This post was guest written by Kristen Nichols.
The holidays are almost upon us and that means lots of tasty food and recipes circulating around. I wanted to do something a bit different and provide you with ten healthy Thanksgiving alternatives. These recipes provide you with alternatives that have no wheat, milk, and high-glycemic carbs. This food will help prevent that gross, sluggish feeling that most people get from heavy, unhealthy food.
These recipes will work if you are gluten free, dairy free, or just want to watch your waistline this holiday. I hope you enjoy!
1. Gluten-free stuffing: Gluten-Free Living provides more than one way to make stuffing without using bread, specifically the recipe for Julian Bakery Paleo Bread Stuffing and Rudi’s Gluten Free Stuffing. These tasty recipes offer you alternatives to boxed stuffing, as well as take out the wheat content that stuffing is usually based around.
2. Turkey brine: The Pioneer Woman provides a great recipe for brining Turkey. This recipe stuck out to me as a healthy option because instead of buying a frozen turkey and using some store-bought mix of spices and seasonings that contain ingredients that no one ever reads and chemicals that no one can pronounce, you do the entire process yourself with whatever healthy ingredients you want to use – aside from the necessary salt. Ree, the author of this blog, makes her own suggestions of spices to use, but there is a lot of freedom in this recipe.
3. Corn bread: Gluten-Free on a Shoestring has an excellent recipe for corn bread. Being gluten free myself, I know that a lot of us who go without eating wheat really miss indulging in bread, especially around the holidays. This recipe allows for us to feel as though we’re cheating by eating bread, but without actually cheating or upsetting our stomachs. This recipe requires very few ingredients and is really easy. Although, if you’re strict about not ingesting dairy products at all, you should realize that there is yogurt involved.
4. Fall salad: I found a salad from 80twenty with sweet potato, arugula, and pomegranate that looks pretty sweet (pun intended). I love this recipe because it brings together one of the staples of Thanksgiving (sweet potatoes) with fruit (pomegranate) in the form of a more seasonal, festive salad. It’s healthier, both in its variety of fruit and vegetables, but also in the fact that it isn’t a prepackaged spring mix. There is also a recipe for a dressing to go with the salad that uses simple ingredients – but note here that cheese is suggested. All in all, the more actual salads that your Thanksgiving dinner includes, the better it is for everyone – take a pass on those pasta “salads.”
5. Mashed no-tatoes: What’s better than mashed potatoes? The answer is mashed cauliflower. With this recipe, there’s no more worrying about the sour cream or milk content, AND you’re replacing starchy potatoes with a low-glycemic vegetable!. This is one of my favorite alternatives because it’s so similar in consistency to what it’s replacing that some people can’t even tell the difference. Plus, the recipe is so simple!
6. Herb gravy: This recipe is another one from Elana’s Pantry and goes well with the mashed cauliflower – it’s delicious herb gravy. Again, the ingredients are flavorful, simple, and don’t include flour or milk, making this gravy safe and nutritious for everyone to enjoy.
7. Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies: I had to include some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. It’s hard enough to find good non-wheat chocolate chip cookies for the holidays, but one that includes pumpkin is really special. Pumpkin is a vegetable, right? That makes it healthier, not to mention that it continues the theme here of avoiding gluten and dairy to help your body process this treat easier.
8. Pumpkin pie: This one is a gluten free version of pumpkin pie. I know my fellow healthy eaters are sick of passing up pie during a meal that is basically built to lead up to this particular dish. Here’s a recipe that includes a crust everyone can enjoy shamelessly.
9. Sweet potato biscuits: If cornbread wasn’t enough of a carby substitute for you, here’s a biscuit recipe from VegWeb that allows you to indulge even further. It isn’t specifically gluten free, but it simply tells you to add one cup of flour, giving you the option to experiment with the gluten-free flour of your choice (rice, coconut, almond) to produce the biscuit that you love. There are no dairy ingredients either, so that’s a bonus.
10. Turkey soup: Here’s a healthy alternative to the messy turkey sandwiches that everyone ends up throwing together on their way to work the week after Thanksgiving. Why not throw the turkey into a soup? Use more vegetables and fewer carbs to better cater to everyone’s dietary desires.
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