Thanksgiving is one week away! We’re looking forward to gathering around the table with our loved ones for the feast of the year! Sometimes, especially around the holidays, our bodies (and souls, let’s be honest) crave an unspeakable amount of sinfully delicious dishes. While it’s okay to enjoy some of these things in moderation, it’s good to have a game plan for the precautionary swaps that allow us to enjoy the flavors of the season without interfering with our health goals.
Earlier this month we shared our Fall Roasting Guide. Have you seen it? It’s filled with easy and delicious recipes for roasted vegetables, all of which would make delicious side dishes to any festive feast. However, if you’re looking for a more in-depth swap guide, we’ll tackle that here.
This time, we’ve focused on making the swaps that won’t take away from the holiday flavors and will still satisfy you and your guests. Check out a few of our easy and healthy Thanksgiving swap suggestions:
01 Swap chips and dip for raw vegetables and Greek yogurt dip.
Start with those Thanksgiving appetizers. With so much of the meal left to come, why waste your calories on dips made with full-fat sour cream? Substituting low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt or nonfat sour cream with regular sour cream you can minimize some of those extra calories.
02 Skip the store-bought stuffing and make your own.
What would the holidays be without stuffing? But it doesn’t have to be the kind you buy from the grocery store that’s prepared with butter and white bread. For a healthy holiday, make your own stuffing. Simply sautee celery and onions and other vegetables in some olive oil. Combine with whole-grain bread and low-sodium broth then add your favorite herbs for baking. This healthier version has less fat, more fiber, and delicious flavor!
03 Replace canned cranberry sauce with fresh cranberry relish.
The can you open up on Thanksgiving day is full of sugar, corn syrup, and other added sweeteners. Making your own cranberry relish can help cut out some of that sugar for a healthier holiday side dish. While most recipes call for more sugar than needed, consider scaling back on the sugar, or using sugar substitutes, such as Stevia.
04 Trade a piece of pumpkin pie for a cup of pumpkin yogurt parfait.
It’s hard to resist holiday desserts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. However, swapping one small piece of pumpkin pie for pumpkin-flavored yogurt will make you feel a bit better (and maybe even your pants fit a little looser). For extra texture and flavor, we recommend adding toasted nuts and a pinch of cinnamon on top! If you decide you can’t resist the pie, skip on eating the crust–that’s where most of the fat lurks.
05 Fill your plate with more white meat than dark.
While both cuts of meat are a great source of lean protein and rich in various vitamins and minerals, choosing white meat may be more beneficial to your overall health. White meat provides more protein, less fat, and calories, and is the better source of B vitamins, magnesium and niacin compared to the darker counterpart. If you prefer the taste of dark meat, try chopping both cuts of meat to minimize some of those extra calories from fat.
Planning a menu ahead with the right Thanksgiving ingredients can make all of the difference. The trick is to cut down on calories, sugar, fat, and preservatives without compromising flavor, so you end up with healthy food you enjoy!