Open Accessibility Menu

How to Have a Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving

  • Posted On:
How to Have a Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving


Nov 2014, 11. (2014, November 11). Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Tips. You’re the Cure.

Slotkin, RD, LDN, E. (2021, September 6). 7 Tips for a Low-Cholesterol, Heart-Healthy Thanksgiving Meal. Verywell Health.

It’s that time of year again. Soon we’ll be sharing the annual great American feast with loved ones and friends. Here are a few tips on tweaking your family recipes to be a little more heart healthy this season.

Start With Superfoods

Plan to include plenty of low-cholesterol superfoods in your Thanksgiving dinner menu. Heart-healthy foods include vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains.

Try healthy substitutes

We love family recipes, and these simple tricks make them better for you and your family’s heart health (without totally changing the taste).

For baking:

  • Instead of butter, substitute equal parts cinnamon-flavored, no-sugar-added applesauce.

  • Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie sugar substitute.

  • Instead of whole or heavy cream, substitute low-fat or skim milk.

  • Instead of using only white flour, use half white and half whole-wheat 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.

While you’re cooking:

  • Use vegetable oils such as olive oil instead of butter (even in your mashed potatoes).

  • Use herbs and spices, like rosemary and cloves, to flavor dishes instead of butter and salt.

  • Use whole-grain breads and pastas instead of white.

  • Bake, grill or steam vegetables instead of frying.

  • Follow the same rules as baking when it comes to whole or heavy cream

Prepare vegetables, eat a balanced meal

Now that you’ve prepared some of your Thanksgiving meal with healthy substitutes, prepare yourself a balanced plate of all your favorite holiday foods, starting with a salad and vegetables. Eating your veggies will ensure you get the nutrients you need and will help fill you up so you don’t overload on the foods your body needs less of, such as rolls, stuffing and pie.

Increase physical activity

Increase your physical activity over Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season to combat the extra calories and additional stress. Go for a family walk after each meal or gathering. Play catch with your kids. Take just 40 minutes for yourself and go to the gym to release endorphins your body needs to stay healthy.

Get your beauty sleep

Part of living a heart-healthy lifestyle means getting enough sleep. Why? Because your quality of sleep can impact your heart health. The American Heart Association recommends adults get six to eight hours of sleep per night. Over the holiday, get into bed early to give yourself enough time to wind down after your day and to fall asleep faster and more soundly.

If you have heart issues or a family history of heart disease, we have good news: Campbell County Health Cardiology is ready to help.

The cardiac care team includes our Board Certified Cardiologists, nurse practitioners, registered nurses in the Clinic, as well as a team of registered nurses and technicians in the Cardiac Cath Lab and Cardiac Rehabilitation. Visit our website at to learn more.

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Cardiology