Thanksgiving Healthy Alternatives


Tis the season of good tidings and cheer. They are here, the 2 major holidays that close out 2014. Wow, what a year it has been. So, how have you done on your journey to better health that you made January 1, 2014 as your New Years Resolution? At Git Right, we hope you stayed focused on your goals and hit your mark. If you have been training consistently with us then we know you are on track. Call 855-734-4878 if you are not training with us and want to get back on track. There is still time for us to help you hit your goal. Now, back to this feast on Thanksgiving. Why should you sacrifice your goals or your health in the name of Thanksgiving? There are ways to still enjoy this great time and not over do it in the food and drink department. Check out some of these alternative approaches in the kitchen.

On Turkey Day, pie crusts, butter covered dinner rolls, and starchy stuffing play supporting roles for the star of the day. William Davis, MD, author of Wheat Belly Total Health, offers ideas and insight for tasty holiday swaps. You can still create a thick gravy without using grains. You can swap coconut flour instead of wheat or corn starch. Here is how you do it. Stir drippings or broth over low heat in a skillet adding in one teaspoon every 1-2 minutes. This allows the water absorbent action of the coconut flour to work, says Davis. Make sure you add your herbs, salt, pepper, and thyme to mask any coconut flavor that may come through. In addition, you can have cauliflower instead of breadcrumbs. Steaming your cauliflower and pulsating it in your food processor will make a grain free base for your turkey dressing. Bake or stir it over medium heat in a skillet and add mushrooms, sausage, and herbs of your choice.

Do you know another great alternative? It is pecans. Pecans instead of wheat flour or graham crackers. Guess what, now you know a great alternative to make a great grain free pie base that is super satisfying. Ground pecans, an egg, coconut oil, and cinnamon will make a dough that you can form by hand into a crust, then bake after you add your filling. Yummy.

Mark Scarbrough and Bruce Weinstein, authors of the Vegetarian Dinner Party, have some great suggestions to make the dinner painless for vegans and vegetarians. A concentrated veggie demi-glace instead of vegetable broth is a great suggestion. This substitute is a hyper reduced concentrate of roasted vegetables. Follow the instructions on the package and use it in your soups, stews, and mashed potatoes. Instead of using cooked sausage in your stuffings and dressings, Scarbrough and Weinstein suggest using jarred roasted chestnuts because “They add a nutty, sweet flavor with a firm, chewy texture.” Make sure to buy them in good quantity when you see them because they don’t last very long on store shelves this time of year. They sell out fast.

Here is an additional idea if you are reducing calories in your meal. You can use olive oil and almond milk instead of butter and cow’s milk. “For your famous mashed potatoes, try olive oil for the butter and plain almond milk instead of dairy.” “Not only are these options more heart-healthy, but they give you a chance to mix up the routine” says Scarbrough and Weinstein.

Have you considered going sugar-free for Thanksgiving? Well it is probably not likely, but here are a few ideas for substitutions. How about a sweet potato casserole instead of sweet potato wedges. If it’s topped with toasted marshmallows, you’re looking at 4 grams of sugar per marshmallow, not to mention the butter and sugar beneath. For an equally satisfying and much safer side dish, cut a couple of whole sweet potatoes into wedges, coat them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 3 tablespoons of pure maple syrup which is sugar from nature, not factory made, a squeeze of lime juice, and a pinch of red-pepper flakes. Bake until done. Here is another low sugar idea. What about that tasty cranberry sauce? Make sure you use fresh cranberry sauce instead of canned cranberry sauce since a 1/2 inch slice of the canned sauce has 20 grams of sugar whereas the same slice of fresh sauce has about 11 grams. Fresh whole cranberries are some of the richest cancer fighters.

May I have some bread with my turkey? Well yes you may just consider nut bread instead of wheat bread. Substituting nuts for wheat also means you’ll ditch the blood sugar-spiking carbs and get a filling dose of protein. And if nuts aren’t your thing, you can also play around with quinoa or even wild rice in your favorite stuffing recipes, for a fiber-filled alternative. In addition, another alternative is coconut oil or fruit instead of butter. For delicious dairy free baked goods, you can swap the butter with coconut oil or pureed fruits such as apples, prunes, pumpkin, or bananas.

What about my gravy covered mash potatoes? Consider using olive oil and chicken broth for butter. Eliminate the butter and replace it with 1/2 cup of chicken broth and 1 tablespoon of olive oil for every 1 1/2 pounds of potatoes. And lastly, what about my sweet dessert, my pumpkin pie? You can make that pie with a one to one swap of full-fat coconut milk for evaporated milk. You will still have a rich and creamy pie that is dairy free.

So there you have it, some insight on ways to still enjoy delicious foods without all the fat, sugar, and excessive calories on Thanksgiving. Enjoy!

Reference: Top Thanksgiving Swaps for Every Diet by Cathryne Keller

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