Holiday Side Dishes, Healthy Remix
With Thanksgiving just about a week away, most moms/grandmas I know are starting to feel that common panicky feeling. How will I cook everything and still be able to socialize? Can I keep this one day from ruining my otherwise healthy routine? How am I supposed to cook for all these people with different dietary needs (i.e. gluten free, dairy free, allergies, vegans, and so on...).
IT'S GOING TO BE OKAY. YOU CAN DO THIS. KEEP YOUR SH*T TOGETHER!
You can't make everyone happy 100% of the time. It just isn't going to happen, so why stress yourself out so much? (Must be something to do with all that family-togetherness).
Here are a few of my tried and true tips for a healthier thanksgiving.
1. Under no circumstances should you skip breakfast or lunch! Doing this will only lead you to overeat (or drink) at the big meal. Have two small, balanced meals earlier in the day to make sure you do not over do it.
2. If you are going to someone else's home and you have a special dietary preference, do not overwhelm the hostess (or host) with all of your needs. Make a dish you know will be enough for you and bring enough for everyone to try. Now you know there will be something you can eat and the host will greatly appreciate this!
3. Three. Bite. Rule. For anything that is an 'indulgence' give yourself a small portion and only have three bites. The tempting first bite, the 'this is so good' second bite, and the savor it for a few moments last bite. This is a biggie for families where someone may get offended if you do not try their *specialty*.
4. Always make half your plate veggies! When you fill that plate up with salad and green beans, there's less room left to over do it on those higher calorie/fat items. You can also start with a nice salad to fill your belly up before heading into the big leagues. Remember, be mindful. Just because it's Thanksgiving does not mean you need to eat your weight in cranberry sauce.
5. Move. After dinner, it can be very tempting to sit down and watch some football. DON'T DO IT! Offer to help clean up (if it's not your home) or go for a quick walk.
Here I have a few suggestions of classic holiday side dishes, lightened up.
Those are lemons. Get your mind out of the gutter! (Thank you, internet, for realizing how un-perky my post-breastfeeding boobs are!)
I took four classic Thanksgiving sides and gave them a much needed makeover. Enjoy!
If you love Sausage Stuffing, try Quinoa stuffing instead:
Enjoy some Caramelized Roasted Sweet Potatoes rather than candied yams:
Forget that green bean casserole (does anyone actually like that?!) and try this Green Bean & Cheddar salad instead.
My sincerest apologies for posting this so last minute. If you are brave enough to enter a grocery store at this point, I promise these recipes will be worth it!!!
This holiday season, you can bet your bottom dollar that I will be eating all of the good things. Yes, that includes cookies, muffins, pies, cakes, and any other sweet treat you can think of. Rather than focus on the bad, my resolution for this time of year is to keep it positive! Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to baking. See how I transform my favorite sweets to make them healthy-ish!
You want to change the sugar...
Recipe calls for 1 cup granulated sugar
You want to change the fat...
Recipe calls for 1 cup vegetable oil
You want to make it gluten free...
Recipe calls for 1 cup all purpose flour
You want to make it vegan...
The recipe calls for 1 egg
*Make your own date syrup, cashew cream, or almond milk. Soak overnight in cool water. Discard the water. Add to food processor with equal parts water. Blend until smooth. For the almonds and cashews, use a cheesecloth to separate the liquid from the pulp for a smoother product. You can add in vanilla extract to flavor your nut milk.
**In my experience, a little change is all you need. I do not recommend trying to make ALL of these substitutions in one product. My favorite swaps are applesauce for sugar in cakes, beans for oil in brownies, and silken tofu for cream in custardy pie
For a few other great substitution ideas, check out this post from Whitney E RD, an LA based blogger I just stumbled upon and am loving right now!
Ashley Shaw MS, RD, CDN