As a foodie, Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays! When I tell friends, coworkers and clients this, most of the time, I get puzzling and inquisitive faces as a response. A lot of people assume Thanksgiving is an "unhealthy" holiday, but it doesn't have to be! There are ways to incorporate clean eating and still have delicious dishes to share. This year, I'm most excited for my organic and pasture raised turkey, as well as my splurge on pasture-raised butter (as dairy is not normally in my diet). The documented health benefits of pasture-raised foods is one of my favorite things to share with clients. I always call for organic vegetables, fruits, and spices in all of my recipes. Organic foods and pasture-raised animal products are usually considerably more expensive, spoil faster, and are often harder to find. However, they are healthier, satisfying and revitalizing (I'll explain the health benefits in a later post).
One complaint I hear most from clients around this time of the year is, "It's so hard to stick with what I know is good for me when there is so much tasty-looking food around!" My response generally starts out with, "Nothing tastes as good as feeling healthy feels and looks!" Then I'll follow up with a few great tricks to help that individual stay on his or her unique lifestyle-plan. One trick for holiday parties is to always bring your own dish. As a person with food allergies, I know how great it feels to do this and give myself a safe-option in a holiday party land mine. Be that as it may, this is generally followed by a client complaint about time. Being healthy definitely requires showing yourself a little self-love and carving out time for yourself in the kitchen, but it doesn't have to be time consuming. Below are some recipes to help you forget the marshmallows and spread holiday cheer while cutting back on the fat and calories found in traditional casseroles.
Quinoa and Pomegranate Salad with Asparagus and Walnuts
This salad is a cancer-prevention powerhouse. Quinoa is gluten-free and higher in protein than most grains. It also tends to absorb the flavors of ingredients around it, making it a great base for this dish. Pomegranate seeds add bright color and crunch while providing vitamin C, health-promoting polyphenols and flavanoids, and antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Research shows that substances, called urolithins, that our body produces from pomegranates' compounds can decrease prostate cancer cell growth and ability to spread.
Cook quinoa according to package directions. Drain and cool.
Steam whole asparagus for 3 minutes or until bright green. Remove from pan immediately, drain, and let rest on plate with ice cubes. Slice diagonally into 1/4-inch pieces.
In large bowl, combine quinoa, asparagus, carrots, parsley, mint, dill, walnuts, and cilantro and scallions if using.
In a separate bowl mix olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Toss with quinoa mixture and then add 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds.
Serve as is for buffet or plate each serving over 1 cup baby lettuces. Garnish with remaining pomegranate seeds.
Makes 8 servings.
Per serving: 145 calories, 7 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 20 g carbohydrate, 4 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 165 mg sodium
Brussels Sprouts with Pecans and Dried Cranberries
Tender baby Brussels sprouts are easier to enjoy than their tougher big brothers--and you can find bags of them in the freezer case. They are a member of the cruciferous family of vegetables, which also includes broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.
Makes 4 servings.
Per serving: 102 calories, 6 g total fat
Whipped Sweet Potatoes with Apples
Sweet potatoes are full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting phytochemicals. Steaming them keeps in moisture, so you don't have to use butter or cream. It's also faster than baking them. Placing apples on top instead of marshmallows gives a sweet, healthy, finishing touch--the perfect accompaniment to fall gatherings.
Add 1 Tbsp. avocado oil and maple syrup to the hot sweet potatoes and mash with a fork or a masher until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with avocado oil. Spread the sweet potatoes into the prepared dish, making an even layer.
Peel, halve and core the apple. Place each half, cut-side down, on a cutting board and cut it crosswise into thin slices. Arrange the slices in overlapping rows to cover the sweet potatoes. Brush the apples lightly with the 2 tsp. avocado oil.
Bake uncovered at 400 degrees until the sweet potatoes are heated through and the apple slices have softened, about 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with nutmeg sprinkled on top.
Makes 12 servings, 1/2 cup per serving.
Per serving: 110 calories, 2 g total fat
E-RYT & Master Nutrition Therapist specializing in Food Allergies, Adjunctive Autoimmune Care, and Digestive Disorders.
No information, ingredient or product mentioned on this site is meant to diagnose, treat or replace professional medical advice. Do not use this site to diagnose yourself. The information here is meant to give guidance in diet and lifestyle practices including balanced diet planning, instruction in the development of eating habits, physical exercises, and stress management in order to assist in general well-being.