Wellness Wednesday: How to have a healthier Thanksgiving

Posted at 4:48 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 18:49:29-05

SALT LAKE CITY - Thanksgiving usually includes all of our favorite comfort foods and desserts. Although the holidays can be very exciting and joyous times, they can also be filled with busy schedules and stress. We see treats, sweets, and special foods and drinks around every corner. Becky Cannon, a registered dietitian at Intermountain Park City Hospital, says the key to navigating the holiday season of social events, parties, and Thanksgiving is to “plan ahead” to make sure you maintain your healthy eating habits.

Here are a few other tips:
• Don’t arrive overly hungry! Have a small protein snack before. This will help take the edge off and can prevent you from overeating.
• Bring your own healthy dish to the party like vegetables and hummus as an appetizer or a green leafy salad. Now you know there will be a healthy option and I’m sure others will be grateful as well!
• Consider healthier substitutions in your favorite Thanksgiving dishes by using vegetables as the base of your recipes. This can help you reduce the amount of sugar, fat, and carbohydrates!
• Avoid keeping your favorite holiday treats around the house, you will be more likely to eat them consistently if they are steps away, however, give yourself permission to eat treats intuitively and in small portions at parties.

Try swapping out your traditional (and calorie laden) Thanksgiving sides with healthier options. Here are some delicious (and healthy) Thanksgiving recipes with to try this season, courtesy of Intermountain Healthcare:

Low Carb Thanksgiving Stuffing

Yield: 8 servings
Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 171
Fat: 10 grams
Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
Carbs: 17 grams
Fiber: 3.7 grams
Protein: 4.7 grams

· 1 large head Cauliflower (cut into small florets)
· 1 large Onion (sliced)
· 2 cups cubed sour dough bread
· ½ - 1 cup vegetable stock
· 1/4 cup Celery (chopped thinly)
· 2 cloves Garlic (minced)
· 1/4 cup Olive oil (can also use butter or ghee)
· 1/2 tsp Poultry seasoning
· 1/2 tsp Dried thyme
· 1/2 tsp Ground sage
· 1 tsp Sea salt (or less if your poultry seasoning contains salt)
· 1/4 tsp Black pepper
· 2 tbsp Fresh parsley (chopped)
· 1/4 cup Pecans (chopped)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or line with foil and grease well.
2. In a large bowl, stir together the chopped cauliflower, onions, cubed sour dough bread, celery, and garlic. Toss with olive oil, vegetable broth, poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, sea salt, and black pepper.
3. Spread the mixture in a single layer on the lined baking sheet. (You may need two sheets depending on the size. You want as many of the cauliflower florets and onions in contact with the pan as possible.) Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes until the onions are soft and cauliflower is starting to brown)
4. Add the fresh parsley and pecans to the pan, and stir everything together.
Roast for 10-15 more minutes, until the pecans are lightly toasted, cauliflower is
well browned, and onions are starting to caramelize.

Cauliflower Buffalo Wings

Yield: ~4 cups
Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 153
Fat: 4 grams
Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
Carbs: 23 grams
Fiber: 4 grams
Protein: 6 grams

· 1 head of cauliflower
· 1 tbsp. olive oil
· ½ cup milk or almond milk
· ½ cup flour
· 1 tsp garlic salt
· 1/3 cup and 1 Tbsp. buffalo sauce

1. Pre-heat oven to 450˚F.
2. Prepare the head of cauliflower by cutting in half and then breaking into bite-sized florets from each half. Trim bottoms of florets if needed.
3. In a medium bowl, mix the batter flour, garlic salt, milk and 1 tbsp of hot sauce.
4. Add cauliflower to the batter and stir until all florets are fully coated.
5. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the coated cauliflower florets on the baking sheet, then lightly drizzle with olive oil.
6. Bake the cauliflower for 20 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and toss with the remaining buffalo sauce.
8. Place the cauliflower back into the oven and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until browned to your individual taste.

