7 Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods

Many people are preparing for the holidays — putting another notch in their belts, bringing their stretchy pants out of storage, and dieting like crazy until the big day. Is that what you usually do? Let’s make this year different. Not by depriving yourself, but by replacing your favorite Thanksgiving foods with healthier, yet still delicious, versions that will get people buzzing around your table.

7 Healthier Versions of Your Favorite Thanksgiving Foods

1. Healthier Bread Crumbs

Nothing is used more often throughout Thanksgiving meal preparations than bread crumbs, so you want make sure that this component is a healthy one. Usually, breadcrumbs are chock full of unhealthy starches, oils, and high-fructose corn syrup. Take a stand for health, and make this ingredient yourself in just a few easy steps, using almond and coconut flour. It’s so easy and delicious, you may never use store-bought bread crumbs again!

Recipe: Paleo Bread Crumbs

2. Stuffed Mushrooms That Won’t Stuff You

Stuffed mushrooms are a classic appetizer for your Thanksgiving meal. What do you do, though, when you realize that your stuffed mushrooms are full of unhealthy elements, like fattening cream cheese, oil, and bread crumbs? Instead of throwing away this scrumptious idea, let’s make it a healthier one. The recipe below adds healthy, flavorful, and satisfying elements, such as kale, quinoa, and cranberries, to create a new, healthier spin on a classic that will impress all your guests.

Recipe: Kale and Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms

3. Real Cranberry Sauce

Are you used to opening a can of cranberry sauce, plopping it on a plate, and calling it done? If so, you don’t know what you’re missing! Making your own cranberry sauce is delicious, and it’s also a lot healthier. Canned cranberry sauce contains high fructose corn syrup, plus more calories than the homemade version. In addition, homemade cranberry sauce contains double the fiber and way more vitamin C than its canned counterpart. While canned cranberry sauce may bring back nostalgic childhood memories, making the switch will bring back a little health to the Thanksgiving table.

Recipe: Homemade Cranberry Sauce

4. Better Than Boxed Stuffing

This Thanksgiving favorite is a staple among American homes — but the boxed version offers little nutritionally. By making your own stuffing, you can skip the sugar additives, white starches, and partially hydrogenated oils (aka trans fats) that are found in boxed stuffing and have a Thanksgiving favorite that won’t stretch out your pants or compromise your health. The recipe below contains a gluten-free flour and a myriad of fresh herbs and spices that will awaken your guests’ taste buds all evening.

Recipe: Grain-Free Homemade Stuffing

5. Pass The Dinner Rolls

This classic side dish, spread with some melted butter, warms the palate. Generic white dinner rolls, however, fall short when it comes to a healthy dish. The trouble is that most dinner rolls are made with refined grains, or grains that have been stripped of their fiber, vitamins,  and minerals. Generic rolls also tend to rate high on the glycemic index, which means that they will spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. Making your own whole-grain dinner rolls, however, will provide you with a delicious and nutritionally satisfying side dish that will give you energy for the post-meal activities.

Recipe: Whole Grain Bread Rolls

6. Dance To The Beet

While candied yams or sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite among many, we propose a change. Here’s why: by the time you’ve added all that butter and sugar to your yams, you may as well forget that you’re even eating yams — your body won’t even recognize them. Instead of eating that calorie-laden dish that you’re going to regret, why not try this healthy alternative? Beets are high in fiber and pack a powerful punch of nutrients, including folate, manganese, and potassium. Plus, paired with a no-fat, low-sugar glaze, it won’t leave you in a sugar coma after the meal.

Recipe: Roasted Beets with Balsamic Glaze

7. A Sweet and Healthy Happy Ending

While apple crisp is a happy ending to a beautiful Thanksgiving meal, it can also be an overly sweet one. Many recipes call for added sugar and an unhealthy heap of butter to create a dessert that goes straight to your hips. Make your apple crisp different with this alternative recipe, which uses all natural honey and coconut oil to add a healthier spin to this fall classic.

Recipe: Paleo Apple Crisp

Eat all of your favorite Thanksgiving foods, without the bothersome side-effects of some of the unhealthiest ingredients. By making one or all of these alternate dishes, you can make Thanksgiving healthier for all of your family and friends!

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