Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Though it may look a little different this year, you may still be preparing a feast with all of your yummy holiday favorites. Thanksgiving seems to be the official start of the holiday eating season, when the rich gravies and meats take over and the cookies are aplenty! Here are some easy ingredient swaps so you can stay kind to your health this Thanksgiving and still enjoy all of your favorite cozy comfort foods.
Instead of: Sugar
Try: Maple Syrup
Instead of using refined sugar in all those baked goods, try using maple syrup to sweeten your goodies. Remember to use natural and unprocessed maple syrup. Pure maple syrup has all types of lovely benefits: antioxidants, prebiotics, and vitamins and minerals. It also has a low glycemic index. Other good sugar substitutes to keep in mind are coconut sugar, raw honey, and dates!
Instead of: Butter
Try: Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be a great substitute for butter in recipes. Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, or MCTs. This saturated fat is digested more easily by the body and provides energy (which we all need during the crazy holiday season)! Coconut oil has other health benefits too, including natural antibacterial properties, making it good for the immune system.
Instead of: White Potatoes
Try: Pureed Cauliflower and Parsnips
We live for mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. But all those starchy carbs can lead to a blood sugar spike and imminent crash. Not to mention, it just fills you up and there is less room for other goodies. Pureed cauliflower is an amazing swap for potatoes in recipes. For mashed potatoes, try using half the amount of potatoes and adding in pureed roasted parsnips and cauliflower. It will not only make the dish healthier but makes for a delicious, more complex flavor!
Instead of: Canned Cranberry Sauce
Try: Fresh Cranberries
Make your own cranberry sauce! It’s actually not complicated or time-consuming at all, trust us. Use fresh cranberries, orange, and honey or maple syrup in a food processor, and voila! Canned cranberry sauce is often packed with added sugar and preservatives, so making your own lets you control the ingredients. And you can make it to your preferred sweetness.
Instead of: Cow’s Milk
Try: Almond or Oat Milk
This may be a more obvious one, but swapping plant-based milks for regular cow’s milk can really cut down the fat content in a dish. Not to mention, dairy isn’t always a friend to our digestive systems. Just use your favorite plant-based milk in lieu of dairy milk in most recipes!
Instead of: Heavy Cream
Try: Coconut Milk
There are some occasions when almond milk and oat milk just aren’t going to cut it. Some recipes need rich and creamy textures. Full fat coconut milk is amazing for baking due to its thick texture. And it adds a wonderful hint of coconut flavor! Try coconut panna cotta for dessert or coconut whipped topping on those holiday pies!
Instead of: Carb-Based Thickening Agents
Try: Pureed Vegetables
Gravy is the glue that holds the Thanksgiving meal together. Actually, that statement really isn’t that far off. Gravy is often full of thickening agents, like flour or cornstarch, to make it thick and creamy. These carb-based thickeners don’t have much of a nutritional benefit and just add calories to the dish. Store-bought gravies are even scarier, with many added preservatives and processed ingredients. Instead of using carbs to thicken the gravy, puree some roasted veggies and add them to a stock for a healthy, flavorful gravy hack!