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  • Writer's pictureLindsay Nelson, RD, LD

Makeover Thanksgiving Recipes

Updated: Nov 19, 2018

If you’re like me and have multiple Thanksgiving gatherings to attend, you might be looking for some lighter, fresh recipes that don’t leave you feeling bloated and tired as many of the traditional Thanksgiving recipes do. I like tradition, but also don’t want to sabotage my health or energy! I’ve been working on my Thanksgiving menu and wanted to share some of the recipes I found that don’t sacrifice tradition OR flavor! No more needing a nap after Thanksgiving dinner; with these recipes you’ll have the energy to take on the Turkey Trot 5K (or maybe just a quick stroll around the block).

Green Bean Casserole: This is my husband’s favorite Thanksgiving recipe. But instead of making it with processed canned mushroom soup, canned green beans and packaged fried onions, I'm going to make it from scratch using real-food ingredients this year. I searched for a made-from-scratch version and this one looked the best (I'm a sucker for good food photos). This recipe uses FRESH green beans and you even make your own fried onions! My mouth is watering just looking at the photos.

Mashed Cauliflower: It’s not a holiday meal without some version of mashed potatoes! There’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned mashed potatoes; they are a real food, after all! However, if you’re trying to watch your carb intake and blood sugars, using cauliflower in place of potatoes will give you a similar product without all the carbs! Not quite sold on the idea? Try replacing half your potatoes with cauliflower and still get a lighter version! I like to add a smidgen of Parmesan cheese to this recipe.

Sweet Potato Casserole: This has always been my favorite Thanksgiving recipe so I normally volunteer to make it so that I can make it without all the added sugar. Now don’t get me wrong, the marshmallows and brown sugar are DELICIOUS but that amount of sugar plus Thanksgiving dessert will make your blood glucose skyrocket! Plus, it’s hard to taste and appreciate the natural sweetness already in the sweet potato when you add all those extras! Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A which is very important for your immune system this time of year. Check out this healthier version here from Fit Foodie Finds (one of my favorite recipe sites). I love the crunchy topping!

Cauliflower Rice Stuffing: Another use for cauliflower this Thanksgiving to amp up your veggie intake! Cauliflower is all the rage these days in the health-conscious-foodie world; and for good reason! Cauliflower is very versatile and can be used as a lower-carb option in place of potatoes (see above), rice, and pizza crust! Cauliflower is very low in calories (25 per cup), but high in many vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C), fiber, and antioxidants that prevent or slow cancer growth! Who knew you could get so many nutrients in a stuffing recipe? Check it out here from The Healthy Maven.

Need some more veggie sides? Check out these Balsamic Sea Salt Roasted Brussels Sprouts. Or, just roast any veggie you would like with a little olive oil, small amount of salt and pepper and your favorite herb!

Pumpkin Pie: Now it’s time for dessert! I love this pumpkin pie recipe because it uses simple, unrefined ingredients. A lot of gluten-free, paleo-type meals require a lot of ingredients, but this one doesn't. My family eats mostly gluten-free (I have a sensitivity) and use almond flour as our main go-to baking flour which is what this recipe uses for the crust.

That sums up the recipes I’m eyeing this Thanksgiving! I hope you get to spend this holiday surrounded by good people and good food and remembering all you have to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

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