Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving! 5 Tips for a Good-For-You Day and 3 Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving Meal -- Healthy Side DishesThanksgiving is hands down my favorite holiday.  Rooted in family tradition, Thanksgiving is one of those rare occasions where my family’s dress code is pajamas only, excuse to leave the couch is to throw around a football, and highlight of the day is of course Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanksgiving is also my favorite because it happens to include all of the foods I love and look forward to all year—delicious fall vegetables, warm and comforting stuffing, and pumpkin and apple desserts.  Even though I always take the opportunity to indulge on this annual event, I always keep some healthy holiday tips in mind so my night doesn’t end in a food coma.

One of the greatest things about foods this time of year is their robust flavor and versatility.  You would never even know that some of the most delicious recipes are actually really good for you.  Follow these tips for a healthy Thanksgiving you’re sure to be thankful for.

ONE: Fill up on those Fall veggies- Brussels sprouts, fennel, broccoli, and cauliflower, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and squash make hearty and satisfying dishes.  Packed with cancer-fighting antioxidants and Vitamin A, these vegetables can be baked, roasted, or sautéed for a side dish prepared in no time.

TWO: Reduce fat in your dishes by replacing butter and cream with oil or not using a fat at all.  Believe it or not, butter can often be omitted in recipes such as mashed potatoes, stuffings, soups, and even desserts.

THREE: Integrate whole grains in your holiday cooking.  Make brown rice or quinoa dishes or use whole wheat bread in your stuffing.  These dishes will increase the fiber to make you feel fuller longer without overstuffing your waistline.

FOUR: Turkey marinades are often loaded with sugars and high calorie juices, turning a healthy protein-packed main dish into a diet disaster.  Try using flavorful spice rubs, citrus fruits, fresh apples, and herbs to liven up your turkey this year.

FIVE: Three words—portions, portions, portions.  Maybe the most important tip of all, always pay attention to portion control.  Eating a small serving of your favorite Thanksgiving treats will leave you feeling far from deprived this holiday season.

Olive Oil and OlivesSweet Potato Soup

Ingredients:

3 large sweet potatoes

½ onion, chopped

2 gloves garlic, chopped

3 cups vegetable broth

1 teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon sage

1 tablespoon Fairway olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Poke holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork or knife and microwave for 20 minutes.  Scoop out inside of sweet potatoes.

Add oil to pot and sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent.  Add sweet potato, vegetable broth, and spices.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Puree with immersion blender until creamy.

Mashed Cauliflower

Ingredients:

1 medium head cauliflower, cut into small florets

1 head garlic

Fairway Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place cauliflower florets on baking sheet and toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until cauliflower is slightly browned.

Cut the top off of the head of garlic so that the top of the cloves are exposed and place in aluminum foil.  Drizzle a few teaspoons of olive oil over the top and wrap with aluminum foil.  Roast head of garlic for 35-40 minutes or until cloves are soft.  Cool garlic and squeeze cloves out of skin.

Transfer cauliflower and garlic to pot.  Mash with a potato masher until blended to desired consistency.  You may also want to use an immersion blender for a finer consistency.  Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp nutmeg

4 eggs

1 cup applesauce

2 cups Fairway Organic Pumpkin, canned

6 ounces dark chocolate chips or pecans or both!

Mix together first seven ingredients then add the next three.  Fold in chocolate chips and/or pecans if desired.  Spread onto a greased 10 X 15″ baking pan; bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

 

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