9 Tips to Make Thanksgiving Dinner a Little Bit Healthier
Let's start this article by saying that you should pick your battles. Thanksgiving is only one meal— not including leftovers. It's OKAY if some holiday staples remain the same. But…if the classics can taste as good or, dare we say it, better, why not mess around and find out?
We're talking healthy substitutions here, folks.
- The mashed potato is out, and the mashed cauliflower is in. The reason: A cup of homemade mashed potatoes contains 237 calories without butter. Still not sure? Try a taste test.
- Skip added sugar in your pies and desserts go with maple syrup or honey. But if you go with maple syrup make sure it's the read stuff or it defeats the point of substituting it for sugar in the first place.
- Is the idea of cauliflower mashed potatoes still off-putting to you? So how about skipping the milk and cream? You can replace heavy cream with coconut milk. What makes it work? The fat content of heavy cream is 36 percent, the fat content of coconut milk is 24 percent, which means your mashed potatoes will be just as creamy, we swear. It is also worth mentioning that coconut milk is so much more nutritious than dairy milk. There is a lot of health benefits associated with coconut milk, including the fact that it is lactose-free and easy to digest. Besides that, it’s a powerful anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-fungal ingredient as well. The fact that it's heart-healthy is a bonus.
- We love 7-way salad, it's delicious. The mayo on every layer, though? Even we can admit that's a bit much. Why not replace a 7-way with something even more festive like an apple salad with figs and almonds? Or sweet potatoes and arugula with a homemade fuji apple dressing? When you replace mayo with something truly succulent, dressing a holiday salad without mayo isn't that painful.
- Changing some things is a good idea, and this is a great example. You don't need to use flour to thicken the gravy. It's just more carbohydrates on the Thanksgiving table that have little nutritional value. Despite being trickier to work with (we have an easy tip below), arrowroot powder comes with plenty of nutrition: Potassium, iron, B vitamins, high amounts of dietary fiber, and more calcium content than cornstarch. For bonus points, arrowroot is also great for diabetics because of the low glycemic index. Tip Time: to allow the gravy and arrowroot powder to blend more cohesively make a slurry. Adding the water to the powder before adding it to the gravy.
- Alright, so after some consideration, we had to revisit the 7-layer salad fiasco. Try a vegan mayo substitute if it's a must. Veggieaise (non-dairy mayo) isn't a whole lot better than regular mayo, but it has some pretty nifty selling points; including being low in cholesterol and saturated fat. You're going to be eating at least a dozen deviled eggs at your holiday dinner, so why not cut down on the cholesterol?
- If you're trying to cut the cholesterol, why not use vegenaise (nondairy mayo) in your deviled eggs? Why not make those cherished deviled eggs a little easier on your elderly, more food-sensitive family members?
- Don't cook the ham. Read this one carefully. While it may sound extreme, what we propose replacing it with sounds like foodie heaven. In place of the pineapple glazed ham go with maple-baked salmon, and add candied pecans to complete the dish. Unfortunately, we don't have a recipe for you, but Google does.
- This next healthy substitution tip is for you if your family makes lasagna for Thanksgiving. It's also the simplest. Consider using plant-based lasagna noodles. This is just another way to add national value this Thanksgiving, and it's simple, no one will notice.
You might think there's no way I can get my family not to notice all these plant-based recommendations, but we hope this inspired you to at least try . Our mission is to help you live a healthier and longer life by offering plant-based protein and supplements.
These protein shake and smoothie bowl recipes will get you in the holiday spirit:
(They might even power you through a day of cooking.)