Broccoli Tots

Yield: 30 tots
Serving Size: 10 tots

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 192
Fat: 6 grams
Saturated fat: 3 grams
Carbs: 10 grams
Fiber: 2 grams
Protein: 7 grams

· 1 head of broccoli
· ¼ cup scallions, chopped
· 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
· 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
· 1 egg, beaten
· 2/3 cup bread crumbs
· Salt, to taste
· Pepper, to taste
· 2 teaspoons of hot sauce, optional

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Boil water in a medium pot and season with some salt. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water for about two minutes.
3. Drain the broccoli and then chop into fine pieces, you could also use a food processor to slightly pulse it to get the chopped texture.
4. In a mixing bowl, add broccoli, scallions, garlic, cheddar, egg, and bread crumbs. Optional: Add hot sauce of choice. Mix well and chill in the refrigerator for 15–20 minutes.
5. Spray a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray. Shape the mixture into tot shapes and spread them evenly on the sheet.
6. Bake for 8–9 minutes. Flip and then bake for an additional 8–9 minutes on the other side until golden brown.

Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Yield: ~4 cups
Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 110
Fat: 5.8 grams
Saturated fat: 1.5 grams
Carbs: 10 grams
Fiber: 5 grams
Protein: 8 grams

· 1 head of cauliflower
· 1 tbsp. olive oil
· ¼ cup skim milk or almond milk
· ¼ cup chicken or vegetable stock
· ½ tsp kosher salt
· ¼ tsp ground pepper
· 3-4 garlic cloves
· ¼ cup Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast

1. Steam the cauliflower and garlic in a stock pock with steamer attachment.
2. Steam cauliflower until it is soft when poked with a fork, about 6-8 minutes. (Tip: Let the cauliflower cool a bit after it’s done steaming. That way it can dry out a little but and it can help make it easier to get a nice texture for the “mashed potatoes.”
3. Add the steamed cauliflower, garlic, olive oil, Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, salt and pepper to a food processor.
4. Pulse the food processor until all ingredients are mostly smooth. Avoid over processing, you will want some texture here, but not a lot. You may need to scrape the sides of the blender or to move around the cauliflower to make sure it all gets mashed.
5. Add the milk or almond milk, tbsp. by tbsp., as needed to bring the mixture together and to achieve desired consistency. Try not to use too much as this will cause the
mixture to get soupy. You want to keep it as thick as possible
(like mashed potatoes).
6. Serve hot. Garnish with fresh chives or whatever you like on your mashed potatoes.

Mushroom Sage Gravy

Yield: 6 serving
Serving Size: 1/3 cup

Nutrition Facts
Calories: 67
Fat: 4.5 grams
Saturated fat: 0.5 grams
Carbs: 6 grams
Fiber: 0.6 grams
Protein: 0.6 grams

· 1 tbsp. shallots, chopped
· 1 cup mushrooms (button or cremini,) chopped
· 2 garlic cloves, minced
· 2 cups vegetable broth
· ¼ tsp Mrs. Dash seasoning
· 2-3 Tbsp corn starch or flour
· ¼ tsp kosher salt
· 1 tsp fresh sage
· 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil

1. Sauté garlic for 1-2 minutes in olive oil or just until soft and fragrant in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to sauté until they are soft, dark, and all of the moisture they release has evaporated (5 minutes).
2. Make sure that all of the moisture released by the mushrooms has evaporated and just the oil and mushrooms remain in the pan. Turn the heat down to medium-low, add the corn starch or flour, and continue to sauté. The corn starch or flour will form a paste like mixture all over the mushrooms and eventually begin to coat the bottom of the skillet. Continue to sauté for 3-4 minutes, or just until the corn starch or flour begins to turn golden brown on the bottom of the skillet. This will slightly toast the corn starch and give the gravy better flavor.
3. Slowly whisk in the vegetable broth and make sure that all of the corn starch or flour has dissolved skillet and no lumps remain. Add the sprigs of thyme, sage, and some freshly cracked pepper. Stir to combine.
4. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer. The gravy will begin to thicken as soon as
it simmers. Allow the gravy to simmer for 7-10 minutes, whisking often, until it
is the desired thickness. Remember that the gravy will continue to thicken as it cools.
5. Taste the gravy and adjust salt and pepper to your liking.