Clean Eating on Thanksgiving: Recipes & Diet Tips

Clean Eating Turkey

What do turkey, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and eggs have in common? They’re all whole, nutrient dense foods, supported by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA’s). However, once a year these foods are transformed into casseroles, appetizers and pies. Thanksgiving is the holiday of abundance – with excess sodium, sugar, and saturated fat on the dinner table.

This can pose a problem for Americans trying to “eat clean.” While there is no clear definition of clean eating, it is generally accepted to be a diet emphasizing whole, unprocessed ingredients.1 It is also consistent with current dietary recommendations, highlighting the importance of overall healthful eating, rather than removal of calories or specific nutrients. In this blog post, we’ll offer portion control tips for the family with our clean-eating Thanksgiving recipes:

Deviled Eggs
Clean eating starts with the appetizers. Eggs are a great option, as they are high in protein, provide natural portion control, and can improve satiey.2 Clean Eating Tip: substitute mayonnaise with whole avocados, as seen in this recipe from the American Egg Board.

Cranberry Sauce
Fresh cranberry sauce is simple to make and can be prepared days in advance. Cooking from scratch also allows you to control the amount of sugar being added to dishes. Clean Eating Tip: use fresh orange juice and zest to sweeten the cranberries.

Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are a nutrient dense whole food and a good source of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.3 Marshmallows are not. Clean Eating Tip: roast sweet potatoes with olive oil, garlic and cinnamon to bring out their natural flavors!

The DGA’s recommend that Americans make half their grains whole grains. Most cornbread recipes can be adjusted to fit this guideline. Clean Eating Tip: When selecting a cornmeal, look for products that have “whole grain cornmeal” listed as the first ingredient. You can also substitute white flour with whole wheat flour in most recipes.

Have any tips or tricks for eating clean around the holidays? Let us know on Twitter @EggNutrition




1. Flynn, Kathleen. Talking to Clients About Cleanse Diets. Weight Management Matters. 2016.
2. Leidy, HJ, PM Clifton, A Astrup, TP Wycherley, MS Westerterp-Plantenga, ND Luscobe-Marsh SC Woods, and RD Mattes. The role of protein in weight loss and maintenance. Am J Clin Nutr 2015;101(6):1311S-1315S.
3. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current: September 2015, slightly revised May 2016.


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