Many people think that thanksgiving has to be a time where all health-related food is tossed out the window, non-existent, and impossible. Well I am here to say that is totally NOT TRUE! You can have an amazing Thanksgiving feast while still eating clean and making smart decisions!
Below I am going to list the main dishes you see on thanksgiving and I will share tips on how to make it “healthier” or “cleaner” and swaps to make.
Turkey. Look for a turkey that was not injected with preservatives and also shop for turkey via local butcher or try a place like Whole Foods where antibiotics were not fed to the animal and it wasn’t a CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).
Ham. Same as turkey. Many pre-cooked meats have been doused in a preservative solution/injected with chemicals! You can find a ham that isn’t filled with that – just read the ingredients. You would be surprised at what is hidden in the ingredient list of cheap meats.
Sweet potato casserole. Don’t add sugar or marshmallows! You can slow-roast sweet potatoes for 2 hours so they caramelize and then add in lots of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, a little bit of grassfed butter and re-bake and it will be plenty sweet. Sweet potatoes are already sweet and adding extra sugar is not necessary at all! No sugar coma at my house.
Mac n cheese I purchase an organic gluten free noodle such as quinoa/rice based. This is healthier than a highly processed, cheap, white flour noodle. I also add riced cauliflower to my mac n cheese and I grate a grassfed cheddar – rather than cheese that is overly processed and from an unhealthy cow fed antiobiotics and hormones! Organic is best when possible – look for grassfed cheddar or goat cheese or at least find a cheese that isn’t loaded with preservatives (pre-shredded cheese usually has preservatives). The cauliflower adds health because it’s a veggie, it adds nutrients and fiber and makes the mac n cheese fluffier and delicious! No guilt here!
Dressing. I don’t always make dressing as it’s just not my favorite but you can make dressing using a healthier bread such as sprouted grain Ezekiel bread. Here is a recipe you can try!
Veggie. This is easy. Simply roast a tray of brussels sprouts or cauliflower or broccoli – preferably something green though – and drizzle with olive oil and a variety of spices. Chopped nitrite free bacon is also a good option. ALWAYS have a veggie available!
Dessert. I usually don’t have dessert because I will enjoy some red wine on Thanksgiving and that alone is dessert to me – but this carrot cake is to die for and it’s Paleo (aka, refined sugar free, gluten free, dairy free).
So that does it! Hopefully you see that there are tons of ways to make Thanksgiving a little healthier while still completely delicious and not depriving. The key is to make smarter decisions when deciding on what to cook…using higher quality ingredients that are better for your health and won’t completely set you back.
- instead of regular butter or margarine…switch to Kerrygold or other grassfed butter
- instead of canola oil/peanut oil/vegetable oil…use avocado oil, olive oil, unrefined coconut oil
- instead of adding sugar to everything…use maple syrup or honey in moderation
- instead of purchasing meat with added chemicals and preservatives…choose a healthier meat such as Greenwise from Publix or any meat from Whole Foods
- roast your turkey instead of fry it
- Don’t add cheese to every veggie dish – have a plan roasted tray of veggies!
- Choose grassfed cheese for the mac n cheese and consider a gluten free rice or quinoa noodle
- Pink salt over conventional table salt
- SKIP THE BREAD..and skip the bloat!
- Drink lots of room temp water before the meal
- DO eat breakfast…a little protein especially…
- Watch the sugary beverages!