A menu for a healthier Thanksgiving has more vegetables, a whole whole grain, and less sugar.I did something I never do, I calculated the calories, and macronutrients of the Thanksgiving meal I’m serving at my house on Thursday. It may surprise you, but while I perform nutrient analysis for my clients and on individual recipes, it’s rare that I calculate or track full meals of my own. So why now? I did this to back up my claim that this is a healthier meal. I took one serving of the above foods for calculations. Here are those serving sizes: 4 oz. roast turkey; 2 cups tossed salad with 2 tablespoons vinaigrette, 1/2 cup lower sugar sweet potato casserole; 2/3 cup wild rice stuffing; 1 cup green beans; 2 tablespoons fresh cranberry sauce, 1 baked apple.
That said, here ‘s the break down (insert drum roll): 927 calories, 118 grams carbohydrate, 36 grams of protein and 38 grams of fat. Whew, that sounds like a lot, right? Well, consider this: the Calorie Control Council estimates Americans consume upwards of 2000 to 3000 calories at their Thanksgiving celebrations. Now, my 927 calorie meal is looking much slimmer!
A delicious twist on traditional cranberry sauce, this cranberry salsa makes a great dip for chips or topping on chicken fajitas.
Disclosure: I am a member of the Cranberry Bog Blogger Team. I received fresh cranberries mentioned in this post. I was not compensated for writing this post. Opinions are my own.
I eat seasonally, and right now I’m all about cranberries! While Coastal North Carolina is home to NO cranberry bogs, the North East provides an abundance of these gems to markets all around the country from September through the holiday season. I love using ’em to change up my meals with a fun, seasonal twist. For example, the chicken fajitas I make all summer long are served with a tomato salsa. Now that it’s fall, I serve the same chicken fajitas but with a sweet and spicy cranberry sauce. Who knew cranberries would make such an amazing salsa? This rocked at my dinner party several weeks ago. I’ve made it twice since then; it’s that good!
The recipe is below. It’s made with a tad less sugar than traditional cranberry sauce (one teaspoon less per serving). This may not sound like much of a savings, but if you reduce the sugar in foods throughout the day, it adds up! I don’t know about you, but I find it challenging staying within the American Heart Associations recommendations of 6 teaspoons of sugar daily for women. (I typically use sugar in coffee, leaving little to none left for the sugar in some of my favorite foods like sweet potato casserole, pumpkin bread, and cranberry nut bread.) If I can reduce the sugar in some of my favorite foods without negatively affecting the taste, I’m all in!
Enjoy cranberry season in a new and different way with cranberry salsa.
Your Thanksgiving guests will never know this sweet potato casserole is made with less sugar than the traditional version and is made a day ahead.
Hello fall! I’ve I’ve never been more ready. For the past four weekends, I’ve been busy cleaning up after Florence. But not this past weekend; I took a well deserved break to embrace the season. It was like a breath of fresh air sprucing up my hurricane beaten yard with some seasonal items including crotons in my window box, a bright cheerful mum on the back porch and a large pumpkin in front of the garage. Now that the outside of my home is welcoming fall, I’m ready to test drive some Thanksgiving sides!
So this past weekend, I did a dry run of my holiday meal. I was mostly experimenting with side dishes, hoping to find two that are a bit healthier than the traditional fare without compromising taste, and are also a good fit for the category ‘make ahead’. I don’t know about you, but thinking about pulling together the bounteous Thanksgiving meal is daunting! There are so many items that need at spot in the oven. How will you schedule oven time? How about serving; do you have enough serving utensils? Is there room for everyone around the table? What chair can be pulled up? And the list of concerns goes on…
Planning the menu well in advance, and organizing everything right down to the serving dishes and utensils can reduce the stress you’re feeling leading up to the BIG day and guarantee an enjoyable feast for everyone, including you!
Today I’m sharing one of the dishes that has meet my two criterion and will certainly make the cut for my Thanksgiving spread, lower sugar sweet potato casserole.
Criterion one: healthier. This casserole is low fat, low cholesterol, and has 5 teaspoons less sugar than the traditional version. Why less sugar? I was born with a sweet tooth, and have found that the more sugar I use, the more I crave. Sadly, as I have aged, my calorie needs have declined, although my nutrient requirements remain relatively the same. Cutting back on sweets and learning how to reduce some of the sugar in my favorite foods allows me to eat what I love , with less calories. It’s one of the key ways I’ve be able to maintain a healthy weight, along with daily exercie. Note: I have realized that I don’t need foods to be overly sweet to be enjoyable; less sugar doesn’t mean less taste! Case in point, this sweet potato casserole with 5 teaspoons less sugar than traditional version. It’s just as delicious, and how beautiful are those fall colors?!!!
Criterion two: make ahead. If you are looking to reduce the stress associated with preparing the meal, you’ll especially like the convenience of this dish. It’s easy to refrigerate overnight before adding the toppping and baking it off on the next day. If you feel more comfortable prepping it fully the day before, you can simply pull it out of the refrigerator on Thansgiving and reheat in the microwave oven minutes before serving time. I think you’ll be happy with it either way; do what works best for you . Give this Lower Sugar Sweet Potato Casserole a try for a healthier holiday, both body and mind.
Less sugar than traditional versions, this sweet potato casserole can also be made ahed of time!
Prep Time:20 minutes
Cook Time:2 hours
Total Time:2 hours 20 minutes
• 3 pounds sweet potatoes
• 4 ounces skim evaporated milk
• 2 tablespoons margarine
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• 1.5 teaspoons salt
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• 2 large eggs, separated
• cooking spray
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans
• 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
• 2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Wrap potatoes individually in foil and roast in oven for 60 to 75 minutes or until very tender.
Set aside until cool. Peel potataoes , discarding skin. Place potatoes in a large bowl and mash until smooth. Stir in milk, vanilla, salt, pepper, and egg yolks. Spread mixture evenly in a 2 quart glass ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Whisk egg whites in a medium bowl until frothy. Stir in pecans, oats, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over sweet potato mixture. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 to 50 minutes or until top is toasted and edges are bubbling.
If you want to make ahead, prepare casserole through step two and refrigerate over night. Procede to step three to finish.