Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives

Keeping with the theme of healthy holidays, today I’d like to focus on Thanksgiving. I am sharing some delicious recipes to include with your Thanksgiving feast next week that are sure to keep your hormones happy and your weight on track. These sides are the perfect complement to your turkey.

Roasting is a very healthy and delicious way to cook vegetables. It enhances the flavors of the vegetables without losing any of the nutrients. Drizzle the vegetables with heart-healthy olive oil, season with a little Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. You could also use some fresh or dried herbs, a squeeze of lemon, etc. 400 degrees is the optimal roasting temperature for vegetables – cooking time depends on the vegetable and how it is cut, but plan to turn once midway. Good choices for this cooking method include asparagus, carrots, brussel sprouts, parsnips and squash.

Many people may think it isn’t Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes, but a creamy cauliflower puree may be a better option for you. Make this in addition to mashed potatoes, but leave the potatoes for your kids and you opt for this alternative instead. Sweet potatoes are also a Thanksgiving staple and on their own sweet potatoes are very healthy with a low GI, but when loaded with brown sugar, tons of butter and little marshmallows, they’re not so healthy anymore. Instead use skim milk, a little unsalted butter and cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, so it is a better choice than brown sugar. Looking for a green bean alternative to the traditional casserole? Try sautéing green beans with caramelized onions, garlic and sliced almonds. For the complete recipes and directions for these healthy side dish alternatives, click here.

When you’re sitting down for Thanksgiving dinner next week, a good rule of thumb is to fill your plate with mostly veggies and some turkey. Pass on the starchy casseroles and avoid going back for seconds. And gather everyone for a post-dinner walk around the neighborhood or friendly game of touch football instead of sinking into the couch in a food coma.