One of our most popular holidays here in the United States is Thanksgiving Day. While there were many events that gave birth to the tradition, it is believed that it began in 1621. When the Mayflower left England in September 1620, it landed in Cape Cod where colonists began to settle. After the pilgrims’ first harvest succeeded, the pilgrims and the Native Americans planned a feast. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared the feast that has come to be known asThanksgiving dinner.
While Thanksgiving dinner has evolved over the years, the traditional elements are actually quite healthy; lean protein, whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables. Keep reading for simple tips on how to make your Thanksgiving dinner healthier this year!
Tips for a Healthier Thanksgiving Meal
- Turkey is a great source of lean protein, but many Thanksgiving preparations call for too much salt. Try seasoning your turkey with flavored herbs such as rosemary, oregano and parsley instead.
- Nutrition expert Leah Kaufman suggests switching mashed potatoes in cauliflower. Over the course of the day you will eat enough starch, and switching to cauliflower really cuts down on carbs and calories. Not only that, but this mashed cauliflower recipe is simply delicious!
- Traditional stuffing can be made healthier without sacrificing taste! Exchange white bread for 100% whole-wheat bread to increase fiber and substitute the butter for olive oil. 1Tbsp of butter equals 2tsp of olive oil!
- Candied yams are often a crowd favorite, but are packed with unnecessary sugars from the marshmallows and gingersnaps. Instead, use fresh yams, ground ginger and cinnamon for a healthy and satisfying twist.
- Make your own cranberry sauce. Fresh cranberries contain higher amounts of antioxidants and fiber. Plus, canned cranberry sauce has more sugar than most candy bars. Try out this healthy, naturally sweet cranberry sauce recipe!
- Incorporate a variety of vegetables. Many of the vegetables that are in season during the fall and winter are superfoods packed with nutrients. Brussels sprouts, pumpkins, squash, and so much more! Bake or sauté your vegetables with garlic, olive oil and herbs as delicious and healthy side dishes.
- When it comes to dessert, let fall fruits like, pomegranate, apples, pears, grapefruit and dates, inspire you! These in season are loaded with antioxidants and nutrients, and are a great base for healthy desserts. Click here for other healthy dessert recipes!
For more healthy Thanksgiving meal ideas, click here!