Thankful For A Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner!

Thankful for a Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner! 

I absolutely love Thanksgiving food, but that wasn’t always the case. When I was young eating Thanksgiving meal wasn’t so tasty or satisfying.  All the creamed corn, potatoes that were too dressed up, multi ingredient foods and then the gravy over everything…. Not what a kid looks forward to in a meal. Single food items were my preference, as probably most kids in America.  

When my food habits changed in my mid 30’s, Thanksgiving dinner became one of my favorites!  I still don’t do creamed corn or dress up my potatoes too much, but there are plenty of vegetable and potato dishes that I love to have next to a fresh, hormone and antibiotic free turkey. Making gluten free gravy tops all the stuffing!  I watched my mother-in-law make stuffing for several years and realized that I like all the ingredients in the recipe.   Realizing this made it so much easier for me to make substitutions within the recipe that allowed me to eat and still full of flavor.   

Today, I want to share some of my favorite substitutions that are simple and still keep the full flavor of a wonderful Thanksgiving meal!  Check out my Pinterest Thanksgiving Menu Board for all the recipes in this newsletter and more!      

Mashed Potatoes - first and foremost use organic butter, a good fat and it has a shorter fatty acid chain so easier for all to digest - even lactose intolerant peeps, chicken broth (keeps potatoes white) or vegetable broth, (which will tint the potatoes a bit).  I love the flavor of the vegetable broth and my kids also notice it tastes better too. There are plenty of options to help make the potatoes more creamy without adding milk or high fat creams. Try using almond milk, oat milk or a small amount of lactose free whole milk. Don’t be afraid of the butter in the potatoes. I use himalayan pink salt or kosher sea salt to taste.     

Sweet Potatoes - Have you ever tried these whipped? They are delicious and worthy of week day meals too! To make them a little sweeter, but still healthier than the traditional marshmallow, use maple syrup. Maple syrup is a great sweetener substitute in many recipes.   

Brussel Sprouts - we love these as a Thanksgiving side!   I slice them up in 3rds, after washing them and peeling off outer layer and use olive oil and pink salt to roast them.   This balsamic roasted brussel sprout recipe has been my favorite for awhile and it has turned non-brussel sprout people into fans! Tip for my recipe - I use this fig balsamic that can be purchased at most grocery stores. Always make the sprouts last because they are best when warm and fresh.

There is also a brussel sprout slaw that is great too if you prefer it as the salad at Thanksgiving.   

We have corn at the table, but we don’t cream it…. There’s something about non-gmo fresh corn that tastes so great with just a couple pats of butter.    

Carrots - We love to have the carrots, adds a nice color to your plate. I peel and cut carrots in long strips/stalks and place in a pyrex pan with several pats of unsalted butter and bake covered in the oven for about 30-40 mins depending on how thick your slices are. If the butter is too much, use a slotted spoon to let the excess drip off when serving. These carrots don’t even need any seasoning, other than maybe a shake of himalayan pink salt. They are so sweet tasting and fresh next to the other roasted vegetables.  

Dressing - We have a gluten free bakery near me and they make the best dried seasoned bread chunks specially made for dressing. I buy several of these bags a year because I’ll even make dressing after Thanksgiving. Of course I use a vegetable broth, celery and ground turkey sausage (nitrate free). The recipe is so flavorful! I’ve have family members say they prefer my gluten free option to the traditional dressing. The original dressing with the pork (usually with nitrates) causes them to get headaches and my dressing doesn’t cause those headaches. It’s always good to see how different foods make us feel. 

We are taking the turkey to the grill this year and find out how on my Thanksgiving Menu Board! Of course I always buy an organic, antibiotic and hormone free turkey, using olive oil and tons of herbs to keep it flavorful and moist when cooking. 

Check out my Pinterest Thanksgiving Menu Board and be sure to follow Heather Hart Health Coaching Pinterest for many more recipes and inspirations for simple, balanced and mindful eating!  

If you need some more encouragement to eat healthy and find that balance during the holidays, check out my blog Who Needs “Hangry” Holidays…. Not You!

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