Healthy Thanksgiving Options the Whole Family Will Love
Healthy Thanksgiving Options the Whole Family Will Love

Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday. My dad makes his yearly pilgrimage out west and I get to cook a feast for mine and my boyfriend’s family. This year, we wanted to opt for something a little less traditional and more on the healthy side of things, so while I was coming up with my menu, I jotted down some other healthy Thanksgiving options the whole family will love.

Want to start with what’s on my menu this year? Here you go!

Appetizer: Shrimp Cocktail and Olive, Cheese, and Grape plate
Main Course Meat: Salmon
Sides: Arugula salad, sweet potato salad, and mac & cheese
Dessert: pumpkin cheesecake

{All Recipes for my Thanksgiving Menu will be shared in my newsletter}

This is a great mix of healthy with a side of indulgence. Often times during Thanksgiving people make WAY too much food, way too many carbs, and not enough veggies. Keep your menu simple with only a couple options, this way you won’t be overwhelmed in the kitchen and your guests won’t over eat.

Here are some other healthy thanksgiving options the whole family will love:

{Proteins}

If you’re going to stay traditional and cook a turkey, I like to use coconut oil, which is a much healthier alternative to other oils. It will still crisp the skin AND be a little easier on your waistline. Also, get creative with your seasoning! Turkey doesn’t have to be boring. Old Bay, Adobo, Curry, BBQ, Teriyaki. Your options are limitless.

Other healthy meat course options are fish, bison, Cornish hens, and chicken. What I love about things like fish and chicken breasts is that you cook exactly the amount you need! No waste. Plus, like turkey, they’re super versatile proteins.

{Apps & Sides)

To save you from the after dinner coma, make more veggies than carbs. Offer different types of salads instead of different types of potatoes and stuffing. BLASPHEMY?! Maybe… but why throw out good health just because of a holiday?

You can do appetizers as simple as a tropical fruit platter or shrimp cocktail or your standard veggie plate but swap out the ranch dressing for hummus or babganoush. If you can make it yourself, do it! This way, you have control over what goes in it. Keep your apps light. No one wants their dinner spoiled.

My absolute favorite leafy greens are Kale (green or purple), Arugula, and Spinach. Here are some salad combos and homemade dressings:

Kale, walnut, and dried cranberries
Sweet & Savory Balsamic {½ cup EVOO, ¼ cup balsamic vinegar, 1/3 cup of honey, and 4 TBSP Dijon Mustard}

Arugula, goat cheese and sautéed onions
Creamy Lemon Vinaigrette {1/2 cup crème fresh, 2 TBSP EVOO, juice of one lemon, zest of one lemon, dash of salt, pepper and garlic}

Spinach, sautéed onions, hardboiled eggs
Honey Apple Cider Vinaigrette {½ cup EVOO, ¼ cup apple cider vinegar, 1/3 cup of honey}

Another favorite is fresh string beans, blanched, and tossed in olive oil and salt and pepper. This can either be served cold or warm. So simple and so tasty! A little dash of balsamic will even spice things up a bit.

Can you tell that I love greens yet? What about cucumber salad for something light and tasty? This can be served before or with the meal.

Okay… one more green thing and I’ll get to your carbs. Roasted Brussels Sprouts in the Sweet & Savory Balsamic dressing. Cut the sprouts in half, toss in the dress and put on a cookie sheet. Roast in the over, 300 degrees, for about 35 minutes or until tender.

Stuffing, potatoes, and rolls, OH MY! I love stuffing just as much as the next person and honestly, it’s not the worse thing you could eat. Carrots, celery, onions, eggs and bread. My tip is to make yours with ANYTHING BUT WHITE BREAD. The taste won’t be too terribly different.

Your standard Mashed Potatoes don’t do much for the body, so, this Thanksgiving, switch to the sweet potato. You can make it mashed, sliced, or whole for each guest. Are you a fan of mini potatoes? Pop some purple and red potatoes in the oven and roast them up for a colorful alternative.

A homemade Mac & Cheese is going to rack up a ton of calories, but LIFE IS MEANT TO BE LIVED. If you keep your menu simple, you don’t feel poorly about indulging in Mac & Cheese like I am.

 

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{Dessert}

Now, I can sit here and tell you to make Parfaits for your guests by layering Greek Yogurt, Granola, and Fruit in pretty little glasses…. But I like pie and this is the one time a year that I allow myself to eat it. Have fun. Be American and enjoy that apple pie! Or Pumpkin Cheesecake!

Now that I’ve given you some ideas, here is a menu example based on my picks for
healthy Thanksgiving options the whole family will love:

App: Veggies with Hummus and Cucumber Salad
Main Course Protein: Chicken Breasts seasoned with adobo
Sides: Roasted red and purple potatoes and Kale Salad
Dessert: Apple Pie

This year, start a tradition of health and balance. If you tweak your Thanksgivingmenu with any of these options, please #NurturesGiving!! I want to see all of our happy and healthy families enjoying their Thanksgiving meals.