Do you want to enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner without having to worry about how fattening all the food is? Check out all of these ideas how to make your Thanksgiving healthier!
You don’t have to dread eating Thanksgiving dinner anymore! Since we have to follow a heart healthy diet, I learned how to adapt our recipes to make them healthier. It’s awesome to still be able to eat our traditional Thanksgiving meal, and know it’s healthier! So, if we can do it, you can too!
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How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Turkey
A great way how to make your Thanksgiving healthier is by small changes to your meal.
My parents come over for Thanksgiving dinner, and my dad always likes to bring the turkey. In order to make it healthier, instead of bringing a whole turkey, he brings roasted turkey breasts. He usually buys a couple so that we have plenty for dinner and enough to freeze for another meal or two. He looks for fresh frozen turkey breasts to go on sale, starting in October. As it gets closer to Thanksgiving, the prices go up!
My dad says there’s lots of choices when you buy the turkey breasts. He prefers the fresh frozen boneless turkey breasts without any added basting sauce. He keeps them frozen until it’s time to defrost them for the big meal.
The turkey breasts can be cooked in an electric roaster or in the oven in a roasting pan. My dad likes to season the turkey with a little bit of salt and pepper before cooking. He doesn’t baste the turkey. Instead, he keeps an eye on it while it’s cooking. When the top starts to get brown, he covers it with a piece of loose aluminum foil. This keeps the turkey moist. He cooks it until it reaches the recommended temperature.
You’ll be amazed at how moist and delicious the turkey breasts turn out! We don’t miss having a whole turkey at all!
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Mashed Potatoes
I am famous for my mashed potatoes! My whole family loves them, but my uncle and my daughter can’t get enough of them! My uncle’s church had a potluck, and he wanted to bring mashed potatoes. So, he called me to find out how I make mine. His whole church loved them too! So see, healthy food can be delicious and enjoyed by lots of people!
Anyway, so how do I make my famous mashed potatoes? Well, I follow a recipe for almost everything, except these!
I peel the potatoes – we use the whole 10 pound bag of potatoes and sometimes even more. Luckily, the potatoes usually go on sale for about $1.98 for a 10 pound bag. I usually fill my huge 8 quart stock pot a little more than halfway full of potatoes. Then, I cover them with water. Once the water boils, I boil the potatoes for 25 minutes, or until tender when poked with a fork. By the way, I boil them with the lid tipped slightly, so it doesn’t boil over.
When they’re done, I drain them and then add them to my Kitchen Aid Mixer. Usually all of the potatoes don’t fit at once, so I mix them in 2 batches. I just use the regular mixing paddle that it comes with. I also have a pouring shield that I put on the mixing bowl. That keeps the potatoes from spilling out. While mixing, I add a little bit of nonfat milk and light margarine. After awhile, I take a little taste sample. When it seems like the right flavor and texture, they’re done!
The potatoes turn out delicious and creamy, and healthy!
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Stuffing
Stuffing is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving! Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make, and even some of the ones that come in a box are healthy.
I use the Mrs. Cubbison’s Herb Seasoned Cube Stuffing. It only has 1g of fat and 320mg of sodium! That all qualifies for a heart healthy diet! I usually prepare 2 boxes of stuffing so we have plenty for a couple of nights, for my parents and us.
I cook it according to the “oven casserole directions” on the back of the box, and just alter it a bit. First, I do spray my dish with non-stick spray, but I make sure to use canola oil cooking spray. Then, I saute the celery (we can’t use onions because my mom is allergic to them) in light margarine. I use reduced sodium chicken broth for the moisture.
By the way, some of the ingredients on the box have a * next to them. Under the ingredients, it shows the * with directions on how to make the stuffing for a “Light Recipe.” You can follow those directions to make your stuffing healthier.
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Sweet Potatoes
In case you think sweet potatoes only come in a can, here is what they really look like. You’re going to use these to make your traditional glazed sweet potatoes.
The biggest difference in making your sweet potatoes healthier is using real sweet potatoes, instead of the ones from a can. They’re not hard to use. It’s very similar to making mashed potatoes. You just peel the potatoes and dice them. Boil them in water for about 25 minutes, or until tender.
The recipe I use calls for 6 cups mashed sweet potatoes. When I looked up how many sweet potatoes it takes to equal 1 cup mashed, it said about 2 sweet potatoes. However, I’m sure it also depends on the size of the sweet potato.
