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My Favorite Healthy Thanksgiving Hacks

Kelly Woolfe

Turkey day is nearly upon us! As I think about this day that focuses around eating massive amounts of really delicious food, I'm reminded of a song that my uncle used to sing that has just stuck with me forever! Let me tell you a little bit of the back story first. Every summer, my mom's side of the family has a reunion. We all travel and meet centrally, and stay in a huge house for a week -- all 30 or so of us! One of our traditions throughout the years has been going to lunch at a local restaurant that's specialty is barbeque -- and crazy awesome onion rings! They are to die for! When I was pregnant, I would dream of these onion rings!!!! Needless to say, we'd get stuffed. Super stuffed. WAY to stuffed. And I remember rollin' out of the restaurant -- a huge crowd of overly stuffed people, holding our bellies and wishing we hadn't eaten so much. And then we hear my uncle singing, "Rollin' rollin' rollin', why's my stomach swollen?" You can imagine the huge burst of laughter!!! And none of us has ever forgotten it!!!

So, what does this have to do with Thanksgiving hacks? Well, I don't want to gobble 'til I wobble. Honestly, overeating is painful! And, its doesn't feel good the next day either when you're recovering from all of the food you ate (and shoveling in leftovers!). And, even though I do not think we need to be perfect through this holiday season, I think we can make choices within reason that won't set us back so far that we're struggling when the new year rolls in! 

One thing we like to do is use our favorite Thanksgiving hacks! Basically, these are substitutions that you can use in your favorite Thanksgiving dishes to make them a little bit healthier. And even better? They are super simple, your dishes will still taste amazing, and you'll be making your meal all-around healthier. Check out my 5 favorite Thanksgiving food hacks.

  • Coconut oil --- Love love LOVE coconut oil! You KNOW Thanksgiving is all about the butter, but it doesn't have to be. Coconut oil is an awesome substitute for butter, margarine or Crisco. You can use it in your baked goods, on your turkey, and even for your mashed potatoes.  Recipe: http://coconutoilcooking.com/coconut-oil-blog-posts/herb-roasted-coconut-oil-thanksgiving-day-turkey/

 

  • Whole wheat flour --- easy swap for regular white flour. Thanksgiving is loaded with carbs -- and thats ok! But, by switching to whole wheat flour in your rolls, pastries, and quick breads, you will add a punch of fiber and will be cutting out the processed white flour which is sugar-laden. Recipe: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2011/11/15/recipe-whole-grain-cornbread/

 

  • Greek Yogurt -- there is no shortage of sour cream going around on Thanksgiving day. This one is almost a no brainer. It tastes almost exactly the same as sour cream and can be subsituted anywhere where you normally use sour cream --- potatoes, baked goods, toppings. Plus, you're going to slash fat and get added protein. Recipe: http://www.oikosyogurt.com/greek-yogurt-recipes/all-recipes/roasted-brussels-sprouts-caramelized-onion.aspx?

 

  • Baking? Use Beans! Black, cannellini, and chickpeas all work great. Okay, I know it sounds a little weird. But trust me, its actually quite good!!! If you've never tried using beans in baked goods, you just HAVE to. And the calories and fat saved, well, that's a no brainer. :) Recipe: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2011/05/18/chocolate-chip-blondies-and-theyre-good-for-you/

 

  • Cauliflower - Okay, I know some of you are just partial to your good 'ol homemade mashed potatoes. I get that! But, I really love cauliflower and a great cauliflower mash is an awesome substitute for regular potatoes. This is a great way to decrease the Thanksgiving carb consumption. Recipe: http://www.eat-yourself-skinny.com/2014/01/rosemary-garlic-cauliflower-mash.html


And there you have it. My top 5 favorite hacks for our Thanksgiving Day meals. And remember, Thanksgiving has a lot to offer! I would never recommend depriving yourself of the things you love on this one day per year. In fact, I think its important to eat your mom's famous sweet potatoes, or the pumpkin pie that only your grandma can make. Plan for which foods you can't live without. Eat them! But hopefully with a few simple changes to the regular meal plan, Thanksgiving can also be a relatively healthy one!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
-Kelly


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