Do holidays have to stand in the way of your health goals?
Large amounts of sugar, oil, heavy creams, saturated fats, and fried foods are known to be detrimental to a healthy diet. However, this doesn't mean you can't enjoy foods you love this holiday season.
Look for alternative recipes for your favorite dishes. For example, if you love pumpkin pie, try a recipe that swaps out dairy milk for nut or oat milk and processed sugar with pure maple syrup. It could end up being your new go-to pie recipe.
Your favorite thanksgiving turkey recipes and side dishes probably have an alternative, healthier way to be made, too. It could be fun to learn something new with a loved one!
You may be surprised at how many other people are in the same boat as you; especially as we get older and weight is harder to lose and other health concerns arise. Turn to your friends on the internet (like our Facebook Tribe group!) for tips on health-conscious recipes from side dishes to desserts.
Swapping out the biggest inflammatory culprits and replacing them with healthier alternatives is sometimes all it takes to transform a Thanksgiving dish into a healthy, delicious option.
Make a few salad dishes! There are a ton of awesome salad recipes out there that aren't your usual boring dinner salad. Look up butternut squash, quinoa, cranberry, or whichever fall flavor you love, and put some color on the table!
Use spices like ginger and turmeric where you can - like these guilt-free turmeric cookies!
Limiting the amount of heavy cream, carb, and cheese-loaded dishes can help, too. This doesn't mean you can't have any, just be careful not to overindulge in those areas. Go for the roasted vegetables, green beans, and turkey with gravy first.
Be mindful about what your body really needs to stay fueled and nourished. When it comes to the holidays, a lot of us like to let go of responsibility and we fail to listen to our bodies when we usually would.
So, on the holiday that celebrates gratitude, it's the perfect holiday to practice mindfulness - and that includes when you eat! Be thankful for each bite that nourishes, take in each moment of laughter, and remember that you don't want to overeat to the point of comfortability.
Other ways to stay feeling great during Thanksgiving include keeping up with a regular exercise routine, drinking lots of water, and making sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep. These are always important components of staying healthy, so they shouldn't be overlooked during the holidays.
With that said, check out these must-try Thanksgiving recipes that your family will be asking for year round!
5 MUST-TRY THANKSGIVING RECIPES
Broccoli Bacon Salad
Broccoli is one the most nutritious superfoods you can come by. However, these high-fiber coniferous greens rarely make their way into holiday feasts. This festive take on broccoli salad is definitely Thanksgiving-worthy and will add a little color to your festive spread!
For the salad
- 10-11 strips bacon, cooked
- 2 heads broccoli, about 1 and 1/2 pounds or 5-6 cups
- 1 cup dried cranberries
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and salted
- 1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup grapes cut in half
- 1/3 cup shaved almonds
- 1/3 cup chopped red onion, or more to taste
For the dressing
- 1 & 1/4 cups Miracle Whip OR mayonnaise
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 & 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Cook bacon and chop into pieces. While the bacon cooks, whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing in a large bowl. Chop the broccoli into small florets and add them to the large bowl. Add in the rest of the salad ingredients and mix. This salad can be served at room temperature or chilled and will keep in the refrigerator up to 5 days!
Paleo Sweet Potato Casserole
This recipe is a crowd favorite turned healthy by just replacing a few ingredients. If you want to add marshmallows to the mix, that's totally fine. Though, if you leave them out, you're recipe is actually vegan!
- 2 lbs. sweet potatoes
- 3 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 cup unsweet apple sauce
- 2 teaspoon ground cinnamon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- pinch of ground nutmeg
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- Extra salt & cinnamon/sugar or marshmallows for topping optional
Wrap sweet potatoes in foil and cook at 450 degrees for 1-1.5 hours. Remove them from the oven, cut in half, and let them cool. Remove the skins and set aside. Reduce oven to 375 degrees. Add applesauce and sweet potatoes to blender and blend until smooth. Add melted coconut oil, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg and blend to combine. Transfer to 9 inch baking dish and sprinkle with optional topping. Cook for 25-30 minutes then cool for 10 minutes.
Roasted Carrots with Candied Pecans & Goat Cheese
You can never have enough roasted vegetables this time of year. Carrots make for the perfect nutrient-dense side dish and always look great on the table. By topping with candied pecans and goat cheese, it really elevates the dish and adds to the Thanksgiving-feel.
- 2 pounds carrots - peeled
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter - cut into pats
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 ounces goat cheese - crumbled
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves to garnish
For the pecans
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 cup roughly chopped pecan halves
- 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt
Line baking sheet with foil and place the carrots in a single layer. Sprinkle with brown sugar, salt, pepper, and cinnamon. Evenly distribute the pats of butter and roast at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes turning 3-4 times. While the carrots are roasting, prepare the pecans by melting the butter over low heat then adding in the maple syrup, brown sugar, and pecan halves until the mixture is thick. Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt. When the carrots are done, but them in a serving dish, add your pecans and goat cheese and garnish with thyme!
Simple Cranberry Sauce
- 1 6 oz. package frozen or fresh cranberries
- 2/3 cup water
- ½ cup pure maple syrup (or according to taste)
- 1 – 2 teaspoons cinnamon (according to taste)
- 1/8 – ¼ teaspoon allspice (according to taste)
- Pinch – 1/8 teaspoon clove
Place all of the ingredients in a sauce pan and boil for 4-5 minutes until all cranberries have opened and the sauce thickens. Then lower the heat and continue to boil for several minutes, mixing and smashing any cranberries that haven't burst open. Remove from heat and allow to cool then refrigerate before serving!
If you're going to put a carb-loaded casserole on the table, make it this one. This rich and flavorful Thanksgiving staple is a must-try. With whole ingredients and a plethora of fall veggies in the mix, this take of stuffing is a healthier way to indulge.
- 10 cups cubed whole-grain bread (white bread is fine too!)
- 1 white or yellow onion, diced, approx. 2 cups
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 medium carrots, diced, approx. 1.5 cups
- 4 ribs celery, chopped, approx. 2 cups
- 2 tsp dried sage or 2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chopped sage
- 1 tsp ground thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary or 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1–2 cups vegetable broth
- pinch of salt and pepper
Place the cubed bread on one or two baking sheets and toast for 10-15 minutes at 350 degrees. Add celery, onion, garlic, and carrot to a skillet over medium-high heat with a little vegetable broth or butter. Sauté for 7-8 minutes then add in your dry herbs and cook for a few more minutes. Add the cubed bread and sautéed veggies to a bowl and add 1 cup of vegetable broth. Mix slowly until all bread is covered (adding more vegetable broth when needed). Transfer to a large casserole dish, cover in foil and bake in the 350 degree oven for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an addition 10 minutes. Pull from the oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving!
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