Healthy Thanksgiving Substitutions (No One Will Notice)

If you’re like most people, the stretch of time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day is a free-for-all where you can guiltlessly indulge. But you don’t have to sabotage your waistline for the sake of delicious holiday food. In fact, with some creative cooking and substitutions, you and your guests won’t be able to tell that you’re filling your plates with healthier versions of your favorite dishes. Try these simple swaps when you prepare Thanksgiving dinner to start the holidays on a healthier note.

  • Avocado puree for butter in baked goods: Both foods are high in fat and have similar texture at room temperature, but avocados are much lower in saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. The subtle flavor of the avocado all but disappears when it’s mixed into a dessert like cupcakes. A good rule of thumb is to replace half the butter with the same amount of mashed avocado (leave some butter in there or the end results will be off).
  • Mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes: Cut both calories and carbohydrates with this simple switch. For your potato die-hards, try mixing half potatoes and half cauliflower and don’t tell them—they won’t be able to tell the difference.
  • Black beans for flour: This sounds totally weird, but taking out the flour from baked goods like brownies and using pureed black beans instead is a great way to boost the protein levels. Once beans are mashed, they take on a similar consistency to flour. This is also a great substitute if there are any gluten-free guests or vegans in the room.

Healthy eating on Thanksgiving is also about having the right strategy and healthy mindset. You may want to save up your appetite for the big meal, but eat something light earlier in the day so you don’t go overboard when food finally arrives. Try starting your day with an egg and a jazzed up slice of toast or, if you have time, this quick and easy quinoa breakfast is perfect for a crowd. And when you do sit down for the meal, pick and choose your favorites and really savor each bite—that’s what Thanksgiving is all about.

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Photo credit: Meal Makeover Moms

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  1. I am looking for the receipe to make Scotish Stuffing. I know that one need veal and pork but what else goes into this delicious stuffing. When it is done it looks like a loaf of bread. Please help me. Thank you in advnce.
    Nora Cassidy

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