Thanksgiving is a holiday of family, thanks and, of course, food. But, it doesn’t have to be a kink in your wellness routine!
You know that feeling after you finally push your chair back from the Thanksgiving table and you’re so stuffed (pun intended) that you head straight for the couch, where you hang out the rest of the day because you feel lumpier than the lumpiest mashed potatoes?
For some, it’s a rite of passage; a once-a-year indulgence that they never want to be deprived of. But it doesn’t help that most components of what we think of as a traditional Thanksgiving dinner—turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole—are often laden with unhealthy fats, sodium and carbs.
If you’d rather start the holiday season on a lighter, healthier note, we’ve gathered some recipes for unique Thanksgiving dishes that are nutritious and delicious. Your family might squawk if you change everything at once, so choose a few to mix and match with your traditional favorites. And speaking of your traditional favorites, here are a few ways to lighten those up, too:
- When making mashed potatoes, try swapping butter and salt for flavor-enhancers like Parmesan cheese and fresh garlic. Use skim milk instead of whole, and try fat-free sour cream. You could also try substituting up to one-third of the potatoes with cauliflower; it can be your little secret, since we don’t think anyone will notice.
- Fatten up your stuffing with vegetables. A stuffing without bread chunks wouldn’t be the same, but try a ratio of 50/50—half bread, half roughly chopped vegetables like celery, onions and mushrooms.
- If you’re making your own bread and rolls, use wheat flour instead of white.
- Don’t be afraid to cut the sugar. Recipes often call for more sugar and other sweeteners than they need. Try experimenting with smaller amounts.
- Try a crustless pie. Amazingly, by skipping the crust, an entire pumpkin pie could have fewer calories and fat than just one slice with crust!
Start the meal with small bites. Offer guests light, good-for-them appetizers that will tantalize their taste buds while also giving them a little something to stop the stomach-growling. Thinly sliced nova lox is high in protein and contains essential vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Check out these appetizer recipes from Vital Choice, a trusted source for fast home delivery of the world’s finest wild seafood and organic fare, harvested from healthy, well-managed fisheries and farms.
Pumpkins are in the spotlight this time of year, so let them star at the beginning of the meal as well as during dessert. This Creamy Pumpkin Soup, which can conveniently simmer all day in the crock pot, is from Gaea, a company that produces high-quality Greek Extra Virgin Olive Oil from olives that are naturally grown in the fertile earth of Greece, sun-ripened and harvested the traditional way.
Tired of the same old carrots? Try Maple Mustard Carrots, which feature the autumnal sweetness of maple syrup and the savory punch of Colman’s Mustard. Colman’s is the iconic English mustard that is more than ‘just a condiment;’ it’s a bold and spicy pantry staple that adds a fiery kick to a variety of recipes.
Step away from the can opener. When it comes to cranberries, you don’t have to be limited to sauce from a can. Try Cranberry Salsa, a tart and spicy condiment that can be prepared in minutes, then served by itself with chips or spooned liberally onto turkey or side dishes.
Think outside the pie pan. Traditionalists will want to stick to regular pumpkin pie, but if you’ve got adventurous eaters, how about transforming the dessert table with Pumpkin Pie Tamales? This delicious and unique creation is from IMUSA, a leader in Hispanic and ethnic cookware, offering hundreds of affordable housewares including gadgets, cookware, appliances, coffee, and ethnic specialty items.
If you make any of these recipes, please let us know how they turned out. But whatever you choose to feature on your Thanksgiving table this year, we all wish you the healthiest and happiest of holiday seasons!