A Wonderfully Simple Thanksgiving

Gather around the table with your family and friends for celebrating thanks and enjoying delicious foods! As you prepare all the traditional Thanksgiving dishes, here are a few tips to add some additional nutrition and make your thanksgiving meal less intensive.

  1. Have a “snack meal” thanksgiving. Most people think Thanksgiving must be a large meal that takes all day to make, and then the family sits around the table for hours until they eat so much, they feel uncomfortable. Thanksgiving meals do not have to be like that. Try having a thanksgiving snack meal instead. Make a variety of appetizers that include all the food groups. A veggie platter or side salad to fit in the vegetable group. A winter fruit salad for the fruit group with a dollop of Greek yogurt. A meat and cheese charcuterie board with grapes and apples. And last but not least a sweet pumpkin hummus dip. Try using graham crackers to mimic a pumpkin pie without the hassle of making a large pie. And there you have a whole, well-balanced meal, made from appetizers. This also allows people to graze during the day, which takes care of preparing leftovers or snacks and allows guests to eat as they socialize and prefer to eat.
  2. Adjust the thanksgiving favorite - Turkey: Instead of making a whole turkey, try baking or roasting turkey breasts. This can be made in less than an hour and with gravy or cranberry sauce on top, no one will know the difference.
  3. Simplify sweet potato casserole: Try baked or whipped sweet potatoes, its simpler and healthier. Sprinkle over dried cherries and roasted pecans.
  4. Green bean casserole: Steam the green beans and add a sprinkle of olive oil and reduced balsamic and grated parmesan cheese over the top. Its healthier, quicker and your guests will appreciate a simple vegetable side to help process through the decadent desserts. 

While preparing healthier recipes is one approach to a more nutritious Thanksgiving dinner, you do not have to skip the traditional recipes or miss out if you purchase prepared food! From the overall nutrition perspective, it is not so much the type of foods served on our Thanksgiving tables as it is the quantity we eat that gives Thanksgiving an unhealthy name. Turkey, potatoes, and pumpkin are nutrient dense foods; however, even eating too much of healthful foods can be unhealthy.  As you sit down for your Thanksgiving dinner, remember appropriate portions and aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies. 

It is also important to keep in mind that it takes 20 minutes for your stomach and brain to communicate and for you to know that you are full.  Start with just a little of each and reach for seconds only after waiting 20 minutes and if still feeling hungry.  

We are thankful for you and want to continue to be your partner in feeding your family well! From prepared foods to quick mixes, and any ingredient your recipe calls for, we have it all to help you make it a great Thanksgiving!