Vary the Fat
I know what you’re thinking: let’s just not talk about the butter and say we did. But don’t worry, I promise I won’t tell you to get rid of butter completely (in fact I think it unfairly gets a bad reputation). Instead, I will say this: add a little variety when it comes to the types of fats you are adding to each dish. Adding coconut oil to pie crust or avocado oil to stuffing is easy and also ensures that you are receiving a wider variety of fats and vitamins for a much healthier Thanksgiving dinner.
In my house, the lead up to Thanksgiving is a bit hectic and we often stick to the rulebook in the kitchen. While classic favorites and family recipes are usually default during the holidays, it is also fun to experiment with making something new. If introducing a whole new foreign dish seems daunting, do not fear– I get it, I’m deeply loyal to my no-fail favorites too–as there are lots of exciting grains and seeds that you can sprinkle on top of an old favorite!
- Hemp seeds: These little crunchy seeds are packed with omega-3s and taste fantastic sprinkled on top of salads or green beans.
- Moringa: Sprinkle a few teaspoons of this nutritious green on a vegetable dish for some extra protein. Also check out our moringa sweet potato pie recipe!
If there is one thing that surrounds us during the holiday season– aside from Black Friday commercials and Christmas music– it is sugar. From the classic pumpkin pie (don’t forget the whipped cream!) to that holiday cocktail or glass of wine, it’s no wonder holiday meals tend to put us into week-long food comas! Don’t worry, I’m not telling you to ditch the sugar altogether– that would be a crime. Instead, look for recipes that use healthier forms of sugar like honey or coconut sugar. These sugars are easy to find at most grocery stores and allow you to sustainably indulge your sweet tooth.
Roll Up Your Sleeves
There’s a lot that goes into any good holiday meal. From time spent in the grocery store and kitchen to the amount of ingredients that are incorporated into each dish, it is all too easy to take some shortcuts by purchasing instant and pre-made items. Full disclosure: I’m totally guilty of using instant mashed potatoes and canned cranberry sauce from time to time. Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, here are some reasons for why I should not do that this year. We’ve all heard it before but it’s worth repeating: store-bought, processed goods have lots of icky add-ins and preservatives that just aren’t good for our bodies! But something that hits me a little harder is thinking of all of the missed nutrients when we opt for the ready-made dishes. Fresh ingredients, such as fresh potatoes and cranberries, pack much more of a nutritional punch than their powdered and canned counterparts. Also homemade always tastes better, right?!
Taste the Rainbow
A typical Thanksgiving dinner plate is pretty monochrome: white mashed potatoes, white turkey, brown stuffing, brown gravy, and then a little pop of red cranberry sauce. This year, try adding a few more pops of color (and a little bonus flavor) to the staples.
- Orange mashed potatoes? Yep, so good! Substitute sweet potatoes for regular potatoes for some extra color and nutrient value.
- Purple stuffing? Try adding sliced or shredded beets to your favorite stuffing recipe.
- Green gravy? Stir in little moringa for a festive touch!
Take a Tea
Thanksgiving dinner always passes so quickly and before I even realize it, I usually find myself on the couch in a post-turkey stupor. There are definitely worse things, but every year I find myself wishing that I had a little more energy to actually function until bedtime. I’m excited to try this tip this year: post-dinner tea for digestion! Drinking a cup of tea after eating can help to prevent bloating and an upset stomach. Look for ginger and peppermint varieties for optimal digestion.
Photo Credit: Country Living