5 Thanksgiving Spices For Turkey & A Healthy Holiday


Nagina Abdullah


November 18, 2017

naginas family

At my Thanksgiving meal last year, I told my husband’s family the story of how we celebrated Thanksgiving growing up in the US as an Indian family – and they thought it was hilarious.

When I was growing up, my mom didn’t know how to make any of the “traditional” Thanksgiving food – we usually ate foods like lentils, curries, rice and rotis.

So, we would order our Thanksgiving meal already prepared from the grocery store – but we could never eat it like that.

We would sprinkle red chili powder, turmeric powder, salt and pepper and chop up little jalapeños and cilantro and sprinkle it over everything. Then, we would make a huge pot of rice and serve it right next to the turkey.

Finally, we could eat!

My husband’s family (who is American) thought the fact that we had to sprinkle red chili powder on everything was hilarious!

After I got married, I had my first traditional Thanksgiving at my husband’s family’s house. I brought a tray of rice sprinkled with cilantro as my contribution (didn’t want to scare anyone with the heat so I started with cilantro)!

They still remember that – they had loved it and as a result, the rice was gone by the end of the night!

I wanted to share this story with you as you may relate or understand further how using spices is in my bones!

I’ve found extensive research and scientific studies from renowned institutions like Harvard and Tufts that spices help you lose weight faster.

Consequently, that’s why in addition to the amazing taste, it must be a part of your Thanksgiving meal.

With all the food that’s going to be surrounding you the day of, and possibly even for days after, there’s a lot of anxiety around gaining weight on Thanksgiving.

I’m here today to alleviate your Thanksgiving fears and give you an actionable plan to walk out of Thanksgiving as thin as you walked in.

For done-for-you weekly grocery lists, see my Easy, Spicy Paleovegetarian and vegan Meal Plan blog posts.

Having a plan that is doable (and fun!) will be the difference between helping you have control over your weight and losing control!

Today I’m sharing:

– My “Top O’ The Morning Thanksgiving Ritual” to start your day feeling tighter and lighter going into the “big meal”

– What traditional foods to eat MORE of, and what to eat LESS of so you can have a thinner Thanksgiving than last year

– Five spices to use throughout your Thanksgiving to stay lean (and exactly how to use them)

– TONS of healthy AND delicious recipes you can make (including my Healthy Holiday Recipe Book FREE download!)

– My favorite digestive tea, portable spice container, and storage containers so you can “pack it up” and not “pack it in” all in one day

Let’s get started! Gobble Gobble!

naginas family

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to you and yours! This is a picture of me at my first Thanksgiving after losing almost 40 lbs. – and I was determined to keep it off!

Click here to receive your free “Healthy Holiday Recipes” ebook with 4 easy, healthy holiday recipes in one PDF document (you can print or view easily on your iPad or phone!).
This post is huge, coming in at over 1,300 words. I’m unveiling NEVER-BEFORE shared secrets on how to go to your Thanksgiving dinner, love it, and walk out being as thin as you were when you walked in!

Read until the end because I share a bonus tip + 3 Thanksgiving supplies you may need to stay as thin as you are when you walk in the door

Use these 5 spices to Spice Yourself Skinny on Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving Spices to Start Your Turkey Day

Use the “Top O’ the Morning Thanksgiving Ritual” to start the day tighter and lighter with this sweet spicecinnamon

Cinnamon lowers blood sugar and as a result, you store less fat. It tastes sweet and is a perfect addition to your breakfast!

On Thanksgiving morning, add cinnamon to your breakfast because it lowers your blood sugar. Here are some recommendations for what you can eat to start the day tighter and lighter due to cinnamon’s properties:

Choose a Protein + Veggie or Fruit

  • 2-3 eggs (can be made anyway – hardboiled, scrambled, veggie or turkey omelet) with black pepper WITH vegetable or fruit with cinnamon
  • Protein Smoothie (See the one in my free recipe or book or make your own: ½ cup berries, almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder or 5.5 oz Greek yogurt, 2 handfuls of spinach or 5 oz. frozen + ½ teaspoon cinnamon)

  • Greek Yogurt with Fruit & Chia or Crushed Flax Seed + ½ teaspoon cinnamon


  • Coffee
  • Tea

(Skip the juice on this morning)

Thanksgiving Spices 101: Black Pepper

“Bring it and Trim It” with this trendy spice!


