Thanksgiving Dinner: Healthy Side Dishes

Amie

The turkey table can be a real challenge if you are watching your waistline. This harvest feast ranks in unnecessary calories through mindless snacking and miscellaneous extras. By simply cutting back and replacing traditional calorie-laden foods with healthy substitutes, you can enjoy your turkey and fixings guilt free. With a little pre-planning and commitment to moderation, Thanksgiving doesn’t have to sabotage your healthy lifestyle. Here are a few of my tips for staying fit and healthy without depriving yourself.

Recipes:

Roasted Root Veggies

Ingredients:

4 Large onions
5 Large parsnips
5 Large carrots
2 Large zucchini
1 Medium butternut squash
2 Pink Lady apples
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 Tsp. star anise
1/2 Tsp. cinnamon
1 Tsp. dried rosemary, crushed
Dash of sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. Chop onions, parsnips, carrots, zucchini, butternut squash, and apples into 1″ thick chunks.

3. Transfer chopped vegetables and apples into a large roasting pan; drizzle with olive oil, add rosemary, cinnamon, star anise, balsamic vinegar, sea salt, and pepper; gently toss to ensure even coating.

4. Bake for one hour or until onions are translucent and all vegetables and apples are tender.

Mushroom Macadamia Nut Stuffing

Ingredients:

1 Lb. macadamia nuts
3 Tbsp. olive oil
3 Tbsp. vegetable broth
3 Cups onions, chopped
2 Cups leeks, chopped
2 Cups baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
5 Slices whole grain bread, sliced into crouton-size pieces and toasted
1/2 Cup dried cranberries
1/2 Cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds
1/2 Tsp. coriander

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. On a baking sheet, bake macadamia nuts and sesame seeds for 10 minutes, or until toasted and fragrant.

3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat oil and vegetable broth until hot. Add onions and let cook for 7-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Slowly add leeks and mushrooms.

4. In a large mixing bowl, combine macadamia nuts, coriander, sunflower seeds, mushroom mixture, cranberries, raisins, and toasted bread cubes.

5. Stuff stuffing into the turkey or transfer to a casserole dish. If using as a turkey stuffing, bake according to turkey directions. If using as a casserole, bake for 30 minutes or until browned and completely cooked.

Pumpkin Orange Bread Pudding

Ingredients:

12 Slices stale bread, crust removed and cut on the diagonal
2 Tbsp. freshly grated orange zest
1/3 Cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/3 Cup canned pumpkin
3 Cups milk
5 Eggs
1/2 Cup sugar
2 Tsp. honey
1/4 Tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. butter, melted and cooled
2 Tsp. ground flax seeds
1/4 Tsp. cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. all spice

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Create three layers of bread in an 8 x 8 baking pan sprayed with baking spray.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk orange zest, juice, ground flax seeds, pumpkin, honey, milk, sugar, butter, eggs, butter, cinnamon, all spice and salt; mix well. Pour over the bread layers and let sit for 45 minutes.

4. Bake for 1 hour or until top is browned and edges and middle are set.

5. Serve warm.

Amie Valpone, HHP, AADP is a culinary nutritionist and author of The Healthy Apple, thehealthyapple.com.

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