Many families prepare a traditional Thanksgiving feast, but there’s much to be said for adding something new into the mix. If you want to change up your dinner table this holiday, why not make it a healthy addition or substitution?
The following five ideas can suit many different tastes, and each provides a unique nutritional profile. Try one or several of these alternative ideas this Thanksgiving!
Let’s start with the main dish. Turkey has multiple health benefits as a lean protein, but it isn’t your only choice. Duck is another popular poultry with considerable perks, and it makes an elegant centerpiece on your Thanksgiving table.
Duck is a rich source of long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Research suggests that sufficient intake of these healthy fats can help prevent chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, mental illness, psoriasis and asthma. It may also ward off certain cancers.
This poultry has an earthy flavor, which pairs perfectly with mushroom stuffing chock full of various types of fungi and truffle salt. Roasted harvest vegetables round out the meal — a little olive oil and some herbs are all you need to make them sparkle.
Who said you needed a flesh-based protein at all? These stuffed acorn squash light up your holiday table with tempeh and mushrooms highlighted by cranberries and walnuts for a delightful, cruelty-free meal.
You can pair it with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, substituting healthy extra virgin olive oil for chicken stock and butter. An additional side of roasted beets with citrus boosts your cardiovascular health. Beets contain a substance that converts to nitric oxide in the body, helping dilate blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Roast turkey has only 2.1 net carbs per serving, at least until you dump on the flour-laden gravy. Instead, stuff your bird with various herbs and spices to bring out the natural flavor of the meat — no topper necessary.
This keto cauliflower stuffing brings the saltiness of bacon and sausage to the table, further eliminating the need for gravy. Best of all, those on low-carb meal plans can dig in without guilt. Add a few asparagus spears or some green beans or corn, and you have the ideal feast that won’t leave you laden with guilt.
Nutritional experts often laud the Mediterranean diet as one of the healthiest ones out there due to its reliance on olive oil, fish and vegetables. It’s a snap to prepare your bird with an oregano, rosemary, parsley and pepper rub that imbues the meat with the flavors of the region.
What is freekeh? This Mediterranean grain made from green, unripe wheat has more protein, fiber and minerals than quinoa. The magic comes from the young age harvesters pick it. The cranberries and apple add a tangy tartness that perfectly complements the meat. Some roasted parmesan zucchini rounds out your meal.
What if you have family members or guests who fall into both the paleo and vegan crowds? Is it impossible to please them at your feast?
Doing so is a breeze with this jackfruit pot roast that meets both qualifications. The celery included helps reduce inflammation and supports digestion — critical after a hearty meal.
Serve your dish over these cauliflower mashed potatoes — they’re so rich, you may never return to the potato-based version. Round out your meal with some roasted broccoli for its high B-vitamin content, and you’ll feel healthier when you push back from the table.
There’s no need to resort to the same recipes you always use this holiday. Why not try one of these five alternative healthy Thanksgiving meal ideas? You’re sure to have a dinner to remember!