Bring 1 dish with black pepper that everyone will love because it will also help you stay trim!

Certain black pepper supplements burn as many calories as a 20-minute walk; as a result, add black pepper into your contribution and burn calories WHILE you eat. (2)

Here are some recommendations for what you can bring so your body feels less calories even WHILE you’re putting food into your mouth.

Filling Salad

See my delicious No-Cook 3-Bean Salad that will have all the guests asking, “Who made this?”

Roasted vegetables

See Nagina’s Spiced Grilled Veggies here and make it on the stovetop.

Or use any vegetables and roast in the oven on a baking pan sprayed with cooking spray for 400 degrees for 45 minutes. Before roasting sprinkle black pepper + any other spices on them (i.e. cumin, salt, optional red chili powder).

Non-Turkey protein

Try my Easy Cumin Coriander Fish and add black pepper (as a result, it might taste even juicier than turkey!)

Other options include: Salmon, Lamb, Tofu, Deviled Eggs

Turkey Spices for Thanksgiving: Cumin

Poof! Make your Thanksgiving belly disappear with this belly-busting spice.


Cumin has been shown to burn 3x as much fat around your waist when you add even a teaspoon. (3) Bring this to Thanksgiving and say “Poof! You’re Gone!” to that Thanksgiving pooch!

Cumin tastes delicious on foods that naturally keep you thin on Thanksgiving so as a result, add more cumin to your Thanksgiving Day.

Here are my recommendations of what pairs perfectly with cumin because it tastes so delicious!

Fill up MORE on these foods to get or stay thin.

  • Proteins (turkey, tofu, fish, chicken, ham, beef, lamb, eggs)
  • Veggies (salad, green beans, carrots, broccoli, Brussels sprouts)
  • Beans (baked beans, garbanzo beans, black beans)

For my Cumin Quinoa Power Bowl recipe, 3 tips to simplify meal prepping AND a weekly meal plan and grocery list, see my Easy, Spicy One-Week Vegetarian Meal Plan here.

The Spiciest of Thanksgiving Spices: Red Pepper Flakes

Look at the meal as a “Thanksgiving Tasting” and NOT a “buffet” and use this appetite-curbing spice to make it easy!


Look at Thanksgiving in a refined way. . as a “tasting” and not a “buffet!” It’s FUN to have a FANCY mindset, so let’s do it!

Crushed red pepper flakes (also called red chili flakes) INCREASE your metabolism and DECREASE your appetite; as a result, they are a must-have for your Thanksgiving Tasting! (4)

Use chili flakes on the items that you want to eat LESS of – to stay or get thin these are most of the sides except the veggies.

Make sure a bottle of crushed red pepper flakes is on the table (bring yours to share if you need to)!

Only sprinkle a pinch if that’s what you can handle or more if you like the heat!

Note: You can also or instead use a hot sauce (such as Cholula, Frank’s, and Tapatio hot sauces), fresh or pickled jalapenos which will have the same effect on this day.

Here are some recommendations for what you can sprinkle crushed red pepper flakes on or have it with hot sauce or jalapenos for your thinnest Thanksgiving ever!

Fill up LESS on these items because less will help you stay thin.

  • Stuffing
  • Lasagna or Pasta
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Rice
  • Rolls

For done-for-you weekly grocery lists, see my Easy, Spicy Paleovegetarian and vegan Meal Plan blog posts.

Thanksgiving Spices for Dessert

Have “2-bite desserts” with a pinch of this digestive spice to soothe your stomach


Nutmeg boosts your circulatory system and helps break down fats and cholesterol. It’s perfect for your after-dinner treats because it increases your digestion. (5)

Grate fresh nutmeg over your dessert or sprinkle on dried nutmeg if it’s easier for you. As a result, your stomach will feel so soothed with the anti-inflammatory effects nutmeg also has.

Note: Use ½ – 1 teaspoon only as large amounts of nutmeg are not recommended. You can also use cinnamon if you don’t have access to nutmeg or prefer the taste as because cinnamon has incredible benefits to reduce fat storage while you’re eating sugar.

