November 20, 2018 by Dr. Kyle Varner in Ketogenic Diet

In the world we live in today, celebrations are pretty much synonymous with food.

For every birthday, there’s cake. Every Valentine’s, there’s chocolate. Every Christmas, there’s sugar in every shape and form imaginable.

Thanksgiving is one of the worst. This is literally a festival dedicated to the celebration of food, where the ultimate goal of the day is to put yourself into a food coma.

While your average Thanksgiving meal may be mostly savory dishes, many of these are a real carb overload. Think of all the potatoes, the biscuits, the stuffing, the macaroni…

So If you’re committed to your weight loss goals through keto, you need to go into that Thanksgiving dinner with a game plan. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, but the key to staying strong on keto (or any diet for that matter) is planning ahead.

You ready? Here’s how we’re going to tackle that Thanksgiving dinner…

What Can You Eat at a Normal Thanksgiving Dinner?

The first thing is to work out which foods you should be able to eat at your standard Thanksgiving meal.

The most obvious, and most important, is Turkey. It contains precisely 0 carbs, has a lot of protein, and not much fat as a lean meat. Here you’ll want to make sure to grab a piece with the skin on to complement all that protein with some essential fat.

Next up is gravy. While in theory gravy is made from meat juices, it’s typically thickened with flour or cornstarch. If you’re friends with the host, you could call them up ahead of time and ask if they’ll leave aside some juices for you before they add in the flour and cornstarch. This means your gravy will be thinner but will be a highly nutritious sauce that is still keto.

How about Green Bean Casserole? This is a tricky one, as in many cases it can be keto, but some recipes call for added sugar and flour. You can ask the host how much they put in, and then it’s up to you.

Though not necessarily standard Thanksgiving fare, most hosts will likely include a salad. This will typically be your best option, but as always beware sugary dressings and toppings, which can turn a keto-friendly salad into a carb nightmare.

Tackle Temptation By Eating Beforehand

So this may not sound very cool, but one of the best things you can do to stick to your diet is to eat at home before you go to the party.

By filling up on some nice ketogenic goodies beforehand, it’ll be much easier to say no to the temptations once you’re there and actually stick to just turkey and salad.

This is the best way to stay true to your weight loss goals and not suffer too greatly in the process. After all, it’d take a will of steel to make it through Thanksgiving on an empty stomach.

Bring a Keto-Friendly Option With You

Want more keto-friendly options at Thanksgiving? Why not bring one yourself? In addition to filling your plate with foods that you know are healthy, you can contribute to the party and everyone else’s health. You never know, you may even strike up a conversation about your food and why you eat it, leading to more friends becoming keto!

The easiest option is to offer to be the one who brings the salad to dinner. This should be welcome at any party and won’t cause any questions. Stick to lots of leafy greens and a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic. If you’re feeling creative, you can even go for a nice homemade Keto Creamy Ranch.

Another sneaky way to bring in a keto-friendly dish under the radar is to make a low-carb Green Bean Casserole. Done right, it’s likely that no one will even notice the lack of added sugar! While the standard version might not have too much per serving, even a tiny bit too much can shake your body out of ketosis. So if you can bring your own, why not?

If you’re feeling bold, why not bring try making some keto-friendly versions of Thanksgiving classics. One of my favorites is Cauliflower Mash. It’s visually very similar to mashed potatoes and tastes great! It has a really great volume to calorie ratio, meaning it will fill you up without the guilt around eating too many calories. Or you can try your hand at whipping up a keto-friendly version of Pumpkin Pie.


Thanksgiving is tough. The temptations will be everywhere, but with the right mindset and plan, this doesn’t mean you’ll need to sacrifice your weight loss goals. In fact, by bringing your own food to the party, you can even contribute to others’ health as well as your own.

By taking steps to plan ahead, you will find it much easier to balance your social obligations with your obligations to yourself. So by being smart and working out where the balance is, you’ll be able to keep your friends happy and your body happy too!

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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