Healthy Twists on Thanksgiving Classics
Although Thanksgiving is about friendships and counting our blessings, for many Americans, it quickly turns into a day of eating… and of course, that doesn’t mean overloading on healthy salads. Keep this year’s menu traditional, but a bit healthier, with these healthy – and easy – twists on the classics.
Thanksgiving potatoes vary in prep, but whether they’re au gratin, mashed, or scalloped they have one thing in common (aside from the natural starchiness): they carry lots of fat in the way of cheeses and butter used in preparation. Skip these fats and swap the butter or cream for a Greek yogurt – it’s full of the richness and creaminess that you love, but without the saturated fats and high calories. Better yet, swap in sweet potatoes instead of the Russets – it’s a healthier carb that’s also loaded with healthy vitamins.
Green beans by themselves are a great pick – but all too often, they get covered in butter or cream sauces. Stick to steamed green beans, or, to amp them up, consider adding some turkey bacon bits and garlic with extra virgin olive oil.
Cranberries are full of vitamins and nutrients – but alone, they’re incredibly bitter (that’s why they get smothered with sugar). Cranberry sauce is an easy fix – for starters, leave the pre-made cans at the grocery store; they’re more like candy than cranberry sauce. Instead, mix together 1 c. sweetener (Splenda, Truvia, etc.), the juice and zest from one orange, a cinnamon stick, and 16 oz. of cranberries. Pop it all on the stove and let it simmer until you hear the cranberries start popping and see the sauce start to thicken. It’s that simple and this option is high in vitamins and low in sugar, while also bringing out the natural flavors in the cranberries.
Between the stuffing, the potatoes, and the dinner rolls, it’s easy for Thanksgiving to turn into a carb fest. Opt to skip the dinner rolls all together – or, if you can’t bring yourself to forego them, look for a whole wheat version that doesn’t have added sugar. As ever, homemade is best.
This is one swap you don’t need to make – turkey is naturally high in iron and a great source of protein. Of course, opt for roasting – no frying – and find other ways to baste that don’t include butter and fats. Last but not least, be careful of that gravy intake.