What Do Nutritionists Eat on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is fast approaching, which for many means a meal of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more. It is important to enjoy this time with your family, but you can still stay on a healthy track while enjoying your favorite foods.

Dana-Farber nutritionists share what they cook at Thanksgiving to put a healthy spin on holiday classics.

Curried butternut squash soup


This soup is full of phytonutrients, potassium, beta-carotene, and fiber, and a staple for Dana-Farber Nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, LDN. The turmeric and black pepper provide the added benefit of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.

Roasted rainbow carrots


Roasted rainbow carrots from Mae Reilly, MS, RD, LDN, CNSC, make a colorful addition to any Thanksgiving table. Carrots are naturally low in calories, high in fiber, and packed with immune-supporting phytonutrients. Peel and slice the carrots, then toss with olive oil, ½ tsp of cumin, ½ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, and some salt and pepper. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and enjoy.

Loaded stuffed sweet potatoes


Sweet potatoes have long been a presence at many Thanksgiving tables, and have many health benefits, but are often covered in marshmallows, adding unnecessary sugar. Kennedy’s sweet potato recipe showcases the vegetable’s natural nutritional value, and she adds protein- and iron-rich black beans, Vitamin C-packed red pepper, salsa, avocado, and tomato to load this dish with nourishment.

Cran-chevre relish


Emily Elizabeth Biever, MS, RD, LDN, puts a healthy twist on cranberry relish by combining fruits rich in anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. She adds flavor and nutrition to this appetizer with protein- and calcium-rich chevre, and walnuts for protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Roasted pepper and red quinoa soup


Roasting vegetables helps highlight their natural, rich flavors, and brings some warmth to the table. Kennedy adds protein-rich quinoa and Vitamin C-packed tomatoes and peppers to make this hearty soup.