Thanksgiving – truthfully I feel like it kind of snuck up on me. Can you smell the turkey yet at your house? lol. A super fun time of year spent with family, friends, and loved ones you haven’t seen in what feels like ages. Annnnd of course, amidst all the fun and good times can be some extra stress trying to get everything planned.
You know I don’t find any issue with calories and good food to begin with. That said, I do like to play around with lighter options so that I can mix and match my plate and not feel like a brick is in my stomach after!
Here are some of my favorite food swaps and options to add some variety to the table! If nothing else, maybe just use some of these to see if your family notices a difference?
This can really be as simple as steaming cauliflower and blending it with butter or butter substitutes and a lot of herbs. But I like to make my mashed cauliflower garlicky, so I will add 1-2 cloves of garlic, salt, and herbs. I have also made them where I add ½ cup of cashew cream to make them even creamier.
Fried turkey is amazing – don’t get me wrong – but choosing to bake or grill the turkey is the overall better health choice if you’re not adding in all that extra oil.
This is an everyday swap that I use, but it’s great to remember during the holidays when things tend to be extra salty. (Food, not people. lol) Choose fresh herbs and spices, rather than the salt-based blends we typically find at the store. Your unswollen fingers will thank you.
Homemade will always be better than anything else! Making cranberry sauce at home is super simple. All you need is some fresh cranberries and your desired amount of sugar or coconut sugar. While obviously adding sugar isn’t the healthiest option, it’s better to be able to control how much goes into the food you’re eating rather than eating it blindly!
Again, this is just another way to control your ingredients and know what is in what you are eating! I don’t care if you add a stick of butter – the point is that you know what is in it!
Sweet potato casserole = marshmallows and extra sugar. 🙂 Choose baked sweet potatoes with warming spices like cinnamon and a little coconut sugar on top – and instead and save room for pumpkin pie.
Fruit is naturally sweet, so adding a bit of maple syrup, oats, and spices can bring an entire dessert together. Skip the apple pie a la mode and bring a healthier option to the table.
Making your meal with less oil and more whole foods can make a huge difference in the overall table, without changing how the food tastes! Try this swap in your desserts this year by using half of the oil required and substituting the other half with unsweetened applesauce.
Pumpkin pie will always and forever steal the show, but a great alternative would be a batch of pumpkin chocolate fudge! Add ½ cup coconut butter (not oil!!) melted, 2/3 cup pumpkin puree, ¼ cup cocoa powder, ¼ cup maple syrup, ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, a dash of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice, and a dash of salt to a food processor or high-speed blender. Blend until smooth. Taste for sweetness and add more maple syrup if necessary. Pour your mixture into a parchment paper-lined pan or a small casserole dish. Cover and freeze for at least 1 hour. Eat it straight from the freezer or store it in the fridge for a softer texture.
All day long.
Don’t “save up” your hunger on Thanksgiving so you can eat more during the actual meal. Skipping breakfast can lead to overeating later in the day and some hangry feelings. The best thing to have, I think, is a super green smoothie.
Chewing slowly and taking your time while you’re eating will help your body be able to better recognize when it’s full. Plus, you can enjoy your company and spend more time in conversation with loved ones. AND the more you chew, the better your digestion will be because you are adding in more beneficial digestive enzymes and braking down the food so your other half has less work to do. Yolo.
Get in some movement during the day 🙂 Once the tryptophan in that turkey hits, there will be no moving from the couch for me.
An extra helping of greens or vegetables over another side is always a smart move. Get that plate full of color!
Will you be swapping out any foods this Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear all about your menu down below in the comments!