Thursday is a traditional time for friends and family across the country to convene and give thanks, enjoy one another’s company, and eat delicious foods. But according to research from the Calorie Control Council, the typical American will consume up to 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat this Thanksgiving. Even if you jog in place from Black Friday to Cyber Monday, you’ll be feeling the negative effects of a meal this unhealthy for a long time!
Because we care about what our families are eating, we found some practical tricks that will cut the calories and boost the nutrients while still tasting like the delicious, traditional Thanksgiving feast that we know and love.
Slow-roast sweet potatoes to maximize sweetness without the added sugar.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins A, C and B6, as well as manganese, copper, and pantothenic acid. The dishes served on the Thanksgiving table, however, are typically loaded with added sugar. Try slow-roasting this year for a healthy dish that’s naturally sweet!
Cut 3 lbs sweet potatoes into ¾-inch pieces, toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and a little salt and pepper, and spread onto two baking sheets. Roast until the undersides are browned (about 40 minutes) in a 325°F oven. Flip, and roast until both sides are browned and soft throughout, about 40 more minutes.
Replace your mashed potatoes with cauliflower.
For many people, the lectins in white potatoes can bother the gut. Instead, try mashed cauliflower as the perfect substitute! Cauliflower, when prepared and mashed correctly, provides a similar texture and a sweet, buttery taste. Not to mention, you can rest easily knowing that you’re sneaking in extra protein with a fraction of the carbs!
To make mashed cauliflower, fill a large saucepan with an inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil and add 1 ½ lbs of cauliflower florets. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover, steaming the cauliflower for 6 to 8 minutes, or until they fork tender. Drain the steamed cauliflower and transfer to a large food processor. Add in 3 roasted garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chives, and salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to add a splash of almond milk or water, if needed. Simple and delicious!
Thinly slice and roast Brussels sprouts.
When thinly sliced, crowded on a baking sheet, and roasting at a high temperature, Brussels sprouts require much less oil. The sprouts on the inside of a pile will steam and soften, while the sprouts on the outside will get crispy and a nice brown.
Wash and clean 3 lbs Brussels sprouts, and add to a food processor fitted with a slicing attachment to slice into thin rounds. Put the sprouts in a large bowl and toss with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 8 thinly sliced garlic cloves, two thinly sliced shallots, and some salt and pepper. Spread all sprouts over a single baking sheet to make a crowded pile and roast for 25 minutes in a 450°F oven.
Make homemade cranberry sauce.
Store-bought cranberry sauce is loaded with added sugar, and many homemade recipes call for more sugar than necessary. This recipe isn’t quite as sweet on the taste buds but is much sweeter to your body!In a small sauce pot, combine a 12 ounce bag of frozen cranberries, ½ cup orange juice, ½ cup water, the zest of one orange, and 1/3 cup granulated sugar. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook over medium-low heat until the cranberries burst (about 20 to 25 minutes).
Serve baked apple crisps instead of apple pie
Apple crisp is not only a healthy alternative to pie – it’s much easier too make, too!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a baking dish. Add medium-sized apples to a large bowl and sprinkle with a dash of lemon juice. Toss to coat with 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 Tbsp cornstarch, ½ tsp of cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Transfer to a baking dish and set aside.
Make sure to have a simple green salad on the table!
A Thanksgiving salad doesn’t have to be complicated. Toss greens with a thinly sliced apple and pomegranate seeds; dress lightly with a super simple vinaigrette.
With these recipes, your family will enjoy “traditional” Thanksgiving feasts for years to come, without compromising their health.