If you are someone who deals with chronic health problems on a daily basis, the holidays can be an especially troubling time. And so often our families scoff at the idea of a healthy Thanksgiving. Isn’t that when all the rules are supposed to go out the window?
And really, between the planning, shopping, cooking and hopefully some quality family time, who wants to bother with being bogged down by symptoms? One Thanksgiving, I was on a very strict doctor-prescribed diet (everything I was allowed to eat was written on a post-it!). So, all day long I only ate two things. But I ate them over and over again, so I still ended up feeling awful. What a disappointment. I had so much self-control and I still ended up sick!
Even if you don’t have chronic health issues, Thanksgiving can leave you feeling uncomfortably full or afraid to look at the scale the next day. So, in hopes of a happy, guilt-free, healthy Thanksgiving for you and your family I thought I would share some of my favorite holiday recipes I have collected over the years, as well as some tips. Enjoy!
Tips for a Healthy Thanksgiving
Fill your plate with veggies.
- Make a green salad with a light oil-based but flavorful dressing, adding your favorite toppings like sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts, apple, pear, avocado or feta cheese.
- Roast a big pan of your favorite veggies in some butter or coconut oil and sea salt. Make it colorful. For example, mix together broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, red cabbage, and some sweet onion.
Take your time.
- You may end up in front of a huge buffet of food, but you don’t have to put everything on your plate all at once. Start with your veggies and turkey, add a taste of one or two more things, give yourself some time to digest, then go back for a taste of that casserole you’re dying to try.
P.S. “Taste” does not mean plateful.
- If you are going to someone else’s house for the feast, bring some containers for leftovers. That way, you can take home anything you didn’t get around to trying and the host isn’t left with way too much food lying around the kitchen.
Give yourself permission to enjoy yourself.
- So maybe you had one more dessert than you really “should” have. Maybe you just couldn’t stop eating those garlic whipped mashed potatoes. Forgive yourself. It’s OK. Take some time to rest with a nice cup of ginger tea and eat lightly the next day, with lots of fresh veggies.
- As you saw from my personal example, being too strict can backfire. Just make sure you’re getting your veggies (did I mention that already?) and you’re getting plenty of diversity in what you eat, and enjoy yourself.
Tasty and Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes
Sides and Appetizers
Here’s what I do for the turkey: stuff the cavity with lemon, onion and a mix of fresh herbs, then put a bunch of herbed butter (made ahead of time) under the skin all over the turkey, season the outside, then bake. Alton Brown has a brilliant video for roasting the perfect turkey.
Desserts and Drinks
If that’s all not enough, Recipes to Nourish has 100 MORE gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes!