Easy Thanksgiving Recipes + How To Keep Your Sanity

Photo by Maya23K/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by Maya23K/iStock / Getty Images

The holidays are such a great time to gather with friends and family but it can also be overwhelming if you are trying to maintain or lose weight.  This can also be a stressful time if your family drives you crazy...which may cause you to eat/drink more but that's really an entire other discussion...eeek! 

I want to help you maintain your sanity around food and most importantly enjoy your holidays! Treat Thanksgiving as just another day, another meal.  Not an opportunity to break out your "fat pants" and eat as much as possible.  Also, not a time to freak out about every calorie and carb because that just causes stress and anxiety and who needs more of that?!? 

DO: 

  • Make a gratitude list that includes good things that have happened over the past year and all that you are thankful for. This could be an entire post...maybe next time.
  • Enjoy spending quality time with family and be present.  Put your cellphone away and soak up this time.  Not to be morbid, but our loved ones won't be around forever so do not take this time for granted
  • MORNING of Thanksgiving: drink lots of water (bonus points if you add lemon), have a normal breakfast so you are not starving and try to get in a workout. Maybe you have a "turkey trot" in your town, take a morning class or just do a 30 minute youtube video.  Whatever it is, it will get your metabolism going and help you digest. 
  • Bring food that you know 100% you can eat and feel good about. 
  • Fill HALF your plate with veggies...not ones covered in cream or cheese.

DON'T:

  • Show up to dinner ravenous and ready to eat everything in site. 
  • Fill every inch of your plate with piles of food.  Serve yourself a normal amount, you can always go back for seconds.
  • Forget to drink water.  Water will help you digest and stop you from eating too much.  It will also help prevent a hangover if you've had 1 too many cocktails. 

As mentioned above, its important to bring food that you like, others will like, is delish AND healthy.  Another key factor in anything I make...it must be EASY. Below are a few of my favorites:

Appetizers:  Undeviled or "Angel Eggs" - these are always a hit.  I made them for our housewarming party so see below in my last blog post ;).  Also a colorful Fall salad full of really/whole foods is always a good idea.  I like to mix:

  • Arugula and spinach
  • Roasted butternut squash
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Craisins
  • + nuts
  • a little olive oil and squeeze of lemon for dressing
Truth be told THIS particular salad was made at Whole Foods...but you get the idea. 

Truth be told THIS particular salad was made at Whole Foods...but you get the idea. 

A salad like this will start your meal off right, fill you with nutritious veggies and set you up for success. 

Side dish: I LOVE quinoa for so many reasons but mostly because its nutritious and versatile.  This side is best served warm but could be cold as well. Also delish topped with a little goat cheese.

  • Quinoa cooked according to the box (I use a mix of water and veggie broth)
  • Sweet potatoes OR roasted squash (leftover from the salad maybe??) Roasted with some brown sugar, cinnamon and a dash of salt.
  • Craisins
  • Pecans
  • Corn
  • Sauteed Kale 
  • S&P
The salad and this side may seem similar...that's because they are. I told you I like to keep things simple ;).

The salad and this side may seem similar...that's because they are. I told you I like to keep things simple ;).

DESSERT:  This is especially important to bring if you love sweets.  I suggest you stick to fruits and keep the servings small! Sugar is highly addictive...the more you have it, the more you want it.  I mean...it's Thanksgiving, don't deprive yourself but be smart so you feel like crap after. 

I love a good apple crisp.  I literally use a mix of 5 different recipes but I like this recipe from Minimalist Baker (minimalistbaker.com)

This was my creation but since I'm terrible at measuring see below for a more solid recipe!

This was my creation but since I'm terrible at measuring see below for a more solid recipe!

INGREDIENTS

  • 8 small-medium apples, peeled, cored and chopped (a variety of both sweet and tart - about 6 cups worth)
  • dash lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • TOPPING
  • heaping 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend
  • 1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1/3 cup (little more than 1/2 one stick) non-dairy butter melted, such as Earth Balance

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 9×9 baking dish.
  2. Add apples to a large bowl or plastic bag and sprinkle with lemon juice. Toss to coat with granulated sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. Transfer to baking dish and set aside.
  4. Rinse and dry bowl and add brown sugar, flour, meal, oats, cinnamon and salt and stir. Add melted butter and mix until it resembles wet sand.
  5. Sprinkle topping over the apples and bake until apples are soft and topping is golden brown (between 45 minutes to 1 hour).
  6. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving. Is great with vanilla ice cream - caramel sauce is also a lovely addition.

 

HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!! I'm beyond grateful I get to do what I love everyday and I hope to continue on this path and THRIVE with all of you! 

xoxo

MAF

Meagan Fitzgerald1 Comment