Let’s start with the bird. Buy the healthiest turkey you can comfortably afford. With local, pasture-raised being the healthiest and conventional (CAFO) being the least, with many options in between. To limit exposure to toxins if you go with conventional, don’t eat the fat or skin, which is where toxins are more concentrated. We like to roast ours, but there are many, many options; bacon-wrapped, fried, stuffed, braised, rubbed, smoked, just to name a few of the most popular.
Next up, dressing. I simply adapted my family’s recipe that has been around for generations and everyone loves it. I like it to have a bit of a crunchy top, so always do it on the side vs. a stuffing. There are many recipes on-line for healthier versions of dressing. Search for grain-free, paleo, or keto recipes. I have not played with many of these yet, so I can’t recommend a particular recipe.
Mashed potatoes aren’t the worst thing. I can take them or leave them, but my family insists that we have them. Eat them if you must, keeping in mind that they are high carb and will raise blood sugar. I’ll save that for my pies! Buy organic so you can eat the skin for more nutrients. Options are mashed cauliflower, rutabagas, parsnips, or turnips, not potatoes but quite good.
You must have gravy! At least I must. Choose healthy fat such as tallow, lard, duck fat, grass-fed butter or ghee, a grain-free or arrowroot flour, and some bone broth. I always throw in the giblets too. Best gravy ever. Don’t just save this for Thanksgiving!
Green bean casserole is a favorite holiday side dish. Many mushroom soups have questionable ingredients, so make or choose a healthy version. I would also avoid the processed fried onions in a can. Make your own or add crunched up pork rinds to the top after taking it out of the oven. It will taste so much better anyway! Your family surely has other side dish traditions you love to make. Simply search for healthy trades so you can enjoy them without going too far off the rails.
Fermented cranberry sauce is my favorite cranberry dish. So good and so good for you. I make lots so I can enjoy it well after the holidays. The fermentation process provides beneficial probiotics. Nobody will ever even know they're fermented. Yes, that good!
Yes, you gotta have pies. At least I do. It’s one of the few times of year I eat pie. Again, search grain-free, paleo, or keto Thanksgiving pies and you’ll find many delicious options. I typically make pecan and pumpkin. You know, tradition.
What if you’re going to someone’s house, or even out to eat? The good news is that this holiday has many healthy options already built-in. Turkey, roasted vegetables, salads, and charcuterie boards are all great choices. Take something that aligns with your lifestyle choices to contribute.
Put your plan together now. Purchase your healthy ingredients. Do your prep, chopping, and pies the day before. Listen to your body and stop when you’ve had enough. Make sure to schedule some movement such as walking, dancing, or whatever you will commit to doing, and that makes you happy. Count your blessings. Love your family and friends. You’ll feel great and have no regrets when the holidays are over.
Questions, comments, and shares are welcomed.