How to Make Thanksgiving Healthier
What do you associate Thanksgiving with? Food, football, sweatpants, and naps perhaps? We all tend to indulge on Thanksgiving – and there's nothing wrong with indulging! This year, we are going to give you a few tips to make your Thanksgiving a little bit healthier – all while keeping it just as delicious! Find out the easiest swap outs you can do to make this the healthiest Thanksgiving for your body and brain yet!
- Sweet Potato Casserole
- Dark Meat
- Green Bean Casserole
- Pecan Pie
1. Sweet Potato Casserole. You probably are familiar with sweet potato casserole. Mashed sweet potatoes loaded with brown sugar, candied pecans, and of course the marshmallow topping. It's probably more of a dessert than it is a side dish. While this dish is delicious, it's probably not the healthiest option. Sweet potatoes on their own are incredibly brain healthy. Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene which is good for your cognition! For this year's meal, cut your sweet potatoes up into cubes – keep the skin on! The skin contains a lot of nutrients, just make sure you scrub them clean first. Season them with either savory spices, such as salt, pepper, garlic, and oil, or sweet spices such as cinnamon and a sprinkle of sugar. Roast in a 400-degree oven for 30 minutes. Enjoy your brain healthy and delicious side!
2. Dark Meat. We can't forget the star of the dinner: The turkey! White meat has fewer calories than dark meat, as well as less saturated fat. The turkey is probably one of the healthiest options for your meal. Turkey has all sorts of nutritional benefits. Turkey is a good source of protein, zinc, and B12. So, this year, choose the white meat and keep your portion size to about 3 ounces. Your brain will thank you.
3. Green Bean Casserole. Another staple side dish is green bean casserole. Typically smothered with cream of mushroom soup, and loaded with fried onions on top, this might not be the healthiest side. However, green beans on their own are very healthy. They contain vitamins A, K, E, and B6. They're also great sources of calcium, iron, potassium, and zinc. This year, try roasting your green beans with parmesan and garlic. Simply turn your oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle your green beans with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Roast for 20 minutes, give the pan a shake halfway through. Enjoy!
4. Pecan Pie. Pecan pie is a delicious dessert for Thanksgiving, but when a slice clocks in at about 500 calories, it might be time to rethink this dessert. Good news: you can still have your pie! This year, make it pumpkin pie. Pumpkin contains calcium, iron, and vitamin A. So, this year if given the choice, go with the pumpkin pie for dessert. Go ahead and top it with whipped cream - we won't tell!
There you have it! You can still enjoy Thanksgiving without completely falling off the health wagon. If you do indulge, don’t sweat it. Thanksgiving comes once a year. One day of indulgence will not offset your health journey. Happy Thanksgiving!