While there are Thanksgiving traditions, what you serve at your house is completely up to you. Nowhere in the Thanksgiving bylaws does it say that the yams must be covered with brown sugar and marshmallows. And, last I checked, the Thanksgiving police weren’t arresting households that skipped the rolls entirely. This Thanksgiving, consider altering or eliminating some of your less healthy Thanksgiving food traditions. Here are a few suggested healthy spins on traditional dishes to get you started.
- Turkey – it finally happened, I’m recommending deep frying as a healthy option – that’s because little if any oil actually enters the meat. Baked can be just as healthy provided you don’t slather your bird in butter. No matter how you cook it, avoid eating the skin for a lower-calorie option.
- Gravy – use spices and vegetables to flavor your gravy rather than relying heavily on salt. Avoid adding too much salt to your turkey too since the drippings will be used to make the gravy. Skim the fat off your drippings and avoid adding butter for a lower-calorie option.
- Stuffing – made from white bread and covered in butter, traditional stuffing has few redeeming qualities – besides its taste of course. Simply swap the white bread for 100% whole wheat and use less butter for a simple solution. You can also stuff your turkey with wild rice, bulgar, or any other nutritious whole grain.
- Mashed Potatoes – Thanksgiving is already heavy on the carbs. Consider trying a mashed cauliflower instead of or combined with your mashed potatoes. Potatoes are still a healthy choice, just keep the skin on and try using Greek yogurt in place of butter.
- Yams – rich in vitamin A, yams are wonderfully healthy and are naturally sweet. Look for a baked yams recipe that only adds a small amount of maple syrup or brown sugar rather than smother them in marshmallows. Pecans or other nuts can also be a healthy addition to your yams.
- Salad – have one! This is the healthiest part of your Thanksgiving dinner. Kale and endive are often at their peak of flavor around Thanksgiving and can be turned into delicious savory or fruited Thanksgiving salads. Be sure to choose a lower calorie dressing to serve with it.
- Pie – I’m not going to tell you to skip dessert completely. I’m the first to admit my Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without a small slice of pecan pie. Portion your dessert into small servings, however, and consider reducing the variety to avoid the small-piece-of-each mentality which can lead to a big-plate-of-everything dessert.
Hoping your Thanksgiving is filled with great company and great, healthy foods! Ron