Alyssa Koens, Profile's Nutritionist in Chief, gets you ready for Thanksgiving with some nutritional wisdom and delicious recipes to boot!
Here’s some food for thought: the average amount of calories consumed on Thanksgiving Day is around 3,000-5,000 calories! Eeek! While food usually hogs the spotlight during the holidays, it doesn’t have to overshadow your goals for good health. Knowing which foods you should be eating more of, and those you should enjoy just a few bites of, will help make your Thanksgiving Day a little healthier.
Typically, our Thanksgiving plate looks like this: stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, fried turkey, pumpkin pie, maybe a couple glasses of wine (not to mention the possibility of seconds, and thirds). All these foods are high in carbs, sugar, sodium and fat. Meanwhile, there’s hardly any fiber and the meal is low in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. After eating this type of plate, we are usually bloated, tired, and all around feeling sluggish.
How to Enjoy Your Thanksgiving While Sticking to Your Nutritional Plan
One easy way to redo your Thanksgiving plate, and still enjoy some of your favorites is to start with greens and veggies and treat your plate like a pie chart.
- First, fill half your plate with vegetables, such as green beans, salad and brussels sprouts.
- Next, pile one-quarter up with turkey breast (or whichever lean protein you are serving)
- Leave the remaining one-quarter for your other favorite sides.
The total calories won’t be low, but it’s much more reasonable and you won’t feel like you’ve undone any progress. With the focus on vegetables, your plate will be much higher in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber. If you go for seconds, trying to stick with veggies is a smart idea.
I know you’re probably going to eat more on Thanksgiving than you would on most Thursdays. And, I understand! It’s a holiday filled with food, family, friends, and football. But remember that one day isn’t going to undo all the amazing work you’ve done so far to get here. Enjoy your day and remember what the holidays are all about!
Try these dietitian-approved, wellness program and Profile-friendly recipes for your Thanksgiving meal this year!
BALSAMIC BRUSSEL SPROUTS
- ½ cup Profile Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1½ lbs. brussels sprouts ends trimmed, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- 4 tsp olive oil
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil
- Trim off the outer, dry leaves, cut the bottom off and slice sprouts lengthwise
- In a large bowl, toss brussels sprouts with 4 tsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper to coat thoroughly.
- Transfer the brussels sprouts to baking sheet and roast until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes.
- Place brussels sprouts back in bowl. Add Profile Balsamic Vinaigrette and toss to coat evenly.
- 4 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- ½ tsp. raw honey
- 1 dash salt
- 1 medium head cabbage finely shredded (about 5 cups)
- 2 medium carrots finely shredded
- ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
- ¼ cup chopped raw walnuts
- 2 green onions sliced thin
- 12 fresh cilantro sprigs finely chopped
- Combine oil, vinegar, honey, and salt in a small bowl; whisk to blend. Set aside.
- Combine cabbage, carrots, pomegranate, walnuts, green onions, and cilantro in a large bowl; mix well.
- Drizzle cabbage mixture with dressing; toss gently to blend.
Sweet Potato Casserole
- 4-6 large sweet potatoes peeled and cut into ¾- inch cubes
- 1 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch salt
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar optional
- 4 large egg whites lightly beaten
- ¾ cup chopped pecans
- ½ cup mini marshmallows
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Spray a 2.5-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray.
- Put the sweet potatoes in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them.
- Bring to a boil over high heat.
- Reduce to a simmer and cook until fork-tender, about 5-7 minutes.
- In large bowl, use a blender to mash the sweet potatoes.
- Add the yogurt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
- Continue blending the potato mixture.
- Add brown sugar if desired.
- Add the eggs and blend them in.
- Transfer the mixture to the casserole dish.
- Bake for 30 minutes.
- Top evenly with the pecans and marshmallows and continue to bake until marshmallows are puffed and lightly browned, about 10-15 more minutes.
Cauliflower Rice Stuffing
- 1 medium heads of cauliflower
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 small yellow onion diced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 3 stalks celery sliced thinly
- 1 cup mushrooms sliced
- ½-1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning or no-salt added seasoning of choice
- 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until “rice” consistency is reached.
- Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add onions, garlic and celery and sauté for 5 minutes.
- Add cauliflower and cook for about 10 minute, or until fully cooked.
- Add mushrooms and continue cooking until they’ve begun to sweat, about 5 minutes.
- Top with spices and vinegar and cook for 1 minute.
- Serve alongside turkey.
- 1, 10-12 lb. fresh turkey neck & giblets removed
- 1 medium white onion sliced into quarters
- 2 celery stalks sliced into 2″ pieces
- 1 Tbsp. garlic powder
- 1 Tbsp. onion powder
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. poultry seasoning
- If frozen, thaw turkey in the fridge for 24 hours.
- Remove and discard the neck and tail portion of the turkey.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Rinse the turkey inside and out with cold water.
- Place turkey breast side up on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
- If using a roasting bag, place a bit of flour in bag, give it a quick shake, add the turkey to the bag and place in a shallow roasting pan.
- Combine seasonings and rub all over the turkey (outside and inside cavity) while in roasting bag or in roasting pan.
- Next, place the onion and celery into cavity of the turkey.
- If using a roasting bag, seal it and cut small air slits into the bag.
- Roast turkey according to directions on roasting bag.
- If not using a bag, roast turkey at 325 degrees for approximately 3 ½ hours.
- If turkey browns too quickly, cover with a foil tent.
- The turkey is done when a thermometer inserted into the breast reads 165 degrees and 180 degrees when inserted in the thigh.
Healthier Pumpkin Pie
- 1/2 of a prepared pie crust easy roll in refrigerator section of grocery store
- Zero calorie sugar substitute equal 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp Iodized table salt
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 cup egg substitute
- 1 15 oz can of 100 percent pure pumpkin
- 1 12 oz can of fat-free evaporated milk
- 1 cup of fat-free frozen whipped topping thawed
- Vegetable Oil Spray
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
- Lightly spray a 9″ pie tin with vegetable oil spray and set aside.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll 1/2 of one roll of prepared pie dough thin enough to fit a 9″ pie plate.
- Press dough into the edges of plate and create a fluted edge over rim of pie plate.
- Prick the dough all over with a fork and set aside.
- In a small bowl, mix together sugar substitute, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves.
- In a larger bowl combine egg substitute, sugar mixture, and pumpkin; stir to combine.
- Pour in fat-free evaporated milk; stir until well blended.
- Pour mixture into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees; bake until filling is set, 20 to 30 minutes.
- Pie is done when knife inserted into the center of pie comes out clean.
- Transfer pie to a wire rack and cool for at least 2 hours. Store pie in refrigerator until ready to serve.
- May serve with 2 T. of fat-free whipped topping!