Thanksgiving Dinner: Some Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes You Must Try Out This Year

Thanksgiving Dinner
Credit: David Becker / Stringer / Getty

Thanksgiving dinner is upon us. Your Thanksgiving dishes likely include lots of the favorites. For instance, you probably have a Thanksgiving turkey ready to go, along with mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and stuffing. You can also choose to make some healthy recipes for the big dinner.

Weight gain is also a problem many Americans on Thanksgiving. They will gain an average of six pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. How do you prevent holiday weight gain? Try a few of these healthy eating tips below:

#1 Start your day with a healthy breakfast
#2 Start dinner with small portions
#3 Eat slowly to savor the flavor
#4 Stop when you feel full

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You could also provide your guests with healthy alternatives to the high-calorie dishes. There are healthy side dishes you can try, and even combine them with a healthy Thanksgiving main course. The following healthy Thanksgiving dishes will ensure that weight gain isn’t a problem this holiday season.

Cauliflower Millet Mash

Cauliflower millet mash makes for a great comfort food that is perfect for the holidays. It is also an easy potato replacement that is gluten free, too! Try this easy-to-follow recipe once, and I’m sure it will be a regular staple for every Thanksgiving meal.

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups of water
1 cup of millet, and soaked two hours if time permits, then rinsed
1 chopped garlic clove
1 head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil or ghee
Celtic sea salt
Flat-leaf parsley to garnish

Directions:
In a medium pot, combine the water with millet and garlic. Cover, bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. After 10 minutes, place the cauliflower on top of the millet, and cover pot again. Don’t stir the pot as the steam from the millet will cook the cauliflower. Simmer for another 20 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, and add the oil.

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Mash everything with a potato masher for a chunky texture, or transfer to a food processor or a high-powered blender for a smoother texture.

Add Celtic sea salt to taste, and serve hot with parsley as a garnish.

Homemade Vegan Gravy

There is actually a gravy recipe that is clean that you can make yourself. It is also perfect for the recipes in this article. Take a look at this gravy recipe below.

Ingredients:

1 cup of water
3 tbsp. of nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. of tahini
2 tbsp. of balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. of tamari or coconut aminos
1 tbsp. of blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp. of honey or maple syrup
1 tsp. of grounded mustard seeds
1 garlic clove
2 tbsp. of arrowroot starch, if needed to thicken

Directions:

Place all ingredients except for the arrowroot starch, in a blender or food processor, and blend until smooth.

Transfer to a small pot, and bring it to a simmer and stir occasionally. Don’t let it boil, or there will be a thick and sticky mess at the bottom of the pot. Continue to simmer and stir until you get your desired thickness, and add some arrowroot starch if you need some more thickness.

If you don’t have a strong blender and want it even smoother, try running it through a food processor after the gravy has thickened.

The Not a Shepherd’s Pie Recipe

Everyone loves a shepherd’s pie with beef. This recipe is a little different. There is no beef, and it combines the other recipes from this article, too. You’ll be completely surprise to know that it is vegan. But, that fact won’t matter when you’re enjoying every bite of it. Check out the recipe below.

Ingredients:

2 tbsp. of olive oil, coconut oil, or ghee
1 chopped red onion
3 minced garlic cloves
4 medium coarsely chopped carrots
4 coarsely chopped celery stalks
1 coarsely chopped sweet potato
1 cup of organic peas, fresh or frozen
2 cups of shiitake mushrooms, or a mushroom of choice
1 15 oz. can of organic adzuki beans, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp. of dried thyme
1 tbsp. of dried oregano
1 tsp. of ground turmeric
1 tsp. of Celtic sea salt
Pinch of cayenne
1/4 cup of almond flour or brown rice flour
Cauliflower Millet Mash
Homemade Vegan Gravy

Directions:

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat and add the garlic and onion, and sauté until aromatic and the onion is slightly translucent. Add the peas, sweet potato, carrots, celery, and water, and let simmer, uncovered for eight minutes.

Add the beans, mushrooms, and all the seasonings, and simmer uncovered for another 10 minutes. Add the flour to thicken.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and fill a 12 x 9-inch baking dish with the pie filling and flatten it with a spatula, and spread the cauliflower mash on top. Bake for 40 minutes until there is bubbling, and it is lightly browned. Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before serving hot. Add the vegan gravy when you serve.


Sources:
Telpner, M., The UnDiet Cookbook (China: Random House LLC, 2015), 147, 167, 209.
“Healthy Thanksgiving: Mindful Eating,” Fox 8 website, Nov. 22, 2016; http://myfox8.com/2016/11/21/healthy-thanksgiving-mindful-eating/.