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Healthy Substitutions for your Holiday Meals

It's that Time of Year Again

The Holidays are a time for family, gratitude, and of course, feasting! While it's easy to indulge in traditional, calorie-laden dishes, there are plenty of ways to enjoy a healthier Thanksgiving meal without sacrificing flavor.

By prioritizing nutritious options during holiday meals, you can strike a balance between enjoying the festivities and maintaining your health, ensuring a more joyful and energized holiday season.

Try these Smart Thanksgiving SWAPS & TIPS

With the help of some expert nutritionists, we've gathered some tips for making mindful food choices this holiday season.

  • Turkey: Choose leaner cuts and roast or grill it for a lower-fat option. Remove the skin to further reduce saturated fat.

  • Potatoes: Swap out some or all of the potatoes with cauliflower or sweet potatoes for added fiber and nutrients.

  • Gravy: Make a lighter gravy using low-sodium broth and skim milk instead of heavy cream.

  • Stuffing: Use whole-grain bread or a mix of whole grains for added fiber. Include plenty of veggies like celery, carrots, and onions for flavor and nutrients.

  • Moderate Portions of Calorie-Dense Dishes: Take smaller portions of calorie-dense items like stuffing or casseroles.

  • Balanced Plate: Balance your meal by combining nutritious items with indulgent choices. Fill at least 1/2 of the plate with Veggies. Doing so will aide in promoting a nutrient-rich and balanced approach to meals.

Just Remember the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule tells you to focus on nutritious, whole foods 80% of the time and allow for indulgences or less healthy choices 20% of the time to promote a balanced and sustainable approach to a healthy diet.

Keeping this rule in mind, let's look at some healthier veggie side-options.

Healthy Holiday Side-Options

  1. Herbed Roasted Carrots: Roast carrots with fresh herbs for a flavorful, low-calorie side.

  2. Quinoa and Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash: A nutrient-rich stuffing for acorn squash that's both delicious and filling.

  3. Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad: A hearty salad with kale and shaved Brussels sprouts, topped with a light vinaigrette.

  4. Roasted Beet Salad: Roasted beets paired with fresh greens, feta cheese, and balsamic dressing.

  5. Wild Rice Pilaf: A nutritious alternative to traditional stuffing, made with wild rice, vegetables, and herbs.

  6. Grilled Asparagus: Lightly grilled asparagus spears with a drizzle of lemon juice.

  7. Mashed Cauliflower: A lower-carb alternative to mashed potatoes, with roasted garlic and chives.

  8. Lemon Herb Roasted Potatoes: Roasted baby potatoes seasoned with fresh lemon and herbs.

  9. Sautéed Spinach with Garlic: A quick, healthy, and delicious sautéed spinach side dish.

  10. Whole-Grain Stuffing: Use whole-grain bread, quinoa, and plenty of vegetables for a nutrient-packed stuffing.

  11. Broccoli and Cauliflower Bake: A creamy casserole made with lightened-up cheese sauce and roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

  12. Roasted Butternut Squash with Cinnamon: A simple yet delightful side dish with a touch of sweetness and spice.

  13. Cucumber and Tomato Salad: A refreshing and crunchy salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion.

  14. Herb-Seasoned Green Beans: Green beans sautéed with fresh herbs for a flavorful and healthy side.

  15. Grilled Portobello Mushrooms: Grilled portobello mushrooms with balsamic glaze.

  16. Zucchini Noodles (Zoodles): Replace traditional pasta with zucchini noodles for a low-carb option.

  17. Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic: Creamy cauliflower mash with the rich flavor of roasted garlic.

  18. Spiced Roasted Sweet Potatoes: Sweet potatoes roasted with a blend of spices for a flavorful twist.

  19. Harvest Quinoa Salad: Quinoa salad with cranberries, apples, and nuts, dressed in a light vinaigrette.

  20. Orange-Glazed Carrots: Carrots glazed with orange juice and a touch of honey for a sweet and tangy side.

Healthier Dessert Choices:

Nourishing dessert options can include fruit salads, yogurt parfaits with granola and berries, and dark chocolate-covered fruit, providing a satisfying yet health-conscious sweet treat.

You can also try these:

  • Miniature Desserts: Create mini versions of your favorite Thanksgiving desserts for built-in portion control.

  • Fruit-Centered Desserts: Offer dessert options that feature fruit, such as fruit salad or poached pears.

  • Nutrition-Conscious Desserts: Prepare healthier dessert alternatives like baked apples with cinnamon and walnuts.

Healthy Holidays to All!

This Thanksgiving & Holiday Season, let's be thankful for the opportunity to celebrate with loved ones and make healthier choices for a joyful, nourishing feast!

By making simple substitutions and healthier choices, you can still enjoy a delicious Thanksgiving meal while being mindful of your health! Remember, it's not about depriving yourself AT ALL - but making informed choices that will allow you to savor the holiday while taking care of your body at the same time.

Wishing you and your family a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving!

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