Do’s and Don’ts for Eating on Thanksgiving with COPD

YamsThe big dinner is only a day away, and while everyone frets the repercussions of over-indulgence at Thanksgiving dinner, people with COPD have extra to think about come Thursday afternoon, as certain foods are better for your breathing than others. Provided below are some general guidelines and good resources to consult in order to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner and still feel okay afterwards.

This food breakdown from as well as this Nutrition resource from the American Lung Association each aim to help you successfully deal with your COPD when eating meals and help shape this Thanksgiving Dinner COPD Strategy.

Remember that ultimately these are general guidelines to consider, not rules to eat by.  Please consult your physician or dietary professional for specific advice relating to your individual health circumstances.


Do: Seek out and eat vegetables with antioxidants, such as sweet potatoes.

Don’t: Eat more than a little of any food that will trigger gas or bloating, as breathing will be complicated if your abdomen is bloated. Thanksgiving foods that can trigger bloating are stuffing, gravy, and green beans.


Do: Try a little of everything. The key to every diet is variety, and a good rule of thumb, some say, is ‘everything in moderation’. Even the foods that aren’t helping your breathing won’t hurt it, either, if you have a couple forkfuls.

Don’t: Load up on one thing. Curb your indulgence on your favorite item so that you feel better and less bloated afterwards. If you’re going to load up, do so on the sweet potatoes or the whole grain dinner rolls.


Do: Enjoy some red wine with dinner. It goes well with turkey and contains antioxidants.

Don’t: Over-enjoy the beers with football. The sudsy, hoppy stuff can leave you feeling bloated, and that tends to make breathing a little more difficult.


Do: Go easy on the butter on bread or in mashed potatoes because of saturated fats.

Don’t: Be afraid to eat another helping of cranberry sauce or sweet potatoes, since both can provide antioxidants.

Pumpkin Pie


Do: Add these high-fiber foods into your traditional Thanksgiving dishes.

Don’t: Eat at a frantic pace or neglect water during dinner. Eating at a comfortable pace with some water will be better.


Do: Have an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

Don’t: Have an extra slice of apple pie as apples can be a gaseous fruit.

No one knows how Thanskgiving foods will affect you better than you do, but following a few of these guidelines should be a step in the right direction for enjoying Thanksgiving dinner without any effects on your breathing.

Photo Credit: Pumpkin pie from a real pumpkin, flickr, @browniesfordinner
Photo Credit: Sweet potatoes & carrot ready to roast, flickr, @SaucyGlo

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