Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. Whether it’s with family, friends or just a few loved ones, I absolutely love the time spent sharing stories, cooking up a storm and gathering around a delicious meal.
It’s also an excuse to cut loose and eat heartily, so making a few easy swaps so that your meal is a little more nutritionally sound is a good thing. Here are my favorite healthy twists on some Thanksgiving classics.
This: Root Vegetable Puree
Not that: Mashed Potatoes
While potatoes provide a good dose of protein and potassium, the addition of butter, milk or heavy cream seriously dilutes their nutritional value. Luckily there’s a healthy alternative to classic mashed potatoes that tastes just as good! Grab some of your favorite root veggies – a bunch of carrots, turnips, parsnips or a head of cauliflower – chop everything up, cook until tender and blend with some coconut oil, cinnamon, salt and pepper. You’ll have a creamy root vegetable puree that’s loaded with fiber and iron.
This: Maple Syrup
Not that: White Sugar
We all know about the shortcomings of white sugar – it’s processed, addictive and contains no nutritional value. Maple syrup, on the other hand, is all natural and chock full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. So go ahead and replace the white sugar in your Thanksgiving dishes with maple syrup. When dinner is served your family and friends will be none the wiser!
This: Grain-based Stuffing
Not that: Bread
Liven up a classic stuffing recipe by swapping out the bread for a more wholesome grain like quinoa or farro. Store-bought bread is often made with added ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and food coloring, and who wants to prepare a lovely dish for loved ones made with processed food? So keep it totally natural by making a grain-based stuffing instead. Even better, these protein-packed grains will keep you nice and full, making it much easier to resist the temptation to go back for seconds or thirds!
This: Greek Yogurt
Not that: Sour Cream
Sour cream can be easily substituted for its healthier, less-fatty sister Greek yogurt. The consistency, flavor and texture are similar, but Greek yogurt packs more of a wholesome punch. It contains probiotics, or healthy bacteria that clean out our digestive tracts, calcium and protein, all of which makes Greek yogurt a much more nutritional alternative for both cooking and baking.
This: Raw Vegan Pumpkin Pie
Not that: Pecan Pie
It’s not Thanksgiving dinner without dessert! Healthify your sweet treat by whipping up this twist on a fall favorite. Made with pumpkin, an HBfit Power Ingredient, and a mix of other nutrient-dense whole foods, this special pie is packed with beta-carotene, fiber and vitamins A and C, and there’s no baking involved. Better yet, the recipe for this healthy holiday dessert is right below. Enjoy!
RAW VEGAN PUMPKIN PIE
• 2 cups walnuts
• 2 cups raisins
• Pinch of salt (optional)
• 1 sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded and cubed (about 6-7 cups)
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
• 3-5 tbsp. coconut nectar or other preferred sweetener
• 1 tsp. cinnamon
• 1/2 tsp. each of nutmeg, ginger and cloves
To make the crust:
1. Pulse the walnuts in a Vitamix or food processor until they’re crumbs.
2. Add the raisins and salt and and continue to blend until all ingredients stick together.
3. Press into a pie dish and put in the fridge.
To make the filling:
1. Blend all the ingredients until smooth with a thick consistency. You can add however much of the spices you like. (I love cinnamon so I added a few extra dashes.) If it’s quite runny, let it thicken in a bowl in the fridge.
2. Spread into your crust and refrigerate overnight until it’s set.
3. Slice and enjoy!