Holiday Challenge #1: Choose at least one dish you are preparing for Thanksgiving and create a healthier version!
This challenge isn’t quite as daunting as you may think. Many dishes can easily be made healthier without sacrificing flavor. Anything from substituting with healthy oils, sugar alternatives, or hiding veggies in the dish! Below are some ideas for creating healthier dishes for Thanksgiving as well as full recipes:
- Substitute white sugar in processed foods for unrefined, natural sweeteners such as honey, coconut sugar, pure maple syrup, or stevia. The flavor is usually not affected and your body will thank you for skipping the white sugar! Honey contains many antimicrobial properties and coconut sugar has a higher amount of nutrients than sugar. Click here for a chart that will help you substitute sugars in your favorite recipes!
- Vegetable oil, canola oil, margarine, and shortening are chemically processed and very high in omega 6 oils. Their consumption has been linked to liver/kidney damage, immune problems, infertility or sterility, high cholesterol, and behavioral problems in children. Our bodies are designed to have a 1:1 balanced ratio of omega 6 and omega 3 oils, however, the modern western diet lacks that balance. Substitute unhealthy oils for healthier oils such as coconut oil (baking or sautéing), olive oil (savory dishes and sautéing or frying), ghee (clarified butter), or avocado oil (baking or sautéing).
- Use fresh produce! This may take a little extra work than using those convenient cans, but worth the effort. Any kind of processing destroys some of the nutrients and canned goods are processed quite a bit. Green bean casserole? Use fresh green beans! Mashed potatoes? Use fresh potatoes and try sweet potatoes for more nutrients! Cranberries? Use fresh and make it from scratch!
- Sneak veggies in wherever you can! Add pureed veggies to sauces and soups. Chop up extra veggies and greens and add to your stuffing. Casseroles are great places to add extra veggies. You can even add veggies to baked goods such as shredded zucchini or carrots to bread and cakes.
Comment below with your favorite dish and we will share ways to create a healthier version and recipe ideas!