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Maintaining a 20-25 total net carbohydrate gram limit per day is a challenge, even when you are carefully following the keto diet. The holidays present a whole new set of issues with lots of high-carbohydrate dishes calling your name. But, it is possible to navigate your keto Thanksgiving successfully.
Tips for a Low-Carb Thanksgiving
When you are invited to Thanksgiving dinner this is especially challenging. So, how can you manage this challenge?
You need a plan. A plan for what and how much you will eat.
A good way to control what you eat on Thanksgiving or really at any meal is to plan your plate.
1. Plan Your Keto Plate Portions
What I mean by that is to think about the food you will choose to include on your plate and how much of that food you will eat.
Separate your plate into three sections will help you do this.
1. Almost every dinner will include a leafy green salad or a steamed low carbohydrate vegetable such as broccoli or cauliflower. Plan to fill half your plate with these vegetables. This will help manage your carbohydrates.
2. Add turkey or other protein to equal approximately 1/4 of your plate. Ideally, this portion would be 4-5 ounces or roughly a portion that fits in the palm of your hand.
3. Lastly, fill the final quarter or portion of your plate with other low-carbohydrate options offered at the meal. Include:
- a savory deviled egg,
- vegetable sticks,
- cheese cubes,
- a small handful of nuts.
You might also save a bit of this section to include a tablespoon of your favorite high carbohydrate dishes that make Thanksgiving important.
A tablespoon of that high carbohydrate dish that you can't resist, is a lot better than a portion that will push you out of ketosis for days.
Dessert? Well, that is tough. If offered, enjoy berries with a dollop of whipped cream or bring a fat bomb or two from home to enjoy as a sweet treat.
2. Don't Go to Dinner Hungry
When planning what you will eat on your keto Thanksgiving, it is important to not go to dinner hungry.
Don't try and save all your food just for that meal.
Instead, enjoy a fat bomb or two prior to the meal. Munch on some low-carbohydrate vegetables or enjoy a hard-boiled egg.
Enjoying a snack before dinner will help manage your hunger so you are in control of your eating.
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes
When you are hosting the holiday dinner you have a lot more control over recipes. You can include some keto Thanksgiving recipes that will be lower carbohydrate and keto-friendly.
Everyone loves appetizers and they are often key in keeping the hungry wolves at bay when you are preparing a major meal like Thanksgiving.
Make sure and include low-carbohydrate options for your guests. Check out the following simple ideas:
- a platter of cheeses, with sausage, is a good start,
- a platter of chopped vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, bell pepper strips, celery, and carrot sticks
- a flavorful Greek Yogurt dill dip
- a tray of Mediterranean meatballs
- a tray of Mediterranean deviled eggs
Almost every Thanksgiving meal will include turkey.
Turkey is a protein and as such is a low carbohydrate food. Feel free to enjoy a healthy portion of 4-5 ounces.
Hosting a small dinner? Consider a Bone-in Oven-Baked Turkey Breast. Moist and flavorful, ready in a flash, this turkey breast is perfect for a group of 4-5 guests.
Cranberry Sauce Recipes
Cranberries are a low-carbohydrate food but, they are tart and in fact very sour.
Because of this, most recipes add a cup of sugar or more to balance the tartness.
To avoid sugar, there are many sugar substitutes that work in a cranberry sauce recipe. This recipe for Homemade Cranberry Sauce is a great example. A serving is just 4 net carbohydrates.
Prefer to avoid sugar substitutes? My recipe for Healthy Cranberry Sauce is a better alternative that includes honey which has a lower glycemic index.
This means that honey has less impact on blood sugar than cane sugar. But, it is still sugar and this recipe should be limited to no more than a tablespoon serving.
Sweet Potato Recipes
One of the other most popular recipes at Thanksgiving is Sweet Potatoes.
Unfortunately, sweet potatoes are a root vegetable and have a higher amount of carbohydrates.
But, if Thanksgiving dinner just isn't right without sweet potatoes, then consider this recipe for Sweet Potatoes with Apples and Onions. Limit your portion of this starchy vegetable to a tablespoon or two.
This is a healthier option and more keto-friendly than other traditional sweet potato dishes loaded with brown sugar and marshmallows.
Not a sweet potato fan? Consider Honey Glazed Carrots with Celery. Just a hint of honey flavors this colorful dish.
Vegetable Side Dish Recipe
The best vegetable side dishes for keto are steamed broccoli or cauliflower. You can also make a dish called CauliMash. This flavorful dish is a great substitute for high carbohydrate mashed potatoes. Filled with flavorful fats, it will help you get your daily fat grams.
Another dish that takes broccoli and cauliflower to the next level, is Cauliflower and Broccoli in Cheese Sauce. Strictly the following keto diet? Limit your portion to one tablespoon on your plate.
Want to keep fats high in your diet, include flavorful Creamed Spinach.
Leafy Green Salad
It's always a good idea to include a leafy green salad, filled with celery, cucumbers, a few tomatoes, and cheese. Dress in white wine vinegar and extra virgin olive.
Below are other lower carbohydrate salad dressing recipes to add flavor to your greens.
For a special salad, consider serving an Apple Salad with Pecans. This is a flavorful salad, full of crisp celery, cucumber, toasted pecans, a few grapes, sliced apple, and salty feta cheese. Dress with balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing.
The Apple Salad with Pecans does include grapes and sliced apple which are higher carbohydrate fruits. Consider swapping them out for strawberries and blueberries for a lower carbohydrate option.
For dessert serve a dish of fresh berries with a dollop of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted chopped nuts.
Another special treat to serve is a No-Bake Chocolate Cookie by Southern Plate. All the flavor with just 4.5 net carbs per serving.
Just enough for a sweet ending for your keto Thanksgiving meal.
September 2021 Update: Minor updates to post, and images.