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This week for Thanksgiving, families everywhere are sitting down together to eat and celebrate—and probably eat some more—to show their thanks and celebrate traditions of the land, gratitude, and appreciation for abundance. These are traditions that go way back, all the way to the very first Thanksgiving. For most of us, though, the most important celebratory traditions are the more recent, within our family and those introduced to us by our spouses.
And a lot of them have to do with food or the meal itself. How is it served? Who sits where at the table? Is Uncle Jim carving the turkey this year as usual? Did Aunt Sally use the reduced sugar recipe for the cranberry sauce or whole wheat bread to make the stuffing?
At Healthy Food Now, we’d be especially interested in that last question. Specifically, we’re asking ourselves (and you, the readers) if it’s possible to have a truly healthy, nutritious Thanksgiving. Is there a way to do it without racking up the calorie count? Does the very idea of “healthy” somehow contradict the Thanksgiving holiday—which frequently brings up memories of mounds of stuffing, overly sweet and tart cranberry sauce, turkeys basting in gravy, and the food coma that follows.
So, put that image out of your mind. To answer our questions:
Yes! (It’s possible to have a healthy Thanksgiving.)
No! (Healthy does not contradict Thanksgiving.)
Now here is our unique Thanksgiving menu to prove it.
Salad, soups and starters
All truly wonderful and healthy meals have green beginnings. Try starting this Thanksgiving meal with HFN’s Fresh Greens and Veggie Salad, then perhaps pairing it with the homemade Apple Cider and Sage Vinaigrette. Soup-wise, we suggest the Butternut Soup or its tangier cousin, the Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup.
- 1 cup no-salt-added vegetable stock.
- 2 cup onion, 1/4 inch dice.
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper.
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander.
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- 2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced.
- 4 cup no-salt-added vegetable stock.
- 4 cup butternut squash, fresh preferred.
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme.
- 4 date, pitted.
- Water Saute the onion in a vegetable stock until the vegetables are very soft and all the liquid has evaporated
- Add the spices and stir to combine
- Add the stock, butternut squash and thyme. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Turn down the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes until the vegetables are very soft
- Remove the thyme sprigs and add the dates. Puree the soup in batches until very smooth
Turkey? Yes turkey.
It’s still possible to enjoy turkey as part of a healthy Thanksgiving meal. All you have to do is eat a little (or a lot) less of it. Beginning with salad and soup, or piling on more healthy sides (coming up), are the ways to keep yourself satisfied and eat less turkey. Which happens to have a lot of calories and way fewer nutrients than the greens and dishes with plant-based ingredients.
- 4 apple, quartered.
- 3 orange, quartered.
- 2 onion, peeled and qaurtered.
- 5 tablespoon fresh thyme, leaves only.
- 24 fresh sage, leaves, torn.
- 2-2 1/2 lb turkey breast, skin removed 4 ounces per person.
- 1/2 cup apricot no sugar spreadable 100% fruit.
- 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Amino.
- 1 tablespoon no-salt seasoning.
- 6 cloves garlic, minced.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut apples in quarters and remove core. Cut oranges and onions in 1/6. In baking pan arrange apples, oranges, and onion close together. Lay herbs on top of fruit. Place breast on top of fruit, onion, and herb mixture. Mix apricot spread, liquid aminos, Spike and garlic. Generously spread turkey with sauce. Cover loosely with foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.
- Note: Turkey breast can be roasted separately and fruit only needs to be cooked 20-25 minutes
Super healthy, super tasty sides
These are like the sidekicks to your super healthy meal. If you have the cranky relative types in your family or die-hard junk foodies who don’t appreciate your healthy Thanksgiving efforts, then these dishes should keep them a little quieter and more satisfied.
Brussels Gone Crazy with butternut squash and currants.
- 3 large sweet potato, peeled and large diced.
- 1 granny smith apple, core removed and diced, organic.
- 1/2 cup chopped walnut.
- 1/4 cup date sugar.
- 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.
- 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
- 1 teaspoon ginger.
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg.
- Preheat oven 350 degrees. In a bowl, toss all ingredients. Place on a baking pan and cover with aluminium foil. Bake for 30 minutes, covered and 10 minutes uncovered. Check with a fork for doneness.
Mashed Cauliflower with greens.
Dessert with a flourish
We’re almost finished, and if you’ve stuck with us this far you’re probably getting pretty full.
End the night with a traditional pie that has a healthy twist, the Healthy Pumpkin Pie, or try a truly seasonal and aptly named fruity delight, Apple Delight.
- 6 apple, peeled and sliced.
- 3/4 cup chopped walnut.
- 6 date, pitted and chopped.
- 1/2 cup dried currant.
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, to taste.
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, to taste.
- 3/4 cup water.
- 1 orange, juiced.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine all ingredients except the orange juice. Place in a baking pan and drizzle the orange juice on top.
- Cover and bake at 375 degrees for about one hour until all ingredients are soft, stirring occasionally.
Know any healthy recipes of your own? We want to know! Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you try these or any other HFN recipes for Thanksgiving, let us know how they turn out. Send us pictures!