After the potatoes are cooked, put them in the mixer. Add 1 cup nonfat milk, 6 tbsp. light margarine, 1/2 cup packed brown sugar, 1 egg white, 1 -1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon and vanilla extract, 3/4 tsp. ground allspice, 1/4 tsp. salt and ground nutmeg. After mixing, put in a baking dish.
Bake, uncovered, at 325 degrees for 40 – 45 minutes. You can top with marshmallows and bake for another 5 – 10 minutes.
I have to admit, I do bake with the marshmallows, but then only eat a little bit of the marshmallow with my sweet potatoes. The kids enjoy the marshmallows and it’s okay to have a little bit once in awhile. Especially since you’re using fresh sweet potatoes, instead of canned.Do you want to enjoy Thanksgiving dinner without worrying about the fattening food? Check out all of these ideas how to make your Thanksgiving healthier!Click To Tweet
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Vegetables
I know a lot of you probably have the traditional green bean casserole that I see on t.v. We just have whatever vegetables are on sale. However, I saw this picture and thought it looks like a pretty nice-looking vegetable dish.
It says it’s green beans, cauliflower, peas and carrots. It looks very pretty. You could either boil them or steam them and maybe add a tbsp. of margarine and 1/4 tsp. dill to give them a nice flavor.
If you’re going to stick to the traditional green bean dish, make sure to use fresh or frozen green beans. Also, use Healthy Request (or low fat, low cholesterol) cream of mushroom soup. Make sure you use nonfat milk and low sodium soy sauce instead of the regular kind.
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Rolls
Rolls are pretty easy to make healthier! Especially if you buy them already made from the store. There are some really delicious rolls that come out around this time of the year, that are really easy to stick in the oven and bake for just a few minutes. To make them healthier, make sure you look for the 100% whole wheat rolls. They’re still just as delicious and are much better for you.
If you make your own bread or rolls, just substitute some of the ingredients. Instead of shortening, use light margarine. Instead of whole eggs, use egg whites or whole omega 3 eggs. Also, use nonfat milk, instead of whole milk.
If you look at your bread recipe and would like some help in knowing what to substitute, leave a comment and I’ll help you figure it out.
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier – Pumpkin Pie
It’s much healthier to make your own pumpkin pie. It’s not hard to do and you can make it the night before.
Make sure you use pure pumpkin in your pie. It comes in a can, and it’s great because there’s no added sugar or anything. It’s just pure pumpkin.
You can buy an unbaked pastry shell, so you don’t have to make the crust yourself.
When you make the pie, use egg whites or omega 3 eggs, instead of regular eggs. Instead of whole milk, use nonfat milk. Luckily, pumpkin pie is also made with evaporated milk. That kind of milk is fine to use, it’s the condensed that you shouldn’t use.
If you usually serve your pie with whipped cream (cool whip) like we do,make sure you get the light version.
Making these small substitutions to make your pumpkin pie healthier, will still result in a delicious pie! If you don’t mention these changes to anyone, I bet no one will be able to even tell the difference.
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier & Happier – Go for a Walk
A great way to make your Thanksgiving healthier & happier is to go for a walk! You can go before the meal, after the meal, or both!
Where we live, there’s a Thanksgiving tradition to go on the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning. It’s a walk downtown near the beach. It’s fun for the whole family, and it even benefits the local schools. We participated in it for the first time last year and had so much fun! It’s a 3 mile walk or run. My husband ran with my youngest son, and my daughter ran it herself. I walked it by myself, although I did start off with a friend from church. Before the race started, we saw my son’s teacher and some classmates, so we took pictures together. It was such a fun way to start the day!
You should see if you have something like that in your community that your whole family can do together. If not, why not just go for a walk around your neighborhood together in the morning? It’s a nice, refreshing way to start the day before all the cooking begins. Plus, you’ve burned some calories before you eat!
Also, after Thanksgiving dinner is over and the dishes are all done, why not suggest everyone go for a walk? All of your family and friends can join in! You can walk around your neighborhood, enjoying the scenery, and having nice discussions with each other. Walking is a nice way to relax after dinner, plus everyone will feel better having walked off a little bit of that food. Especially if anyone ate too much!
How to Make Your Thanksgiving Healthier & Happier
So, as you can see, there are lots of ways to make your Thanksgiving healthier! You just have to make small changes to the traditional recipes that you use. You’ll feel much happier knowing you’re helping keep your family healthy! Also, add a new tradition of going for a walk in the morning and even after dinner. Your family will enjoy the change and have a much happier and enjoyable time together.
If you use any kind of recipe I didn’t mention and would like some help figuring out how to make it healthier, just leave a comment. I will gladly help you figure it out!
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