super boost of nutrients, but it also makes consuming veggies enjoyable and effortless. Check out our Thanksgiving Harvest Smoothie recipe below. 

Next up, let’s talk turkey – the lean kind. Go for the skinless, white meat. It's a fantastic source of protein without the extra fat. Think of a portion about the size of a deck of cards – perfect for savoring without overdoing it.

For the remaining quarter of your plate, swap out traditional stuffing for something like quinoa or brown rice. These grains are the unsung nutrition heroes, packing fiber and essential nutrients without the calorie-heavy punch of regular stuffing.

Remember, the goal is not to deprive yourself; the goal here is balance – creating a plate that satisfies your taste buds and health goals.

Balancing the plate: ½ veggies and fruit, ¼ lean protein, ¼ whole grains

Healthy Swaps for Traditional Favorites

Making healthy swaps for traditional Thanksgiving dishes allows you to enjoy the season's flavors without the added calories and fat. It's all about keeping those yummy tastes and making them healthier. The American Heart Association provides numerous recommendations for healthier alternatives, and we added some of our favorites to the list. 


  • Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce.
  • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie plant-based sugar substitute.
  • Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat, skim, or plant-based milk or cream.
  • Instead of using only white flour, use (gluten-free) half-white and half-whole-wheat flour or an alternative flour like coconut or almond flour.
  • Instead of adding chocolate chips or candies, use dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • Use extracts like vanilla, almond, and peppermint to add flavor instead of sugar or butter.


  • Use olive, coconut, or avocado oils instead of seed oils. Or if using butter, make sure it is organic and void of rBGH hormones. 
  • Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes.
  • Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white.
  • Bake, grill, or steam vegetables instead of frying.
  • Instead of whole milk or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or fat-free/skim milk or coconut cream.

For example:

Green bean casserole, a Thanksgiving staple, can be made healthier by using fresh green beans and mushrooms instead of canned ones and baking them with a sprinkle of almonds instead of fried onions. This not only cuts down on calories but also enhances the nutritional value.

Candied yams glisten with caramelized refined sugars. The easiest swap? Peel, chop, and bake some organic yams or sweet potatoes and season them with a little natural butter and coconut sugar. It is an unrefined and much healthier option than brown sugar.

For sweetness in your cranberry sauce or desserts, consider natural sweeteners like honey or pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar. These alternatives offer a more complex flavor and contain more nutrients than plain sugar.

Consider baking a pumpkin pie with an almond flour crust and a filling sweetened with dates for dessert. This offers a delicious, lower-carb alternative to traditional pumpkin pie.

In addition to these healthy swaps, supercharge your Thanksgiving recipes with an extra boost of nutrients by adding Rewind Greens super greens powder. This versatile superfood blend can be seamlessly incorporated into various dishes, enhancing their nutritional profile without compromising taste. Even your pumpkin pie can benefit from a dash of these super greens in the filling, adding a healthful twist to your dessert and a significant upgrade in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

These swaps allow you to enjoy your holiday favorites while keeping your health and wellness goals in mind.

Staying Active on Thanksgiving

Incorporating physical activity into your Thanksgiving Day can balance out the holiday indulgences. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emphasizes the numerous benefits of regular physical activity, which include maintaining a healthy weight, reducing the risk of chronic diseases, and improving mental health.

A morning walk or jog can be a great way to start Thanksgiving Day. It’s like saying ‘good morning’ to your body and gives you time to think about all the good things in your life. If you're hosting, encourage your guests to join you for a post-meal walk. This not only aids digestion but also provides a moment to enjoy each other's company away from the hustle and bustle of the kitchen.

How about a fun football game in the yard or a cool scavenger hunt for those with kids? These games make exercise fun and keep everyone laughing and moving. You can even try some yoga or simple stretching. This is enjoyable for people of all ages and helps everyone feel relaxed.

Remember, the goal of staying active on Thanksgiving isn't about burning off every calorie consumed. It's about creating joyful memories and embracing a healthier lifestyle in the most enjoyable way possible.

The key to lasting memories lies in the joy of the heart, the most essential ingredient of all.


Thanksgiving is a celebration that traditionally brings indulgent meals to our tables, but it doesn't have to compromise our health goals. By embracing mindful eating and making conscious food choices, we can enjoy the holiday's delicious offerings without the guilt. Incorporating healthier alternatives like Rewind Greens super greens powder into our dishes is a smart way to enhance the nutritional value of our Thanksgiving feast. Additionally, staying active through simple exercises or fun activities can help balance the day's indulgences. 

This Thanksgiving, let's create a harmonious blend of celebration and healthy choices, making the holiday a truly nourishing experience for both our bodies and souls. Remember, Thanksgiving is about gratitude, togetherness, and savoring each moment, all while maintaining a mindful approach to our health and well-being.


Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffing


1 cup quinoa, rinsed

2 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 diced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


In a saucepan, bring quinoa and vegetable broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

In a skillet, heat olive oil and sauté onion and garlic until translucent.

Mix cooked quinoa, sautéed onion, cranberries, and walnuts—season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm as a healthy stuffing alternative.

Garlic Green Beans


1 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 tbsp olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste


Blanch green beans in boiling water for 3 minutes, then plunge into ice water.

Heat olive oil in a skillet and sauté garlic until fragrant.

Add green beans to the skillet, tossing to coat with garlic and oil—season with salt and pepper.

Cook until beans are tender-crisp. Serve warm.


Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping


4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped pecans


Boil sweet potatoes until tender, then mash with almond milk, maple syrup, and cinnamon.

Spread the mixture in a baking dish.

Sprinkle with chopped pecans.

Bake at 350°F (175°C) for 20 minutes or until the topping is golden brown.

Thanksgiving Harvest Smoothie with Rewind Greens


1 scoop Rewind Greens super greens powder

1 cup almond milk (unsweetened)

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)

1 medium banana, frozen

1/2 apple, cored and chopped

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

A pinch of ground nutmeg

1 tablespoon almond butter

1 tablespoon flaxseeds or chia seeds (optional for added nutrition)

Ice cubes (as needed)


Prepare Ingredients: Ensure the banana is frozen ahead of time for a creamier texture. If you’re using flaxseeds or chia seeds, have them ready.

Blend the Base: In a blender, combine the almond milk, pumpkin puree, frozen banana, and chopped apple. Blend these until smooth.

Add Flavors and Greens: Add the ground cinnamon, nutmeg, almond butter, and the scoop of Rewind Greens super greens powder. If you’re using flaxseeds or chia seeds, add them now for an extra health boost.

Adjust Consistency: If the smoothie is too thick, you can add a little more almond milk or water. If it’s too thin, add a few ice cubes and blend again to reach your desired consistency.

Blend Until Smooth: Continue blending until all the ingredients are well combined and the smoothie has a smooth, even texture.

Taste and Adjust: Give your smoothie a quick taste. If you want it sweeter, you can add a drizzle of honey or maple syrup, although the natural sweetness of the Rewind Greens and fruits may be enough.

Serve Immediately: Pour the smoothie into a glass and enjoy! This Thanksgiving Harvest Smoothie is a delightful, nutritious way to start your Thanksgiving day or as a healthy snack during the festivities.

FAQ Section

Q1: How can I enjoy traditional Thanksgiving flavors without overloading on calories?

A: To enjoy traditional Thanksgiving flavors without the extra calories, consider making smart substitutions in your recipes. For example, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream in your dips and casseroles. This swap provides a creamy texture with fewer calories and more protein. Opt for natural sweeteners like stevia, monk fruit, or coconut sugar in your desserts and sauces. These changes allow you to indulge in the classic tastes of Thanksgiving while keeping your meal healthier.

Q2: What are some easy tips for mindful eating during Thanksgiving?

A: Start with smaller portions to enjoy a variety of dishes. Chew slowly and truly taste each bite. Also, be conscious of emotional eating; ask yourself if you're hungry or bored/stressed before reaching for seconds. This way, you can fully enjoy your meal without overindulging.

Q3: How can I ensure my Thanksgiving plate is balanced and nutritious?

A: Follow the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate guideline: fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein like turkey breast, and the remaining quarter with whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. This balance ensures you get a mix of essential nutrients without compromising taste.

Q4: What are some healthy alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving ingredients?

A: For healthier alternatives, try baking with almond flour and sweetening with dates for desserts like pumpkin pie. Swap out heavy creams with low-fat or plant-based milk, and use olive or coconut oil instead of seed oils for cooking. These swaps maintain the deliciousness while boosting the nutritional value of your dishes.

Q5: How can I stay active and healthy on Thanksgiving Day?

A: Start your day with a morning walk or jog. After the meal, go for a gentle stroll with your guests. For families with kids, organize backyard games or a scavenger hunt. Simple activities like yoga or stretching can keep you active and contribute to a healthier Thanksgiving experience.

Take Action

  1. Plan Your Menu Mindfully: Start planning your Thanksgiving menu with the tips and recipes discussed in mind. Balance traditional favorites with healthy alternatives.
  2. Experiment with Recipes: Test the healthy Thanksgiving recipes shared, including the delicious Rewind Greens smoothie, before the big day.
  3. Engage in Mindful Celebration: Commit to enjoying the holiday mindfully. Focus on the joy of the food and the company, balancing indulgence with healthy habits.


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