One of the biggest mistakes people make on Thanksgiving Day is trying to, “save up their calories.” The idea of not eating breakfast or lunch to assure you have plenty of calories for your big Thanksgiving meal is also simply...not ok. Just like I have told you in the past about how skipping meals leads to breakdowns and larger than average caloric intakes later on in the day…ding ding ding, same goes here, but it may even be worse since there may be more temptations during this day than many others. So what do we do to make sure we can enjoy one of the best days of the year but don’t end it with a big ol’ stomach ache?
Start with breakfast. Eat a regular breakfast and then get a great work out in! Take advantage of one of the “Turkey Burner” type challenges going on in your area and burn some calories! Then, make smarter choices when you get to your feasts. This meal may have more temptations, but try to apply your same food smarts. Half of your plates should still be three or more colors, those grains should still be whole grains and the protein should still be lean and skinless.
To guarantee you have something extra healthy and delicious at your meal maybe you can offer to bring something! Your host will love it and you can impress everyone with your cooking skills!
Need some ideas? Good thing you read my blog…time for some #HappySlimHealthy Thanksgiving meal and recipe makeovers!
Let’s start with a few substitutions you can make to any of your traditional recipes:
- When cooking with flours, replace your white flour with whole wheat flour to save not only calories but also prevent an insulin spike.
- Any recipe that calls for milk, use skim. I promise your potatoes will be just as creamy and I bet no one even notices the difference. If they do, blame it on me.
- Swap egg whites or even skim milk in any recipe that calls for eggs.
- Any mayo in your recipes? You already know what I am going to say here…Greek Yogurt you smarty pants! Greek Yogurt can also be used to replace sour cream, cream cheese and buttermilk in any of your Turkey Day recipes.
- When baking try subbing “Light Sugars” for sugar in the recipe.
Now for a few of my favorite seasonal recipes:
Mashed Butternut Squash
One of my favorite boot camp class buddies and Head To Toe followers gave me an amazing idea for a twist on creamy sweet potatoes. Instead of mashing sweet potatoes with butter try mashing butternut squash! For every one (to one and a half) cup(s) of butternut squash chunks you mash, mix in a, “Laughing Cow,” cream cheese. Now my friend Dana suggested using the Cinnamon “Laughing Cow” wedge; however I cannot seem to find them anywhere! So instead I have been using the plain cream cheese wedge and mixing in my own cinnamon. Using the, “Laughing Cow” wedges helps save calories and helps us with portion control. The finished product is a delicious, creamy treat! Thanks Dana!!
Roasted Brussels, Butternut Squash and Broccoli with Honey
For a sweeter twist on roasted veggies, mix all your veggies in a bowl and top with olive oil, garlic and finish with a drizzle of honey or agave nectar. Then roast on about 400 for roughly 25-30 minutes so they brown up very nicely. You can then top the veggies with a little balsamic vinegar or leave as is. These are my favorite, delicious tastes of the season!
Raw Brussel Sprout Salad
1 Container Brussel Sprouts
½ Cup Balsamic Vinegar or White balsamic
2 tbsp Honey or Agave Nectar
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 red pepper, 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1/2 cup Raw sliced almonds or peanuts
¼ cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds
¼ cup Crasins
1/2 cup onion
1. Cut off bottoms of Brussel Sprouts and put into food processor. Pulse until sprouts are “shredded.”
2. Saute onions in EVOO or non fat cooking spray and garlic.
3. Mix together and whisk – balsamic vinegar, oil, lemon and honey.
4. Toast nuts and seeds.
5. Mix all veggies, nuts and crasins together. Top with dressing mixture
This is my new go-to salad this fall. Its different, and yummy and packed with goodness!
Non Bread Based Wild Rice and Bulgur Stuffing:
(recipe courtesy of EatingWell.com)
1 1/2 teaspoons canola oil
3 stalks celery, chopped
2 onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup wild rice
3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup bulgur
2 cups water
1/2 cup pecans
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1. Heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add celery, onions and garlic; sauté for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Stir in wild rice. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed.
2. Meanwhile, place bulgur and water in a bowl. Let soak for 30 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 10 minutes, or until fragrant. Let cool and chop coarsely.
4. Place raisins in a small saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
5. Stir the soaked bulgur, pecans, raisins and parsley into the cooked wild rice. Season with salt and pepper. Let cool completely before stuffing.
Wherever you go and whoever you are with this year for Thanksgiving, remember to enjoy every minute of it. Be grateful for all you have and indulge a little….but as you already know, there is a difference between indulging and over-indulging. Keep it at indulgence J
Share your #HappySlimHealthy Thanksgiving recipes and fall meals on InstaGram using our Happy Slim Healthy hashtag!
-Jenna A. Stock, RD