I’m getting a lot of requests for healthy Thanksgiving recipes. There are so many healthy ingredients related to this holiday that get me excited: pumpkin, sweet potatoes, apples, cranberries, greens, herbs, turkey and spices. I tend to think of Thanksgiving as an exception in that it’s ok to make some recipes you don’t make the rest of the year. But I also like to incorporate as many healthy ingredients as possible.
Thanksgiving is so nostalgic for me and the enjoyment comes from making our family recipes. So if you were to come to my Thanksgiving dinner you would enjoy my family Thanksgiving turkey recipe (I created this recipe in grad school for a food development project. It’s great and happy to share it if you’d like a new recipe.), perhaps my mom’s homemade cranberry sauce, my mother in law’s squash casserole, last year I made homemade herb biscuits with white flour and butter (gasp), and I also make a homemade apple pie. None of these things are particularly low-calorie but I do try to highlight the health promoting qualities. I love using fresh herbs and spices in my dishes for the flavor instead of a lot of butter. Herb biscuits and herbs in my turkey give a lot of flavor. If I make sweet potatoes I don’t load them with candied nuts or marshmallows as a little can go a long way with this already sweet veggie.
Below is a recipe that I don’t necessarily make for Thanksgiving but I always make it in the fall. Applesauce is so easy to make, makes the house smell wonderful, and is a healthy dessert or snack option. Try this healthy recipe to get you into the holiday spirit and still allows you to get into your pants. =)
3 lbs Macintosh apples, cored and halved (Look for apples with a vibrant red color)
2 tbsp lemon juice
1-2 sticks of cinnamon, depending on your taste or 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp brown sugar (optional)
- Combine apples and lemon in a medium to large sauce pan. Break cinnamon sticks in half and add to the apples.
- Cover pot and cook over low heat until apples become soft and sauce-like (about 45-60 minutes).
- Add brown sugar to sweeten, if necessary.
- Using tongs or a fork remove the apple skins from the applesauce. Press skins through a fine-wire, mesh colander to remove additional sauce. Discard skins.
- Serve warm for a great dessert or keep in fridge for up to one week.
Makes 2 ½ cups