🦃 Turkey day is approaching fast, and it can be incredibly difficult to eat healthy, especially around the holiday season. More specifically, if you follow the Ketogenic (Keto) diet, it can be challenging being surrounded by tempting treats like pumpkin pie 🥧, baked goods, and yummy stuffing. But don’t worry, with some simple modifications, you can have the Keto Thanksgiving of your dreams.
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet consists of low-carb, but high-fat foods to burn fat instead of carbs. When you successfully achieve this metabolic state, then you are in ketosis. You can eat protein in moderation, but you don’t want to overdo it.
You may have heard that you can indulge in all the ice cream, bacon, and buttery goodness you desire, but in order to achieve the health benefits you want, you will need to maintain a healthy balance of your food on this diet. As with any diet, incorporating regular exercise will definitely help.
If you’re going hard on the keto diet, then you can count your carbs or at least aim for a certain number of carbs per day (usually less than 50 grams).
Some foods you can eat:
- Full-fat dairy (cheese, butter, cream, yogurt)
- Plant oils (coconut oil, avocado oil, olive oil)
- Nuts (walnuts, pecans, peanuts, hazelnuts)
- Full-fat meat and seafood (beef, poultry, pork belly, salmon, tuna, shrimp)
Some foods you cannot eat:
- Beans or legumes
- Fruit (only in moderation)
- Food high in carbs (crackers, pasta, chips)
- Food high in sugar (soda, candy, deli meat)
- Alcohol (unless it is hard alcohol or low in carbs)
The tricky one in this list is alcohol . Technically, you can have 1-2 specific alcoholic drinks, but carb-loaded beer will quickly knock your body out of your hard-earned ketosis. A few of the carb-free ones you can have are vodka, rum, whiskey, and tequila. Unfortunately, some of the most fun mixed drinks, especially ones you might want to have on Thanksgiving, are out of the question. Some of these include Moscow mules, margaritas, whiskey sours, and more.
On the bright side, you can modify these as well with keto-friendly cocktails. Try using sugar substitutes or mixing in seltzer water or la Croix to make your favorite spritzer. If you did want to make a Moscow mule, you could even use diet ginger ale.
Should you try the Keto Diet?
There are many benefits to the keto diet, but the main one that people try this diet for is weight loss. The goal is to burn fat instead of carbs, so if you keep your body regularly in ketosis and eat healthily, then you will start to lose weight.
In addition to weight loss, the keto diet also helps improve some medical conditions including the following:
- Prediabetes and Diabetes – the keto diet helps reduce blood sugar and helps with insulin levels, it also helps with weight loss and obesity is a risk factor for diabetes
- Acne – in some people, acne has been linked to high blood sugar, which as previously mentioned, this diet can help reduce blood sugar levels
- Heart health – reduces inflammation, and weight loss helps reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease
- Cholesterol – reduces triglycerides, can help lower bad cholesterol (LDL), and raise good cholesterol (HDL)
- Epilepsy – doctors recommend the keto diet for children diagnosed with epilepsy where medications have not worked
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) – PCOS can be caused by high levels of insulin, this diet may help lower these levels and support insulin resistance
But keep in mind that there is no “quick fix” to losing weight or improving your health, and you should consult your doctor prior to making any dramatic diet changes.
Tips for a Keto Thanksgiving
Your best bet for Thanksgiving might be to bring your own food, either just for yourself or to share with others. You could also host your own thanksgiving with friends or family who are also trying the keto diet.
Some helpful tips include switching out the mashed potatoes for cauliflower mashed potatoes. It’s also important to remember that a lot of the items on the menu for dinner were probably made with flour which is a high-carb no-no for keto. Thankfully, there are a lot of flour substitutes nowadays to make your life easier.
If you do decide to make your own food, you will find wonderful and tasty recipes in this article that will be sure to make you forget about the foods you can’t eat.
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes
Below is our list of 19 Keto Thanksgiving Recipes for you to try.
Note: All of our recipes are created by our in house nutritionist.
Thanksgiving Keto Appetizers
What’s a Thanksgiving meal without yummy appetizers? 🙃 Here are some of our favorites created by our nutritionists.