Thanksgiving dinner is a feast for many families; the fat, cholesterol, sugar and other ingredients tend to make even the best tasting main dishes and sides unhealthy. Use healthy alternatives for a Thanksgiving meal the entire family can enjoy. They are not expensive and need few, if any special preparations are required.
In this article, I have listed the traditional food and described the healthy alternative(s).
Deep Fried Or Butter-basted Turkey
Tofurkey is a soybean product flavored to taste like turkey meat. For vegetarians and those trying to reduce high cholesterol levels, it is a protein-packed alternative to the deep-fried or butter-basted bird covered in high-fat gravy. Vegetarian lasagna or stuffed squash are also wonderful as main or side dishes.
Other alternatives are lean ham, beef, venison, duck, goose, chicken, pork roast or even seafood. Begin a tradition of game meat such as venison, wild fowl, fish or other non-traditional meats.
Gravy With Pan Drippings
Instead of making gravy with the fat from pan drippings, use a low-sodium, low-fat gravy mix such as McCormick Turkey Gravy Mix. Instead of pan drippings, use turkey broth. The result is a smooth, easy pouring healthy gravy.
Glazed Sweet Potatoes have far fewer calories than candied yams made with loads of white sugar; it also has far less fat. Instead of butter, low-fat margarine or alternative fat is used. Sweet potatoes are loaded with carotene as well as a wide variety of antioxidants and nutrients. Save the marshmallows for hot chocolate.
Specialty Breads, Cakes
Replacing part of the flour and fat in specialty breads with healthy alternatives such as avocado and pureed lentils adds fiber, antioxidants and nutrients. Experiment to find out if taste is affected in breads such as banana, cranberry or orange bread.
Substitute purees made from fruits or vegetables for the fats in various baked goods. Pureed prunes work beautifully in chocolate cakes and do not adversely affect the taste.
The traditional cornbread or breadcrumb stuffing is full of fat and unhealthy calories. Healthy alternatives can include rice or grain-based side dishes such as rice pilafs, quinoa, wild rice or other types of grain dishes. Try a recipe featuring ham, rice and mushrooms, or one with fruits, nuts and rice.
To introduce the family to the new alternatives, place them on the table along with the traditional dishes. Encourage each member to taste, and then discuss which dish or dishes were liked the best. They could become the family’s new Thanksgiving tradition.