Thanksgiving is this Thursday. Are you ready? If you happen to be cooking a meal at your home or preparing a dish or two to bring to someone else’s house, chances are, you already know what you are making. However, for those of us who like to “plan” at the last minute (and I know you are out there since the grocery store parking lot is ALWAYS packed the day before Thanksgiving), here are a few healthy Thanksgiving recipe ideas and tips.
- Look at the overall balance of the spread you are planning first. Sometimes it’s easier to make a meal healthier by adding a few more vegetable side dishes instead of trying to modify every dish you’ll make. Most people prepare many different types of starches (stuffing, bread/rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash, corn, peas, etc..) and not enough veggies. Here are a few non-starchy vegetable sidesthat work well for Thanksgiving:
- roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, or cauliflower- mist with olive oil and toss with orange zest before roasting
- marinated roasted mushrooms – try a balsamic marinade
- obviously some sort of green bean recipe - try misting cooked green beans with walnut oil and tossing with toasted almonds and dried cranberries
- julienned carrots sauteed in olive oil, tossed in fresh dill
- beets, turnips, & rutabagas – medium dice, mist with oil, and roast with rosemary, thyme, and sage
- Fennel, zucchini, kale, chard, pearl onions and apple would all work nicely in vegetable-based soups
Don’t mess with family favorites by over modifying recipes. However, you may rethink the QUANTITY you typically make if you usually end up with too many left overs.
- Swap out the most processed stuff for the real-deal. Consider making cranberry relish instead of using canned, processed, sugar-laden cranberry sauce. Use real whipped cream instead of whipped topping that’s full of trans fats. Skip the canned, fried onions as a green bean casserole topping and use sauteed Vidalia onions instead.
Try this sugar-free cranberry sauce this year for 1 new addition to your Thanksgiving spread.
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 1 cup quartered strawberries
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 2 T diced celery
- 2 T chopped walnuts
- 1 large pear, diced
Combine cranberries, strawberries, and juice in a small sauce pan and warm over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, cooking about 15 minutes or until cranberries burst. Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients, transfer to glass container, cover and refrigerate over night. Serves 8
What new recipes or creative ideas do you have for creating a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving dinner?