A Healthy Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving

A Healthy Twist on Traditional Thanksgiving

A healthy twist to traditional meals keeps Thanksgiving Oh so yummy and healthy….

Ladies, you all can relate I am sure: as much as we all love holidays and celebrations they can be stressful — especially for some of us, because it is usually the holidays that derail our efforts towards keeping our ‘hips’ in check via a healthy diet and exercise.

Well! We don’t have to feel pressured, deprived or guilty because quite frankly we can still have our health while keeping with the family ‘traditions’ of celebratory foods. We don’t have to let the holidays and other celebrations create an excuse for us to abandon our healthy diet.

If you are hosting/cooking there are very subtle changes that you can make to traditional family recipes that will keep things healthy and reasonably close to the original  — while keeping our waistline happy.

I think it is important that first off we approach each and every meal with the right attitude. To me, cooking creates health, and eating is how I sustain my health. With that mindset, a little creativity and effort goes a long way in making your Thanksgiving, and every other holiday, a healthy and fun family affair.

Can we all agree that there is usually way too much food on the table during the holidays? Too much food makes everyone eat more than necessary! We only need to make about 3-4 items, including bread. Ladies, remember – quality, not quantity, is what we need. Having our guests groaning and looking for a place to nap after eating is not a good thing.

The majority of holiday foods are chockfull of fats. Using good quality oils, like olive for cooking, and coconut for frying, makes a huge difference. Also, you can reduce calories in many dishes by using homemade broth to intensify flavors, instead of cream and butter.

Need ideas? Here are a few:

  • Making gravy? Replace your flour or cornstarch with arrowroot powder
  • Instead of ham hock in your beans and greens, try substituting with smoked turkey or salmon. You will have the smoky flavor without the extra fat!
  • Your family can’t do without their sweet tea? No problem! Brew herbal teas and sweeten with raw honey. They will never know the difference. Skip sodas, and offer fresh juices, or infused water; simply add citrus slices or herbs to a pitcher of ice water
  • When making mac ‘n cheese  you can reduce the amount of cheese by adding a cup of creamy butternut squash for every cup of cheese taken out. Every little bit helps, and I can guarantee you no one will be the wiser.
  • Substitute plain Greek yogurt for sour cream. It has a remarkably similar texture, with far less fat and more nutritious protein.
  • Start a new tradition! Use wholegrain brown rice as a main side dish instead of mashed potatoes, etc. Make it so fancy that no one will be able to resist. Try adding minced fresh herbs, colorful bell peppers, onions, and garlic – or chopped nuts and raisins. Use your imagination!
  • When it comes to your turkey, you want to make sure you are not getting a bird that is packed with added hormones which nobody needs.  If you can, buy from a local, trusted farmer, or choose Certified Organic. Brine it before you bake, to keep it juicy and tasty, instead of deep-frying. If possible, use good quality, homemade bread for your stuffing.

When you actually start thinking about the little ways you can keep your holiday wholesome, the sky is the limit – so get creative for the best and healthiest season yet!

May you find something to be truly thankful for this holiday.

Happy Thanksgiving