Eat 2-bites of your dessert only, because it’s been proven that it gives you the satisfaction of eating the entire dessert, but with a fraction of the calories.

So have 2 bites of that apple, pumpkin or chocolate pie, and if you still want more, have 2-bites of that brownie or your Grandma’s cake. Eat in 2-bite increments with a dash of nutmeg.

If you’re having coffee or tea, add nutmeg and/or cinnamon to that in addition because of the digestive and/or managing blood sugar effects.

Are you ready to have a Thin Thanksgiving?

Use some or all of these 5 spices to Spice Yourself Skinny at Thanksgiving. You’ll dance out of Thanksgiving feeling lighter and as thin as you were when you walked in!

Which one(s) are you going to use on YOUR Thanksgiving? Reply and let me know!

But wait! I still have more! Keep reading for 1 bonus and 3 thinning Thanksgiving supplies! 

Bonus Tip: “Pack it Up + Don’t Pack It In!”

Pack only the leftovers from #3 where you made your Thanksgiving belly disappear. You did such a good job, let’s keep it off even into the weekend! Do NOT be tempted to bring ANYTHING from the “tasting” menu. Your goal is a Thin Thanksgiving which includes the weekend after!

Click here to receive my free “Healthy Holiday Recipes” ebook including these recipes:

  • Ginger Cardamom Cranberry Sauce (in the free download only)
  • No-Cook 3-Bean Salad
  • Coconut Green Beans
  • Spiced Salmon Steak

3 Thanksgiving Supplies You May Need to Have a Thin Thanksgiving

Post-dinner Tea


You have to have this Organic Ginger Turmeric Herbal Tea from Trader Joe’s. This is a perfect post-dinner (or pre-dinner) treat to enjoy to help digest your food and also block fat development.

Though there’s a little black pepper in the tea itself, sprinkle a little more into your tea. Due to its effects, you will increase the absorption of turmeric by 2000%. As a result, you will burn as many calories as a 20-minute walk. Wow!

To-Go Spice Missile

spice bullet

If you’re going to a home where there are lots of spices, you can skip this. But if you’re going to a home of someone who doesn’t use too much spice in their food, pack this cute spice missile in your purse because you can sprinkle on the magic fat-loss dust and still eat what you want!

You can fit ½ teaspoon of each spice into each layer, and 2 per layer. Here’s a great combo one of the members of my free FB Group Busy Women Get Fit did: cumin-coriander, turmeric-ginger, and cinnamon-cayenne.

Storage Containers

glass containers

I like to take home the healthy options from Thanksgiving, because then I have food to eat for a few days. The key is to pack ONLY the good foods to eat (see #3 again). You can use glass Tupperware containers like these for the longest life or any other packing containers.

In conclusion, here is a summary of my 5 spices to use for a Thin Thanksgiving!

1. Use the “Top O’ the Morning Thanksgiving Ritual” to start the day tighter and lighter with this sweet spice (cinnamon)

2. “Bring it and Trim It” with this trendy spice (black pepper)!

3. Poof! Make your Thanksgiving belly disappear with this belly-busting spice (cumin)

4. Look at the meal as a “Thanksgiving Tasting” and NOT a “buffet.” Use this appetite-curbing spice to make it easy (red chili flakes)!

5. Have “2-bite desserts” with a pinch of this digestive spice because it soothes your stomach (nutmeg)

Have a happy and thin Thanksgiving!

Click here to receive my free “Healthy Holiday Recipes” ebook including these recipes:

  • Ginger Cardamom Cranberry Sauce (in the free download only)
  • No-Cook 3-Bean Salad
  • Coconut Green Beans
  • Spiced Salmon Steak

Avatar photo

Nagina Sethi Abdullah, BA, MBA

Nagina Abdullah is a health coach for middle-aged women and professionals. She coaches women to boost their metabolism naturally, shed pounds and keep them off. Her work with weight loss clients led to the creation of Masala Body, an online weight loss platform that provides an easy and accessible system that helps women sustainably lose weight. She has helped over 1200 women successfully lose from 10-80 lbs and create a sustainable lifestyle change. Nagina earned her degree in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley.

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