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Posted by on Nov 18, 2011 in Families, Food, Nutrition | 3 comments

Eat This, Not That for Thanksgiving

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Keep Thanksgiving clean this year by preparing your own dishes from start to finish. Without the help of canned goods, refrigerated pie crusts and rolls that pop out of a cylinder, pulling together a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving dinner – without breaking the bank – is a lot easier to do that you might think. With a little help from a few of my favorite food blogs, here are five simple recipes that are a healthy alternative to their processed counterparts.

Eat this:
Mandarin Cranberry Relish. The best part about this recipe is there is NO COOKING INVOLVED. All you need is a food processor and a few basic ingredients that can be found in any store.

Not that:
Canned Cranberry Jelly or Relish. If it’s store bought, chances are it’s packed with fake sugar, comes from a BPA-lined can and doesn’t contain any nutrition. Who needs that?


Eat this:
Sweet Potato, Bacon and Pomegranate Salad.  This is a beautiful recipe that really brings out everything that tastes great about fall foods. It’s sweet, savory and loaded with nutrients.

Not that:
Seven Layer Salad. The kiss of death on this salad is always the mayo. Unless you make your own, it’s loaded with junk…too much junk to even list. One serving of this too-creamy salad typically contains enough soybean oil to choke a horse.  No, I don’t think soybean oil is food that I would consider even remotely healthy.


Eat this:
Dinner Rolls Baked  in a Jar.  This is not only a healthy and clean version of store-bought rolls, but it’s a table decoration as well. I love the whole concept behind this recipe. It’s so simple and adds such a cute touch to any place setting.

Not that:
Store-bought dinner rolls. If they’re refrigerated in a can that pops open, they probably contain trans fats. If they’re sitting on a shelf in a bag, they probably contain oodles of stabilizers and plenty of high fructose corn syrup. Blech!


Eat this:
Green Bean Casserole with Crispy Shallots. I love green bean casserole, and I love it even more when the base of the recipe doesn’t come from a can. This version of The Food Network’s Green Bean Casserole with cripsy shallots is a hit! With the exception of a few fresh ingredients, you’ve probably got everything you need in your pantry right now.

Not that:
Green Bean Casserole from a can. If memory serves me right, the green bean casseroles I ate back in the day were a conglomeration of cans, including canned green beans (packed with plenty of sodium), canned cream of mushroom soup (l-o-a-d-e-d with MSG) and canned French friend onions (it’s fried, then canned and that just can’t be good).


Eat this:
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cheesecake. If you don’t tolerate gluten, but enjoy cheesecake, you’ll like this. If you’re turned off by the mention of “gluten-free,” don’t be. The recipe calls for gluten-free graham crackers, but you can always substitute regular graham crackers instead. Regardless, this is a really yummy dessert that certainly falls under the “decadent” category.

Not that: 
Store-bought pumpkin pie or store-bought cheesecake. Pies are tricky. I love pumpkin pie, but I was never really wild about the crust. It seem like peoEven the homemade pies I’ve eaten have almost always had store-bought crust that somehow sent the pie into a diet “dark zone.”

Thanks to NourishedKitchen, Nancy Newcomer, Family Fresh Cooking, Cooking Healthy Foods and Simple Bites.

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  1. Such a wonderful idea for a Thanksgiving post. Love the round up. Thanks for including my salad! Will stumble now :)

    • Thanks, Marla! A much-deserved plug for a great blog. You’ve done some really great work!

  2. I love your collection of suggestions for a healthier Thanksgiving. It really is possible to have a fantastic feast with fresh, real food ingredients. Another favorite of mine for the holiday is my Persimmon/Pomegranate salad-I think you’ll like it! Here ya go:
    Thank you for posting my g-free cheesecake recipe–it’s really good and a BIG treat :)
    With Gratitude,
    Nancy Newcomer,
    Founder, Back to the Kitchen: Healthy Living with Real Food

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