Thanksgiving should be a time of gratitude, family, friends and good times, not food comas and bloated bellies. If you make an effort to eat well everyday, you don't have to throw your healthy habits out the window on Thanksgiving. Instead, clean up your favorite holiday meals with these healthy Thanksgiving swaps. We're not saying go full-on tofurkey, but by choosing better-for-you ingredients, you can make the holiday healthier for you and your loved ones.
Traditional: Stuffing & White Rice
Healthy: Quinoa or Sprouted Grains
Stuffing gets an easy, healthier upgrade when made with quinoa or sprouted grains like brown or wild rice. Quinoa is a protein- and fiber-rich pseudograin, so it's a great choice for any veg guests.
Traditional: Candied Sweet Potatoes & Marshmallows
Healthy: Baked Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil & Cinnamon
If you've ever baked, steamed or roasted a sweet potato, you know this healthy root veg is plenty sweet without marshmallows and added sugar. Try dressing your sweet potato side dish with coconut oil and cinnamon. Coconut oil provides beneficial fats that your body can more easily metabolize, which means you'll less likely feel like you need a post-meal nap. Cinnamon is a superfood in its own right: It's loaded with antioxidants and helps balance blood sugar levels. Simply bake sweet potatoes and swipe with coconut oil and a dash of cinnamon before serving.
Traditional: Canned Cranberry Sauce
Healthy: Natural Cranberries, Chutney, Jams, Spreads
Chutney, jams, spreads … canned cranberry has a lot of competition and the other options tend to be lower in sugar and sodium. Not to mention real cranberries are loaded with vitamin C, manganese and fiber. If your friends and family are open to the exotic, try this chipotle cranberry orange relish. For a more traditional cranberry, go with this cranberry sauce with port.
Traditional: White & Refined Baking Flours
Healthy: Whole Wheat, Gluten Free & Sprouted Flours
We admit that going from white flours to gluten-free, sprouted or whole grain flours can change the consistency of texture of certain types of desserts, so you may need to whip up your favorite holiday dessert before the big day to make sure you get it right. Taking this extra step pays off big when you can serve your loved ones a better-for-you dessert.
Traditional: Fats & Sugar
Healthy: Unsweetened Applesauce
Did you know you could replace sugar and butter in recipes with unsweetened applesauce? Use a cup of applesauce for every cup of sugar called for in a recipe (just be sure to reduce the amount of liquid by ¼ cup) to reduce sugar levels and cut calories. It also makes desserts nice and moist. Unsweetened applesauce also works for replacing fats in sweet treats. Try ½ cup of applesauce and ½ cup of fat for every 1 cup of fat (butter, oil, etc.) in the recipe.