Your Guide To A Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

Did you know that a typical American Thanksgiving meal is an average of 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat?

That is way too much for your body to handle in one sitting or even one day for that matter. Do not ruin your healthy eating or get off track this year. Try some of these quick, healthy, yet super delicious side dishes. Some of these are vegan and some are raw to suit all dietary needs in your family. They are all full of fibre, anti-oxidants and vitamins to nourish every cell in your body.

The Goodness of Pastured Turkey

Start by choosing a pastured turkey from a local farm. These are the turkey that are raised outdoors on green pasture and eat bugs and grass ( their natural diet). These are juicier, leaner and even cook faster than a conventional, store-bought turkey. Yes, they do cost more, but it is totally worth it – You are worth it!

Make sure you pick off all the meat and save those bones for making stock later on too!

One Tip: Be ready for faster

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cook times. Pasture-raised turkeys will cook faster than factory-farmed birds. Figure on 12-15 minutes per pound, uncovered, at 325 degrees as you plan your dinner.

That said, oven temperatures and individual birds will always vary. Use an internal meat thermometer to know for sure when the bird is cooked. They’re done when the breast reaches 165° F.

I usually stuff the body with an onion cut in half, a few pieces of celery and sometimes a lemon. Rub olive oil and salt & pepper on the outside.

Healthy Side Dishes

These are quick and healthy side dishes your whole family will love! Start with fresh, whole ingredients and locally grown is always best.

Quinoa Squash Un-Stuffing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tbsp light olive oil or ghee
  • 1/3 cup chopped shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups (6 oz) diced butternut squash, 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • 1 cup baby spinach or kale
  • 3 sage leaves, chopped (or 1/4 tsp dried)
  • 2 tbsp chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 1/4 tsp crushed black pepper

Directions

  1. Place 2 cups of water and 1 cup of quinoa in a
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    medium saucepan on high heat. Bring to a boil.
  2. Once boiling, turn down to low and simmer with a lid on for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done. Set aside.
  3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil or ghee.
  4. Add shallots and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat for 4-5 minutes, or until golden.
  5. Add butternut squash, cranberries, maple syrup and 1 tablespoon water and cover; cook on low for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the lid and add kale or spinach, salt, sage, and pepper, cover and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Mix in pecans or walnuts.
  8. Add this mixture to the cooked quinoa and stir to combine.

Lemony Brussels Sprout Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Brussels sprouts
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 1 Lemon, zested
  • 2-3 tbsp of fresh lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Chopped pecans, dried cranberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Trim ends of 1 lb. of raw Brussels sprouts. Cut in half lengthwise. Place in a food processor and shred.
  2. Combine 2 tbsp mayo, grated zest of 1 lemon, 1 clove garlic, minced, 1/2 tsp salt and pepper, ¼ cup olive oil and 3 tbsp lemon juice.
  3. Whisk together dressing
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    and pour over raw sprouts.
  4. Can be made up to 4-5 hours in advance. Keep in fridge.
  5. You can also add chopped pecans or walnuts or dried cranberries.

This is really good – probably my favorite creation this year! So fresh and lemony!

Massaged Kale Salad

(Serves 6 as a side)

Ingredients

  • 1 head organic kale, de-stemmed (any type will do)
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 handful sunflower sprouts
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (omit for Nut-Free option)
  • 2 tbsp olives
  • Feta Cheese, Dried Cranberries (optional)

Directions

  1. Slice kale leaves into thin strips, transfer to a large mixing bowl, drizzle with the lemon juice and olive oil, and sprinkle on the salt.
  2. Gently massage them for 3 to 5 minutes, until they start softening and the color gets dark and beautiful. Set aside.
  3. Add in the sprouts, walnuts, and olives, and toss with more olive oil and lemon juice.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes And Red Onions

(Serves 4-6 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 large orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, cut in 1 inch cubes
  • 2 small red onions, cut into pieces just larger than 1 inch
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp sea salt and black pepper
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1
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    orange
  • Dash of cinnamon, ground ginger

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450° F.
  2. Peel sweet potatoes and cut into cubes about 1 inch square.
  3. Peel red onions and cut into pieces slightly over 1 inch square.
  4. Put sweet potatoes and onions into a bowl and toss with 2 tbsp olive oil (or slightly more if you need it to get all the veggies coated with olive oil.)
  5. Add orange zest and juice to coat the sweet potatoes.
  6. Sprinkle spices over the veggie mixture and toss until all the vegetables are coated with the seasonings.
  7. Spread the vegetables out on the baking sheet (use two baking sheets if they are even slightly crowded.) Roast about 20 minutes, then flip them over with a turner.
  8. Roast 10-20 minutes more, or until the sweet potatoes and onions are both nicely browned and sweet potatoes are soft. (They do not get very crisp, but there should be some browning on the edges.)
  9. Total roasting time will be 40-50 minutes, depending on the size of the sweet potatoes, your pan, and the oven.

Happy, Healthy Eating!