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Recipe Round Up Part II

Last Minute Favorites for a Healthy, Delicious Thanksgiving 

There’s simply no excuse for not incorporating sweet, delicious, healthy foods into your holiday meal this year. Sure, plenty of Thanksgiving recipes pack in the calories, but forking up some lesser-known ingredients and unsung vegetables could be worth it if it helps you expand your food relationships all year. Besides, there IS a way to enjoy this food-infused celebration and maintain your health goals.

We don’t expect you to strip all the skin off your turkey, or forgo your favorite pie. But while you’re gearing up for the onslaught of food, you can keep your head.  Here’s our favorite nuggets of (realistic) advice to keep your health on the front burner during for the big day, and some great recipe ideas to have steaming on the side.

Mind your substitutes. Use canola or olive oil instead of butter, herbs and spices instead of salt, and reduced vegetable stock instead of gravy while you’re cooking in an effort to make fatty foods a little healthier and save yourself some of the calories and the guilt. It’s your year-round cooking rule anyway, so why stop know? (Health Castle can help with some common substitutions.) 

Get active. You know you’ll be invigorated with a pre-meal or post-meal walk – don’t let the exhaustion of cooking and company get you down. It’s the perfect way to burn a few calories, take a breather, and keep your exercise regime intact even on your day off. 

Drink water. This is the best, simplest tip you’ll come across. They’ll be plenty of coffee during the early morning food prep, and plenty of holiday cocktail opportunities. Water is your best defense to keep empty calories down, and keep alcohol intake on the down-low. 

Don’t starve. It’s tempting: save up your calories so you can enjoy the holiday party or have the extras. Unfortunately, it’s almost always bad advice: skipping meals to save calories backfires by causing you to overeat and head toward the carbs. Being consistent with your meals will help you moderate during party time and make good decisions when you’re smack dab in front of the spread.  

Consider your plate. Keeping food groups in mind is some of our favorite advice: Think of your plate as one third protein, one-third vegetable and one third “other”, and that includes stuffing or pie. You’ll be more likely to eat across the rainbow and get all your food groups, not just one.

Remember you’ll survive. One gooey dessert does not mean you’ll gain five pounds. If you are blaming Aunt Hazel’s insistence on having that second serving of sweet potato pie, remember that you’ll need to eat an extra piece of pie every day for the next two months to gain those 5 pounds. So, don’t throw in the towel so fast. Indulge, be conscious, give thanks and enjoy.

Let the Cooking Begin!

Thanks again to Amanda & Merrill at food52.com for giving us the gift of wonderful holiday food in all its incarnations. They offer vouched-for favorites such as Parsnip Potato Mash, exquisite starters like Butternut Cider Soup, and lots of fantastic sides like Ciabatta Stuffing, and Gingered Cranberry & Fig Chutney. Need dessert? Here’s 12 options whether your penchant is for crust or no crust. A delight!

Eat Well With Janel generously offers up a vegan twist to a not-exactly traditional dish. Her Vegan Pumpkin Alfredo is a unique take on some leftover pie ingredients and a way to incorporate tofu with creativity. Thanks, Janel!

Fruits and Veggies More Matters is a key resource for understanding the importance of fruit and veggie servings when it comes to your health. They’ve weighed in for Thanksgiving with these perfectly practical matters that put the health back into your holiday. Perfect timing! Try 5 Ways to Take Fat & Calories Out of Your Thanksgiving Dinner and Healthy Alternatives for the Not-So-Traditional Holiday Meal just for starters.

Serious Eats can help with the perennial Thanksgiving conundrum: how do you get a little color into the drab tans and whites on your plate? With green bean casserole, of course. It’s a classic, and with this Ultimate Homemade Green Bean Casserole they’ve upgraded mom’s version to incorporate some homemade ingredients that separate your greens from the pack.

Let’s not forget to give thanks to Martha for the opportunity to be beneficiaries of her always flawless holiday advice. She’s got you covered from Mushroom Walnut Gravy to Roasted Peaches with Sweet Onions. She has plenty of ideas if you are stumped on desserts as well – Pumpkin Chocolate Tiramisu is definitely a good thing. Find them all at Martha Stewart Thanksgiving Recipes: Turkey, Stuffing, Side Dishes & Desserts.

A healthy and delicious Thanksgiving? Yes, you can have both! Give thanks to your health and longevity this year. Cheers!

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