Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving Meal

Let’s talk Thanksgiving! With turkey day just a couple weeks away, it’s time to get your meal plans together. It’s better to be organized so that you won’t be overwhelmed when the big day arrives. You can even create a timeline for Thanksgiving day so you know what your making all throughout the day, making sure you’ll have everything ready by dinner time! And since I’d like to only have to run a 5K to work off all of that ridiculously delicious food, let’s make a few small changes to make Thanksgiving dinner a little healthier this year!

Turkey – I’ve never made a turkey myself, but I’d imagine that baking the turkey would be the healthiest way to go. Let’s just bypass the deep fryer, shall we? There are tons of recipes for your main turkey dish just like these turkey recipes!

Vegetables – Go easy on the salt and butter when you’re cooking your vegetables. Use olive oil to sauté your vegetables and just let everyone season their own vegetables. Also, use fresh vegetables instead of canned to avoid too many preservatives and salt. You could even purée them to make a healthy soup like this sweet potato soup or asparagus soup! Here’s more tips on how to cook vegetables, whether it be to bake, steam, boil, or sauté them.

Casseroles – Whether it be green beansweet potato, creamed corn, or your family’s other casserole, there are ways to make small adjustments to your recipes to make them healthier. For example, substitute non-fat plain Greek yogurt or light sour cream for sour cream, fresh vegetables instead of canned, or if you have to used canned goods go for the low sodium versions. Also, if you’re using shredded cheese, use low-fat or part skim versions!

Macaroni & Cheese – Everything in moderation is key here. It’s hard to make a good mac ‘n cheese without loads of cheese in there. You can always substitute whole grain noodles instead of the white noodles. But, maybe this year you could try sneaking in some vegetables in your mac ‘n cheese with this cauliflower mac ‘n cheese.

Cranberry Sauce – Add in some extra oomph to your cranberry sauce like oranges or pecans (here’s my mom’s recipe). You could also go for a different twist on cranberries by choosing one of these 15 cranberry recipes!

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Gravy – Instead of using all butter as the base of your gravy, try substituting half of the butter for canola or olive oil. Then, use low sodium chicken stock as your liquid instead of the turkey drippings.

Cake – My specialty! Try substituting applesauce for some of the oil in the recipe, slim down the dairy products by using low fat or skim milk instead of whole milk, and even substitute some egg whites for some of the eggs in your recipe. You can substitute whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or white whole wheat flour for your all-purpose flour, too. We could go on, so here are some more helpful tips and delicious chocolate recipes!

Pie – Use a homemade whole wheat crust and pile on the fruit! You could even skip the pie pan all together and use a whole apple to make individual pies or make an apple un-pie! But, my personal favorite is a good gingersnap pumpkin pie. Mmm!

Here’s a few more tips on how to make a healthier Thanksgiving and different methods to cooking lighter. Happy Healthier Thanksgiving!

 

 

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Caroline is a wife, new mom, food blogger, recipe developer and photographer from South Carolina. She is OCD about having the kitchen sink clean, a major chocoholic, and loves modern, simple styles. Caroline runs chocolate & carrots where she primarily focuses on healthier baking. She also has a mom blog called crackers & carrots where she documents everything pregnancy and baby. Connect with her: Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram!

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