young child and family standing by dinner table full of food on Thanksgiving

Low-carb Thanksgiving Recipes & Your Guide to Holiday Prep

Let’s face it: Thanksgiving is all about the food; massive quantities of food prepared from heirloom recipes. Think of a Thanksgiving spread in any cooking magazine and you’ll imagine lots of serving dishes occupying a vast expanse of dining room table. Trouble is, traditional menu items and portion sizes often give even a healthy digestive system a workout. For people who struggle with intestinal gas and/or bloating, Thanksgiving Day can turn into an endurance contest.

If you’re hosting, you’ll want to make sure that everyone enjoys the feast. If you’re a guest, you may not be sure what’s ‘safe’ and what should be off-limits. Here’s how to enjoy Turkey Day either way.

It’s Your Party

Say low-carb and people immediately think “no flavor,” but that’s not the case with these recipes. Here are some thoughts on the care and feeding of everyone – including you – with an abundance of tummy-friendly takes on Thanksgiving favorites.

Pre-holiday prep

Shop ahead

Whether it’s your first Thanksgiving or your fiftieth, you’ve probably figured out that this meal is going to come together in an hour. Reduce your stress level by doing as much as possible before everyone arrives.

First, check the ingredient listings in your recipes. Look in your pantry and fridge to figure out what you already have. If you spend a half hour in the kitchen now, you’ll save money on unnecessary duplications and avoid emergency runs to the supermarket.

Don’t forget aluminum foil, twine (to bind the turkey legs) or any special kitchen equipment (large pans, utensils, etc.) you may need.

How to keep guests fed and entertained throughout the day
Say low-carb and people immediately think “no flavor,” but that’s not the case with these recipes. Here’s an abundance of tummy-friendly takes on Thanksgiving favorites.

Hint: If you’re expecting a lot of company or just want to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible on Turkey Day, check out these make-ahead recipes.


On the off chance that everything hasn’t been timed to the minute, you may need to serve something quick. Prep a couple of Mark’s Daily Apple’s appetizers, such as this antipasto tray (avoid the pickles unless fermented foods are already part of your diet) and keep your sanity. (Hint: make a small plate for yourself; even the cook has to eat!)

The Main Event
Low Carb Thanksgiving: Roasted Turkey and Pan Gravy (Gluten Free and Paleo)
Making your own rub can save the additives of carbs often found in commercially prepared condiments.  Garlic, saffron, basil, marjoram, onion, oregano, rosemary, sage, tarragon, thyme are a great combination.

You Won’t Have to Pass On These Stuffings!

Savory Pecan-Bacon Stuffing

Sweet and Light Paleo Cornbread Stuffing

It’s All About the Sides …

Low-carb cranberry sauce

Skinny Mom Cranberry Relish

Love and Lemons Cauliflower mashed “potatoes”

Vegan Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

Cup of Jo’s Gingered-Carrot Bisque

Cup of Jo’s Butternut Squash Risotto

… But Dessert Is Important, Too

People generally want classic comfort foods for Thanksgiving dessert. Save molecular gastronomy for another time – today is all about pumpkin or apple pie. All the refined sugar and wheat flour in a conventional crust can trigger intestinal gas, so try one of these tummy-friendly options:

Low-carb Yum’s piecrust

Low-carb Diet pumpkin pie

Living Healthy With Chocolate

Glamorous Bite

Hint: Double the piecrust and cauliflower mashed ‘potatoes’ recipes to make a delicious, low-carb use of any leftover condiments, turkey and vegetables. Pat the extra crust into a pie plate, then layer it with the cauliflower puree and whatever your guests don’t finish. With refrigerator space at a premium, it’s also a great way to cut down on after-dinner clean-up time. Top with the remaining piecrust to make Turkey Cottage Pie and – voila- you’ve prepped Black Friday dinner while putting away Thanksgiving leftovers.

You’re the Guest

Want to have a great evening but don’t want to feel as stuffed as the turkey? Here’s what to watch for:

The ‘Welcome’ Drink

Hosts have been taught to greet guests with the offer of a drink. Accept non-carbonated water or – if it’s offered – herbal tea. A punch glass-sized serving (4 ounces) of apple cider is okay: that’s about 15 carbs and roughly 60 calories.  Otherwise, that welcome drink could be the first of three or four alcoholic beverages by the time the last plate is scraped. Can you really afford all those extra carbs?

One last word about alcohol: the more you drink, the more difficult it’ll be to eat wisely throughout the day.


You’ll likely see dishes of nuts, platters of antipasti, baskets of party mix and/or crackers. Ignore them. All those little nibbles are provided to keep you from getting too hungry if dinner isn’t served on time, but they also pack astonishingly high amounts of carbs and calorie per ounce. One serving of Macadamia nuts, for example, contains about a tenth of the average woman’s daily caloric allowance. Deli meats are often prepared with nitrates and other GI-irritating additives.

Instead, opt for a balance of healthy fiber and low-carb finger foods.
If you’re offered whole-grain crackers, a couple will help take the edge off your hunger but not make you feel bloated.
Cherry tomatoes are a neat, flavorful nibble that can help satisfy your sweet tooth. If you regularly consume fermented foods, say yes to pickles. The spicier the food, the less likely you are to overindulge.
Drink water in between trips to the buffet table.
Say ‘yes’ to herbal tea: mint, ginger and chamomile help aid digestion.

Dinner is served

In a perfect world, you’d be able to dig in and enjoy as much as you want of everything that’s served. If the meal features dishes you can’t eat or can only eat in moderation, here’s what to do:

Do help yourself to a fairly large serving (4 or 5 ounces) of turkey. Fortunately, it’s a a great choice for most folks. Just avoid eating the skin, which can cause digestive upset.

Don’t  announce that you’re on a restricted diet. Your hosts will feel badly that they didn’t ask and there’s no way to remedy the situation once the meal is served. (If, on the other hand, your dietary restrictions were overlooked, just politely accept a small portion of what’s offered and either leave it uneaten or take a bite.)

Do accept a serving of baked sweet potatoes and/or green vegetables (such as peas or beans). Cranberry sauce, particularly the canned variety, is high in sugar. One tablespoon won’t hurt.

Don’t indulge in the green bean casserole, candied sweet potatoes with marshmallow, creamed onions, etc. You know you’re going to want dessert. These traditional foods have the nutritional profile of pumpkin pie. You’re going to feel robbed if you have to pass up dessert.


This is likely going to contain the motherlode of carbs or gas-producing ingredients. A typical serving of apple pie has only 10 grams, or 3% of the RDA for those on a 2000 calorie diet, but the crust is usually made of butter (dairy) and flour (wheat) can cause gas; apples contain the FODMAP fructose (although cooked apples are easier to digest). Have it plain, not with ice cream. Pumpkin pie tops out at 323 calories and 45 carbs. It’s also likely to be prepared with milk or cream and topped with whipped cream. If you’ve followed our advice to this point, go ahead and help yourself to one piece of pie. You’ve earned it!

You’ve probably been looking forward to seeing loved ones all year. The last thing you want on your mind is gas and bloating! If you can’t resist that second helping of stuffing, two CharcoCaps® capsules will get you back in the holiday spirit in no time!

CharcoCaps® dietary supplement relieves gas and bloating FAST!*  Enjoy your favorite foods without worry! *These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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