Healthy, Easy + Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes Everyone Will Love
I don’t know about you, but I cannot believe Thanksgiving is already next week!
This is a holiday I’m so excited for, as it’s the first one we get to spend with our baby girl Eloise, and it also involves one of my favorite activities — which isn’t simply just eating — but sharing a meal with the people you love.
I can remember back to a time when this wasn’t always the case, due to a stressful and unhealthy relationship with food. I couldn’t get through a Thanksgiving meal without eating to the point of making myself physically and mentally ill, which always then lead to extreme methods of restriction.
One memory that stands out in particular includes a holiday home from college where I asked my parents to order a Cold Stone Creamery Pumpkin Ice Cream Cake, only to eat almost the entire thing to myself. That was followed immediately by attempting the Master Cleanse, where the only thing I consumed was the most disgusting concoction of water, lemon, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. It was supposed to last for 10 days, I made it through three. I now shudder at the thought.
Unfortunately, I know I’m not alone in this, and it’s actually one of the most common struggles I help clients work through. That “all or nothing” , “black and white”, “good or bad” mentality. Where you’re either “eating perfectly” or have “fallen off the wagon” with thoughts such as “oh well, I’ve already blown it, might as well eat horribly the rest of the weekend and diet starts Monday.” And I get it, and have definitely been there too.
BUT when you can learn to exist in the land of the grey, to create some sort of balance, to focus on progress vs. perfection, and allow yourself to enjoy the things you love (in moderation and without guilt) the real magic happens (aka you can enjoy food without feeling terrible about it afterwards). I’m not going to lie, if this has been an issue or theme in your life for years, it’s going to take a lot of practice, and it won’t just happen overnight.
However I do have a little hack that may help you get started, and that is to upgrade, instead of give up, the foods you love. So that they taste good, but ultimately help you feel good too.
This might look like substituting ingredients you know you don’t digest well (like coconut milk if dairy makes you bloated or almond flour in baked goods if gluten gives you headaches), replacing inflammatory items in store-bought goods or recipes (like a version with olive oil instead of canola oil) or whipping up your own dish with all real, whole ingredients (like a salad dressing without any emulsifiers or artificial sweeteners added).
Bottom Line — The less inflammatory ingredients you consume, and the more whole, nutrient-dense foods you incorporate into your diet regularly, the better you will feel. This doesn’t mean you can’t ever splurge on Cheetos or Pizza Hut (if that’s your thing) but when you balance it out consistently with healthy meals, you’ll be able to bounce back that much more quickly (no Master Cleanse required).
You can apply the same mentality to the holidays, simply by adding some feel good foods into the mix. The meal (or day, or season for that matter) doesn’t have to be an all or nothing gut bomb, but rather a curation of the holiday dishes worth it to you to indulge in, alongside some healthy (and tasty) ones too. And if you need some ideas to get started, just see below.
Here’s to having your pumpkin pie, and eating it too!
HEALTHY, EASY + DELICIOUS THANKSGIVING RECIPES EVERYONE WILL LOVE
This dish is a dead ringer for mashed potatoes, but swaps out the starchy veg for cauliflower, which is rich in phytonutrients that aid the liver in detoxification (something many of us might need a bit of help with this time of year :)). Plus the MLH (meat lovin’ hubby) LOVES this recipe, and mashed potatoes are his fave Thanksgiving dish, so that’s really saying something.
Everything you’d want in a sweet potato dish. Creamy, slightly sweet, with a crunchy, nutty topping that doesn’t contain grains, dairy, or refined sugar.
The perfect starter to any holiday gathering. This recipe is so simple to make, but incredibly flavorful. After eating this on several occasions, the MLH has encouraged me to start my own hummus product line — YES IT’S THAT GOOD.
If the title hasn’t already convinced you yet, let me. Just do it. No regrets.
This soup has been a mega-hit with everyone who’s tried it. A friend even brought it to our Friendsgiving dinner last weekend, and the whole crowd raved.
This version is incredibly rich and creamy, without containing an ounce of dairy! I love substituting traditional arborio rice for brown rice or quinoa, which gives it a chewier, more dense texture and ups the fiber and nutrient factor.
The perfect post-Thanksgiving baked good to enjoy the next morning. Delicious and satisfying without any inflammation-inducing ingredients.
If you’re a mac n cheese lover, it’s hard to find a version that tastes quite as delicious as the real cheesy deal. However I consider this a close second, and it’s enjoyed in this household on a consistent (read — weekly) basis.
Another delicata recipe for the win! This one looks seriously impressive, but isn’t too difficult to make. Plus you don’t even have to peel or chop the squash.
One of the most popular recipes I’ve ever created, and for good reason. Six ingredients, easy to make, beautiful to behold, insanely delicious. Do it.
I couldn’t give you Thanksgiving recipes without including a pumpkin dessert of some sorts! While not my recipe, I can attest to the deliciousness that is basically everything Minimalist Baker creates. If you’re looking for a more traditional pumpkin pie version, try this.