The holidays are upon us – the Thanksgiving to New Year’s season seems to take forever to get here, but then goes by way too fast! It’s the time we forget about our diets because it’s just SO hard when delicious traditional food is all around us – we can’t get away from it. From spending time in the kitchen with family and friends to work holiday parties to simply running errands – the smells of pumpkin spice, peppermint mocha and gingerbread are everywhere.
With that said, I always try to incorporate some healthy options into the feasting to balance out the inevitable overeating and indulging. We are running a 5-miler on Thanksgiving morning as well! I hope my fiance and brother go easy on me this year! Although I have become a better runner with some of the tweaks I mentioned here.
Here are 10 yummy, must try recipes …
I mentioned this before in my Baked Chicken recipe, but my family doesn’t ever make mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving. Although, they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in Europe, we incorporate some European dishes into our meal. We make Kluski , Polish dumplings made out of potatoes — I’m obsessed. Anyways, this humus mashed potatoes recipe from Gimme Some Oven will make it to the dinner table this year because they substitute heavy cream in traditional mashed potatoes with creamy, healthy hummus. I can’t wait to bring them over for dinner and see what everyone thinks.
2. Roasted Butternut SquashA no brainer. This buttery squash is packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamin A, and its low in fat. I found a super flavorful recipe from PopSugar; just make sure you add some type of herb. I usually add rosemary because it survives the colder nights on my deck, so I still have it! If you don’t know where to start with peeling and cutting the butternut squash, I made a simple guide (because I was lost myself at first! – like do you peel it or not type of confusion)
3. Vegan Green Bean CasseroleMy family doesn’t make a casserole dish either for Thanksgiving, because we are so obsessed with our European dishes that we have not adopted a lot of the American traditional ones. I made a vegan vegetable casserole dish last year though and it was a show stopper! I am going to make this one this year and hope it gets the same positive response. We have been adding a lot more vegetables to the family meals (Nico and I eat A TON of veggies and fruits but my immediate fam not so much) I don’t think mushrooms are considered a vegetable – but my dad sure thinks so! I have been bringing the greens each year, and it has slowly caught on. This dish from Eat the Love just happens to be vegan, gluten-free, grain-free and paleo-friendly.
4. Golden Beet Soup with Roasted Garlic Cashew CreamI LOVE soup and so does the family, but we actually have never incorporated a soup into our Thanksgiving meal. We do for Christmas Eve and Day but not Thanksgiving. I think this one from With Food and Love might be a great new addition.
5. Farro, Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad
With four times as much fiber as brown rice, you know this salad will be extra filling. I love this recipe from Life’s Ambrosia. The colors look so beautiful and the flavors blend so nicely.
6. Kale Salad with Quinoa, Pistachios and Pomegranate SeedsNico made this salad last year and it was a hit! The idea came from one of our favorite stores, Williams Sonoma. You can substitute the pistachios with another nut – we used walnuts and added some goat cheese as well. If you need help prepping the pomegranate, I finally mastered a way to get the seeds out without any mess and I shared it here.
7. Herb-Roasted Turkey BreastThis baked recipe from Ina Garten is packed with flavor. I used to always go for the dark meat when I was younger, but I opt for the lean breast nowadays.
8. Easy Baked Apple Pie ApplesI love these! I made similar ones without the pie crust a few weeks ago. My recipe for Simple Baked Apples is posted here. These from Deliciously Sprinkled definitely make for a better presentation.
9. Pumpkin Cheesecake BitesThese bite-sized desserts by Oven Love are the absolute perfect size! I don’t know about you, but my family likes to have an entire table filled with desserts and it gets really hard to try everything, but with smaller sizes — it can be done! They can easily be made gluten-free too.
10. Cider-Bourbon CocktailBourbon has been growing on me. Nico made this cocktail for all of us when we were in NY visiting my cousin and her boyfriend a few weekends ago. Surprisingly, it was delicious — the ginger, lemon and apple flavors come together nicely.
Please share some of your favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes!