Stress-Free Thanksgiving Part Three: Making Your Meals Healthy

See also Part One: Planning the Meal, and Part Two: Create a Timeline.

Just because it’s a special occasion doesn’t mean you should eat completely unhealthy. Ok, the actively losing weight part of me had to get that out! Are you kidding me? My favorite part of Thanksgiving is carb-laden dressing, gravy and pecan pie!!!
I am truly southern and truly appreciate fatty, southern, soul-food. It is a mission of mine to make all my healthier choice foods taste as delicious as the traditional, fatty, southern favorites I grew up with. A few simple changes to your recipes and you can do the same for Thanksgiving, too.

I try to choose super foods to eat every day for my family. Luckily, some of the super foods you should eat on a regular basis are Thanksgiving staples. You just need to modify how you prepare them. Thanksgiving super foods include:

1. Turkey-is low in saturated fat, overall fat and cholesterol. It also provides almost 50 percent of the RDA for folic acid that helps to prevent birth defects, forms of cancer, and heart disease. Instead of basting with butter, baste your bird with its’ own pan juices. Also, bake your turkey on a rack instead of sitting in the pan with all the pan drippings.

2. Pumpkin-full of beta-carotene that is good for the eyes and helps prevent cancer and atherosclerosis. It is also rich in vitamin C and potassium. Try a pumpkin soup at the start of your Thanksgiving meal to change things up from pumpkin pie with whipped cream. Eating soup at the start of a meal aids in digestion and can help with weight loss. Plus, it will help you eat less throughout the meal.

3. Sweet Potatoes-another great source of beta-carotene, antioxidants, and fiber. Instead of a fat and calorie rich sweet potato casserole, try baking your sweet potatoes just like a regular baked potato. Serve them with organic butter and cinnamon to sprinkle.

4. Cranberries-are an excellent source of antioxidants vitamins C and E, and help reduce the risk of cancer, stroke, heart disease, and urinary tract infections. An easy way to elevate their flavor without adding too many calories is a simple preparation with the zest and juice from one orange, a few tablespoons of agave nectar, and a bag of cranberries all cooked down until thickened. Check out this cranberry apple compote recipe.

5. Whole Wheat Dinner Rolls-100 percent whole wheat breads are full of fiber that decreases the risk of heart disease and some types of cancer. I’m not suggesting you stress yourself out and start trying to make whole wheat rolls or breads of any kind from scratch at Thanksgiving. There are several brands of whole wheat rolls you can purchase at the grocery store. The point here is that you substitute white bread for whole wheat options.

My goal this year is to remake a family favorite appetizer-bacon and brown sugar lil’ smokies. I know it sounds impossible, but I’m going to try my best!

Be sure to print you free Thanksgiving Hosting Planner. Are there any healthy versions of traditional favorites your family cooks at Thanksgiving? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

The Simple Things series is written by April Patel, contributing writer tonaturalthrifty.com. April is a freelance writer, single mom, homeschooler and pseudo urban homesteader and she blogs at An Apple a Day Wisdom.  Like her Facebook page today so you don’t miss any of her daily doses of apple!


3 Comments:
  1. How did you know I would be stressing about our Thanksgiving menu tonight?! I did get a bunch of twice baked potatoes prepped and in the freezer so they only need their final baking on Thanksgiving itself. I think we have a lot of starches on the menu, but I know the people visiting will be expecting that. At least it’s organic, whole wheat starches and it’s only one meal!

  2. Great ideas for a tasty yet tasty Thanksgiving! It’s good to know that we could have a lot of delicious varieties in our meals instead of just serving bland food.

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