What are you doing for Thanksgiving this year? I always ask when every holiday rolls around; will you be eating healthfully, eating anything you want whether it’s fattening or not, then going back to healthy eating the next day or will you be eating everything but in moderation? Whatever you choose it’s okay but I’m going to give you some lighter suggestions.
If you’re watching your calorie or fat intake, this year for Thanksgiving you can replace some of your normal recipes with some lower fat recipes or just cut back a bit. Basically the most detrimental things on our holiday menu are your simple sugars (anything made with white flour and/or sugar, etc). So how can we eat more nutritious, complex carbohydrates instead? First of all it’s Thanksgiving so everything isn’t going to be healthy but some things can be substituted to be healthier than they would’ve been.
Mashed Potato Substitute
Have you ever had mashed cauliflower in place of mashed potatoes? NO? Don’t knock it until you try it. You’d be amazed at how good it is. You can probably find the recipe on any healthy eating or light cooking website. If you are going to have your normal mashed potatoes and you are making them, try replacing heavy cream with buttermilk and cut down on the butter.
I always enjoy my salad on the holidays because I ask my sister to bring her wonderful, yummy, scrumptious creation. She adds so many items into her salads yet keeps them low calorie and healthy. In any given salad made by sis you can find foods such as romaine lettuce, mesclun mix, grapes, nuts, mandarin oranges, cranberries, blueberries, you name it and at different times you find all or some in the mix. She then makes a wonderful salad dressing that I think is made with olive oil, vinegar, nuts, and whatever fruits are in the salad. YUMMMMY!!!!!!! I wouldn’t think I’d like it if I was reading it but I love it. Just beware of the dressings; they are very high in calories if they do not say light or fat-free. Check the labels. You would be surprised your 50 or 100 calorie salad can ultimately turn into 700 calories.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fiber and help stabilize blood sugars and we need that on Thanksgiving Day. Don’t we? I love making baked sweet potato chips. Although it is not fun cutting them it is worth it when you eat them. They are so easy to make; just cut thin slices, spray with Pam or any cooking spray on both sides and add some spices. It’s all about what you like – salt, pepper or any other kind of spice you prefer.
Most of us stuff the turkey; that’s why it’s called stuffing. However, stuffing made on the side has way less calories and so much less fat because it’s not baking in the juices. When you eat the stuffing from the turkey you are literally eating all the fat that didn’t leak out. It’s like taking a piece of bread and leaving it in the oil on the bottom of the turkey pan until it’s saturated through and through then eating it. So, if you normally make stuffing in your bird, make some on the side, too. It’s definitely the healthier way to go. Anyone partaking in the festivity who is watching their fat intake will love you for it.
Allow others to add butter themselves. Serve it plain and let everyone know butter is on the table.
Pies and Baked Goods
I know many people who choose to substitute apple sauce for oil in their baking recipes. There are just a few rules I learned when doing that:
- If you choose to use sweetened applesauce reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe or use unsweetened applesauce instead.
- Apple sauce should always be measured in a liquid measuring cup.
- Make sure the applesauce is properly and thoroughly mixed into the cake or pie mix; remember it is a different consistency than oil so you want to really mix it well.
- It should take the same amount of time to cook and it will be very moist.
Whatever your day looks like on Thanksgiving and how ever you decide to eat, have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Let me know if you have anything to add to these healthier holiday goodies. I always appreciate your feedback.