Navigating the Thanksgiving Plate by Diet

To boost your confidence going into your Thanksgiving meetups, we collected some plate picks for common eating plans.

Thanksgiving is a time to get together and indulge in tasty food. But if you’re trying to stick to a specific diet, it can be challenging to navigate the Thanksgiving plate. To boost your confidence going into your Thanksgiving meetups, we collected some plate picks for common eating plans. 

Navigate your Thanksgiving Plate: Lifesum Plans

Whether you’re looking to lean up, reduce your disease risk, or stick to plant-based eating, Lifesum offers a variety of plans adapted to your needs. Let’s learn some of the main principles of these plans and tips for how to navigate Thanksgiving with them.

High protein

The high protein plan focuses on extra protein to help build muscle and strength (1). It encourages natural, quality sources of protein, such as lean meat, chicken, turkey, eggs, fish, low-fat dairy, tofu, and beans.

This is an easy plan to incorporate for Thanksgiving, since the turkey tends to be the star of the holiday. To make sure your meal is packed with protein, serve yourself a good slice of turkey or main protein, and a side of protein packed-grains like quinoa, barley or beans. Focus on a low-fat dairy dish or a decaf latte for dessert.

Thanksgiving plate picks

  • Main: Turkey, fish, chicken, steak, tofu. 
  • Sides: Legumes, green peas or green beans. Consider Chickpea Balls with Quinoa as an appetizer.  
  • Dessert: Peanut butter base or baked goods with nuts such as Nutty Rice Treats, or yogurt with fruit.

Clean eating

The clean eating plan promotes whole foods with limited to no processed ones. Whole foods are close to how they’re found in nature, such as natural proteins (chicken, fish, tofu), whole grains, legumes, healthy fats (avocado, olives, nuts, seeds), fruits, and vegetables. Clean eating can naturally help regulate weight and promote wellbeing since processed foods with excess sugar, damaged fats, and artificial ingredients are avoided (2). 

The clean eating diet is easily incorporated into Thanksgiving, since the original harvest meal focused on clean foods such as deer, cod, porridge, and vegetables. To stick to clean eating, consider swapping out the stuffing for vegetables, take the marshmallows off the candied yams, and make dessert something simple like fruit. 

Thanksgiving plate picks


The goal of the ketogenic diet (keto) is to switch the main source of fuel the body uses. By restricting carbohydrates our bodies switch to using fat as fuel. In order to reach ketosis, it's recommended to have no more than 50 grams of carbs per day. Lifesum offers different levels of keto, according to your preference and goals. 

For Thanksgiving, this means focusing on healthy fats, meat, and low-carb vegetables and some berries. Go for the fatty cuts of turkey or meat, such as the wings or thighs, avoid carb dishes such as mashed potatoes or stuffing, and get creative with keto friendly desserts. 

Thanksgiving plate picks

  • Main: Dark meat turkey, fatty fish such as salmon, beef. 
  • Sides: Green salad with oil for dressing, mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice. 
  • Dessert: Coconut oil or peanut butter based recipe, such as a coconut chia pudding, or something savory such as Cheese Crisps


The vegan diet promotes eating plant foods while avoiding all animal and animal-derived products. When well-planned and prepared for, plant-based foods can provide our body with the nutrients it needs. The key is to include a wide variety of whole foods, focusing on a blend of plant-based protein sources. A perk of a plant-based Thanksgiving, is you’ll be giving your body lots of nutrients and fiber for cost-effective disease prevention (3). 

For Thanksgiving, simply swap out turkey or other meaty dishes for beans, tofu, legumes, whole grains, and vegetables. Consider that gravy is an animal product and many common dishes are made with butter. Swap out plant-based milks for cream and olive oil or coconut oil for butter. 

Thanksgiving plate picks

Dessert: Sparkling sorbet, chocolate and coffee mousse, or mango panna cotta recipes from Lifesum.


The Mediterranean diet focuses on vitamin and mineral rich foods with healthy fats. The healthy fats come from fish, nuts, and plant oils, and vitamins and minerals from beans, lentils, vegetables, and whole grains. It encourages less processed foods and limited amounts of meat. One of the main benefits is that it naturally decreases inflammation in the body, preventing some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases (4). 

To adapt Thanksgiving to the Mediterranean diet, focus on wholesome foods by making your own dishes from scratch. Whenever possible, swap refined grains, such as white bread, for whole grains. Load up on vegetables, fruits, and plant-based protein such as beans.

Thanksgiving plate picks

  • Main: Turkey, fish, or beans.
  • Sides: Cooked vegetables such as pumpkin or green beans, quinoa, or baked potatoes. 
  • Dessert: Fruit and unsweetened yogurt or Almond and Apple Muffins

For more Thanksgiving inspiration tailored to your preferences and goals, download the Lifesum app.

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All of the content and media on Lifesum is created and published for information purposes only. It is not intended to be used as a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Users should always consult with a doctor or other health care professional for medical advice. If you have or think you are at risk of developing an eating disorder, do not use the Lifesum app and seek immediate medical help.