Nutrition and healthy eating seem to be the last things on our minds when Thanksgiving rolls around every year. On a day that’s all about food, especially turkey, you can still keep your clean-eating streak.

There are a variety of methods for preparing turkey — including roasting, grilling and brining — and each offers unique flavor and texture, as well as health benefits.

Across the board, it’s important to remember that frozen turkeys are often higher in sodium to start because they're injected with saline to keep them juicy, clinical dietician and culinary nutritionist Jackie Topol, RD, told Additionally, buying an organic, free-range turkey can cut out harmful hormones.

Read: 5 Tips For A Healthy Thanksgiving To Avoid Weight Gain, From Portion Control To Small Plates

We’ve listed some of the most healthy ways to prepare a turkey this Thursday.


An unbrined turkey roasted without butter added under the skin is the most healthful option. According to, taking the skin off of your roasted turkey will also cut down on saturated fat.


Putting your Thanksgiving bird into a smoker is a tasty trend that offers plenty of protein, vitamins and minerals — but it is high in sodium, reported. This method also cuts down on added calories with fewer than a traditional roasted turkey.

According to the American Cancer Society, increased intake of smoked foods is directly associated with a higher risk of developing gastric cancer.


In terms of calories and overall health, brined turkeys can be good for you. reported this method’s nutritional downfall: sodium.


It should be obvious that deep frying a turkey is an unhealthy option. If you’re looking for a better alternative, try putting your Thanksgiving dinner on the grill.

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