When you’re working on your fitness and nutrition goals, Thanksgiving can be a dreaded holiday. As excited I always am every year to spend time with family and eat great food, a little part of me always dreads it because well… I don’t always have the best self control around tons of amazing food. Especially since I have THREE Thanksgiving dinners each year.. yes three.. those with divorced parents and big extended families will feel me.
Two years ago around Thanksgiving time I was on a really strict meal plan and workout routine where the bulk of my meals consisted of broccoli and chicken, so I brought my own meals to all of my Thanksgiving dinners. I did great, and didn’t cave even once when family asked me over and over again, “Oh Nicole, are you suuuure you can’t just have one little scoop of cheesy potatoes? One little slice of pie?”
But resisting all of that badgering, and explaining to people over and over again why you are choosing not to eat unhealthy indulgent Thanksgiving food can get exhausting. Sometimes, certain people will never understand your fitness goals. That’s okay, it’s not their job to understand and you don’t owe them any explanation. But girl… it can get annoying feeling like you have to “defend” your life choices of eating clean and healthy.
So last year, my mom and I came up with a great idea.
Let’s do a spin on traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Let’s make it a HEALTHY THANKSGIVING. We successfully made a clean-eating healthy Thanksgiving dinner, with NO refined carbs at all.
Here’s a picture of our insanely delicious HEALTHY Thanksgiving dinner:
Looks pretty delicious, right?!
It was probably my favorite Thanksgiving meal ever. Everything was so delicious, and we all felt great about what we ate afterwards. None of us got the after-meal crash or feelings of guilt for over-indulging.
So I tried to round up all of the recipes we used to share with you, and found most of them. Some of them we put a little twist and made some substitutions to make them fit in with my definition of “clean eating,” but you’ll get the idea. If you have questions about any substitutions I made to make these recipes even more healthy, feel free to reach out in the comments below. I wish we would have gotten more pictures of the food we made, not all of it is pictured, but oh well. I’ll just have to make more healthy Thanksgiving recipes this year 🙂
For each dish, I added a link to the original recipe that I followed. Enjoy!
Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes that are Insanely Delicious:
Appetizer: Pumpkin Hummus
This healthy pumpkin hummus was AMAZING and so easy to make. We enjoyed it on some healthy organic crackers but it’s honestly good on anything. Recipe here.
Turkey: Apple Cider Glazed Turkey Breast
Have I mentioned how obsessed I am with Apple Cider Vinegar?! This turkey recipe was perfect. Recipe here.
Mashed “Potatoes”: Mashed Cauliflower with Garlic and Herbs
Alright this isn’t the exact recipe I used for mashed cauliflower but it looked pretty close to the recipe I made, and not to mention looks DELICIOUS. I looooove mashed potatoes, specifically garlic mashed potatoes. They’re one of my many weaknesses when it comes to food. These were perfect because even though I had a huge helping, it didn’t make me feel overly full. Pro tip I wish we would have known: Try sauteing the garlic a little bit first. We put in a lot of extra garlic (because my entire family loves garlic) but made the mistake of putting in raw garlic. They were still delicious, just a little strong 🙂 Recipe here.
Side Dish: Butternut Squash Quinoa with Kale, Cranberries, Walnuts and Goat Cheese
WOW. Seriously was speechless when I tried this dish. This was definitely my favorite dish of the entire meal. We also added some red onions, and used lemon juice instead of the chicken stock to make it a little healthier. Safe to say, this salad was mouth watering. Pro tip: be careful not to over saute your kale. Take it off the heat soon enough so it stays a little bit crunchy. Recipe here.
YUM. Don’t all those recipes look delicious?!
Other dishes pictured that I don’t have recipes for: a Sweet Potato & Beet Vegetable Medley, and Truffle Oil Brussels Sprouts with Grated Parmesan, Sliced Almonds, and Pickled Golden Raisins(working on getting a recipe for you guys on this one… kind of a recipe I made up).
So as you can see, Thanksgiving CAN still fit in with your nutrition and fitness goals. It doesn’t have to be an over-indulgent, guilt-filled holiday. (Of course it can be, indulging now and then is still fun)
Do you have any healthy Thanksgiving dinner recipes? Share them with us in the comments below!
Hope everyone has a fantastic Thanksgiving!!