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Happy Keto Thanksgiving: How to Stay Keto this Turkey Day

Written by
Reviewed By David J. Sautter
  Published on November 19th, 2019
  Reading time: 4 minutes
  Last modified April 15th, 2021
keto thanksgiving

Intimidated by the holiday feasts quickly approaching? For those of us trying to stay on track with our health goals, the holiday season can be a true test of determination. However, a keto Thanksgiving is possible. Keep calm and keto on by following some of these simple keto holiday tips.


Practice Gratitude

The holiday season is a time for reflection and gratitude. You may be feeling a bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) when it comes to all of the sweets and carbs presented at the Thanksgiving dinner table, but it’s important to remember what the holidays are about in the first place. Whether you’re spending time with family and friends or quiet time with yourself, it never hurts to be mindful of your choices and grateful for what you have.

Missing out on some of your favorite carb-loaded dishes can put you in a slump but remember why you started your keto journey in the first place. Let yourself be your own source of motivation and determination.


Educate Yourself

Scoping out the keto-friendly foods on the dinner table can be challenging if you don’t know what to look for. This is why educating yourself about calories and macronutrients is key.

For example, if you’re eyeing up that overflowing dish of stuffing and gravy made out of different pieces of bread and sauces, you’re looking to get kicked out of ketosis rather quickly (unless its keto bread or keto gravy, of course).

As a basic guide, keep an eye out for dishes more abundant in low-carb leafy veggies and turkey or ham. Dishes similar to our keto rotisserie chicken, keto spinach zucchini boats, or some keto cheesy spinach-stuffed chicken could be great options to bring to the table as well.


Mind Over Matter

At the end of the day, you have to be your own motivation. The ketogenic diet is a lifestyle and there will be moments of hesitation and doubt. But remember why you started.

Before the holiday season is a great time jump-start your mindset and re-evaluate your goals. There will be times of temptation and days you’ll revert back to your old habits. Trust me, I’ve had my fair share of starting over. But the important thing is to remind yourself why you started the ketogenic diet in the first place.


Prepare and Plan

We’ve all heard that saying “by failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” This quote goes for anything. A meeting, a project and yes, even your diet. Preparing and planning can be extremely beneficial, especially if you know you’re more likely to give in to peer pressure or go off the rails.

Bring your own keto foods and keto desserts. In fact, maybe some other guests at the dinner table will appreciate it as well. Some of our go-to keto Thanksgiving dessert recipes include these keto pumpkin cheesecake bars, keto peppermint chocolate cheesecake bites and this satiating keto chocolate mousse.

women exercising holiday workout

Don’t Skip the Gym (or Physical Activity)

Whether you’re a regular at the gym or a weekend warrior, getting some physical activity during the holidays can help you maintain a ketogenic state, improve your metabolic rate and reduce your stress levels.

You see, being more physically active can help induce a ketogenic state. As you exercise, your glycogen stores get depleted. These glycogen stores get restored when you consume carbs. However, if your carb intake remains low, your liver will start producing ketones as an alternative fuel source.

You could increase your ketone production and boost your chances of getting back into ketosis by exercising in a fasted state as well.

One study looked at post-menopausal women and put them through a series of treadmill exercises for 2 hours twice a day. The women were divided into two groups, meals pre-exercise and meals post-exercise. The results showed that the exercise before meals (in a fasted state) lowered blood glucose levels. [1]


Is A Keto Thanksgiving Possible?

There’s no reason to dread Thanksgiving if you’re following a ketogenic diet. Regardless of what your holiday feast may look like, you can plan to indulge or plan to stick to your diet.

I personally like to bring my own keto recipes or keto side dishes to group events as they tend to be a hit among everyone (keto-lovers and carb-lovers alike). Not only does it make you a key contributor to the dinner, but it starts a conversation and may even lead to some of your friends or loved ones joining in on the keto lifestyle.

Don’t stress about falling off the tracks with your diet. Remember why you started your keto diet in the first place, get plenty of exercise and enjoy your time with family and friends.



  1. Borer KT, Wuorinen EC, Lukos JR, Denver JW, Porges SW, Burant CF. Two bouts of exercise before meals, but not after meals, lower fasting blood glucose. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2009 Aug;41(8):1606-14.

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