Thanksgiving is fast approaching! The day we give thanks for family and friends, health and FOOD! Many Americans will tack on an additional 2,500 calories on this holiday based on food alone. That doesn’t even include a glass of wine! And we’re all familiar with the post-Thanksgiving meal nap… However, contrary to popular belief, scientists say turkey has no more tryptophan than any other poultry; the truth is that when you combine tryptophan with foods high in carbohydrates (hello, stuffing and potatoes!), serotonin levels will spike leaving you feeling sleepy. Plus, we’re simply eating too much! I love Thanksgiving food and there is nothing better than a delicious meal with the ones you love, but there are a few things you can do to make sure you don’t feel like a stuffed turkey after the last piece of pie has been served. I’ve collected some delicious recipes that swap out fat for flavor and no, these aren’t diet foods or fat-free dishes, just lighter more nutritious versions of your favorites! Cheers from my family to yours. I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving with these delicious recipes surrounded by those you love!
1) Swap Fried Turkey for Grilled Turkey
Tender delicious turkey with no clean up? Yes – I’m in! I always grill my turkey on our gas grill. This turkey will turn out fork tender and amazingly juicy and moist. No need for messy, greasy pans, and the best part is you have your oven space for the other side dishes!
Prepare the turkey (I buy organic free range) by dethawing and removing any additional parts such as neck and giblets. Wash well and pat dry. Place in a disposable giant oval aluminum roaster, breast side up. Rub 1 tbsp. olive oil into skin then sprinkle with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you’d like. Pour in a can of lemon-lime soda…there is something about the bubbly that keeps it moist. I was told that years ago and always do it. Preheat grill to high – around 500-550 degrees. Grill your bird uncovered for approx. 11 minutes per pound. (Cover with tin foil if it starts to get too brown.) Using a meat thermometer place in the thickest part of turkey until the white meat it is 165 degrees and dark meat is 175 degrees. I never stuff my turkey, but if you do stuff it, the stuffing should also reach 165 degrees. Let rest at least 10 minutes before carving. I can honestly say I’ve never put a bird in the oven in my 25 years of cooking a turkey!
2) Swap Mashed Potatoes for Mashed Cauliflower
What really makes mashed potatoes tasty is the butter and cream that you whip them with! This mashed cauliflower recipe is light, creamy, and delicious without adding all the extra calories. A fresh gourmet low-carb approach that will surprise even your biggest skeptic.
3) Swap Stuffing for Portion-Controlled Stuffins
Let’s face it, some people make very traditional recipes while others add some interesting ingredients like giblets and stale bread. Bottom line, it can be a mystery as to what you are eating as well as we often tend to eat too much of it. This little babies are made with a yummy traditional stuffing recipe but in adorable portion sized rolls.
4) Marshmallow Sweet Potatoes for Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Goat Cheese or Roasted Sweet Potatoes
The typical sweet potato casserole with marshmallow topping that gets passed around every year is usually made with canned sweet potatoes in a heavy syrup, filled with additives and tons of tasteless calories. Both our mashed sweet potato recipe with goat cheese and chives and our roasted sweet potato recipes will blow your socks off and are actually good for you. Sweet potatoes are naturally scrumptious, rich in beta-carotene, and loaded with vitamins! So try something new and see those faces light up when they taste this dish.
5) Swap Green Bean Casserole for Brussels Sprouts
I know we all ate a similar green bean casserole recipe as kids that our moms found on the back of a soup can, but those mushy beans covered in creamed soup aren’t that appetizing and they’re filled with tons of salt, MSG, and topped with deep fried onions. This healthy swap for Brussels Sprouts is a fresh dairy-free option that everyone at the Thanksgiving Day table can enjoy. These roasted Brussels sprouts are light, clean, and have a nice nutty flavor.
6) Tin can molded Cranberry Jelly for REAL Cranberry Sauce
Who knew making real cranberry sauce was such a snap. My son loves molded cranberry jelly, so I wasn’t sure how well he would take to me making a fresh sauce. He went crazy over it! This recipe uses less sugar and the touch of nutmeg makes a huge difference! Cranberries are packed full of antioxidants, so it’s great choice to go with any holiday meal.
7) Pecan Pie for Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin pie is my all-time favorite dessert! I LOVE pumpkin, and this recipe is rich and creamy with a hint of spice. A classic that never lasts long at my house. By swapping out pecan pie for pumpkin you will save over 300 calories and 18 grams of fat! So you can have your pie and eat it, too!