Here’s a Thanksgiving Feast everyone can enjoy.

I come from a big food loving family, and for me, Thanksgiving Day is a day of thanks, always spent with friends and family, and, of course, lots of great food!

But for many families (including mine) that have friends or family members with diabetes (such as my father), those on weight loss programs (such as my sister), or those who simply want to eat more healthfully, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is laden with fat, calories and carbohydrates and can be as difficult as it is joyful.

The great news is that with a little bit of extra care, it’s easy to create a traditional Thanksgiving menu that everybody can enjoy. This holiday, I offer you a variety of my favorite tips and recipes that you can mix-n-match with your own family traditions to create a relaxed holiday for which everyone will be thankful.

Happy holidays to your family from mine,



  • Be sure to dish up plenty of fresh veggies and low-fat dressings like Homemade Ranch or Classic Spinach Dip.
  • Add a platter of chilled cooked shrimp, low-fat cheeses, or homemade deviled eggs (made with reduced-fat mayonnaise) to your appetizer table. They are all filling, protein rich, and virtually free of carbohydrates.
  • Make sure to have plenty of diet beverages or sparkling water dressed with fresh wedges of lemon and lime on hand for you and your guests.


  • Add an extra non-starchy vegetable and a big salad to your menu (and be sure to pile them on your plate). If a guest, offer to bring a healthy salad or colorful vegetable dish rather than another starch or dessert.
  • Traditional cranberry sauce is very high in sugar. Click here for a fabulous low-sugar cranberry sauce recipe.
  • Substitute wholegrain croutons, add extra vegetables and/or swap-out some of the butter for broth to create a stuffing perfect for everyone. (On a personal note: be sure to set a budget for your own must-have starchy side dishes and forgo the rest).
  • Be adventurous and try a new lighter version of an old favorite. Ditch sweet potatoes topped with brown sugar or marshmallows for Sweet Potatoes with Apple Cider Syrup.

Sweet Endings

  • Add fresh sliced pears and apples or grapes with reduced-fat cheeses and nuts to your usual dessert menu.
  • Use sugar substitutes or a combination of sugar and sugar substitutes (like Splenda Sugar for Baking) to reduce the sugar in your favorite pie recipes.
  • Or try one of these guilt-free sweet endings; Pumpkin Custard Cups, Creamy Instant Pumpkin Mousse, Paper Bag Apple Pie.

Marlene Koch

Marlene Koch, RD, (pronounced "Cook") has specialized in delicious food and healthy lifestyles for over twenty years. Thus, when Marlene realized she couldn’t bake a delicious cake without sugar for her stepdaughter newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, she set out to find the sweet solution! Marlene is now a foremost authority on sugar and sugar substitutes and the author of the best-selling healthy, low-sugar hardback cookbook series which includes Unbelievable Desserts and Fantastic Food with Splenda, and her newest release, Marlene Koch’s Sensational Splenda Recipes: 375 Recipes Low in Sugar, Fat and Calories (M.Evans publisher). With combined sales of over 600,000 copies, Marlene and her books successfully bridge the gap between good food and good health!

Marlene graduated Magna Cum Laude with a degree in nutrition from U.C.L.A. in 1986 and is one of a select group of dietitians to hold an advanced certificate in Child and Adolescent Weight Management from the American Dietetic Association. Combining her love of food with her educational foundation, she has held such positions as Hospital Foodservice Director, Nutrition Professor, Cooking Instructor for the Columbus State Culinary Academy and as a national nutrition educator to chefs for the American Culinary Federation. Her passion for teaching others how to make healthy food taste delicious also extend to her private nutrition practice specializing in weight loss, diabetes, and wellness.

Marlene loves to teach (and to eat!); her energetic and upbeat style has made her a popular food and nutrition speaker for organizations such as the American Diabetes and American Heart Associations and sought after for television and radio appearances which have included affiliates for ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX and Shaw TV (Vancouver) and radio stations nationwide.

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