It might seem like I am talking about Thanksgiving a little bit earlier, however, Thanksgiving is 2 weeks from yesterday!!! I’m SO EXCITED! I absolutely LOVE Thanksgiving:-)
I know that this time of year can be challenging to stick to a supportive nutrition plan. Trust me though; you CAN still enjoy the upcoming holidays while eating good food that’s good for you.
Personally I am looking forward to another grain/gluten free, dairy-free, low-sugar Thanksgiving meal that doesn’t leave me sleeping away the afternoon and craving simple carbohydrates for days!
The reason most people end up so tired after the Thanksgiving meal is not because of turkey, but rather the excessive amounts of carbohydrates and gluten. Stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, pies, snacks, and desserts send your blood sugar skyrocketing… And then it CRASHES, sending you into a carb coma that can last for days.
The holidays are associated with many foods that are not consumed year round. Foods like stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, egg nog, [insert your family favorites], etc.
I understand that the holidays only happen once per year, but, to me, that isn’t an excuse to eat large amounts of processed foods filled with sugar, additives, and inflammatory compounds. This will only leave you feeling tired, moody, and craving simple carbohydrates for days after. Not to mention, a single exposure to gluten can stay in your system for weeks, potentially longer.
Instead, focus on eating protein and non-starchy vegetables first to provide your body with the nutrition it desires. After that, pick your holiday favorites that you choose to indulge in.
Before you dig in though, I want you to ask yourself,
“Is this food I’m about to eat really going to satisfy me and taste incredible?”
If the answer is anything less than a definite YES, then choose to not eat it. Skip it altogether or find a healthier alternative.
When we are in a social setting (especially when drinking alcohol) we are much less mindful about our food choices. Stop for a moment and check in with your body; it is constantly giving you signals. You just need to listen and be mindful:-)
Personally, during the holiday season, I choose to indulge in Paleo/gluten free desserts more than I would during the rest of the year. My happy place is in the kitchen baking. Now, I just choose to bake differently.
My idea of indulging over the holidays is eating a bit more than I normally would, having a little bit of dairy, and some sugar in the form of honey, maple syrup, or coconut sugar. Note: I cut down on the amount of sugar in every recipe I make.
Only you can make the decision of what type of indulgences you will choose this holiday season and what negative effects you’re willing to accept (we all respond differently).
For me, something like gluten is just not worth putting in my body because of its negative impacts. But I will eat a little bit of dairy and deal with the breakout on my face that will likely follow, because it isn’t something I do all the time.
I encourage you to take some time to think about how you want to approach food this holiday season and have a plan going into it.
Healthier Holiday Alternatives
Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner can still be enjoyable, as well as satisfying, without overindulging in too many carbohydrates and sugar-laden foods.
Tips for Healthier, More Nutrient Dense Holiday Dishes:
- Replace mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower or a mix of cauliflower and potatoes to decrease carbohydrates.
- Increase the number of green vegetables side dishes. Roasted Brussels sprouts and simple steamed green beans are a great way to do this!
- Use fruit as a sweetener in cranberry sauce instead of straight sugar.
- Make a bread-free stuffing or use nut flours for bread crumbs.
- Use nut flours for the base of pies.
- Instead of marshmallow topped sweet potato casserole mix squash, sweet potato, coconut milk, and spices such as cinnamon & nutmeg for a nice fall flavor.
- Skip the alcohol…or minimize consumption.
Below are Healthy Holiday Alternatives that do not sacrifice flavor or taste!!!
Pumpkin Spice Dinner Rolls from The Healthy GF Life
Pumpkin, Bacon, & Chive Coconut Flour Biscuits from Urban Poser
Sweet Potato Bacon Biscuits from Running to the Kitchen
Thanksgiving Bread from My Heart Beets
Bacon and Chive Sweet Potato Biscuits from PaleOMG
Paleo Sweet Potato Cranberry Stuffing from Fed & Fit
Apple Cranberry Sweet Potato Bake from Stupid Easy Paleo
Paleo Stuffing from Zenbelly
Coconut Almond Green Beans from The Clothes Make the Girl
Beet and Brussels Sprout Warm Salad from Stupid Easy Paleo
Balsamic Roasted Brussels w/Prosciutto & Pomegranate from Enjoying this Journey
Sausage and Apple Stuffing from Healthy Living How To
Creamy Gravy from Empowered Sustenance
Cream of Mushroom Soup from Against All Grain (I use this as my base for Green Bean Casserole)
Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce from Nom Nom Paleo
Fall Harvest Mash from Multiply Delicious
The Best Paleo Pumpkin Pie from The Paleo Mom
Mini Pumpkin Pie Tarts from Tasty Yummies
Pumpkin Pecan Pie Bars from Multiply Delicious
Apple Pie from Zenbelly
No Bake Peanut Butter Cup Pie from Detoxinista
Sticky Apple Bars from PaleOMG
Pumpkin Pie Cookie Crisp from PaleOMG
Our Thanksgiving Line Up
On Thanksgiving Day, it will be Justin, Badger and I, this has been our tradition for several years and it fits us. We will have friends come over later in the day for dessert.
I will be making a traditional Thanksgiving meal that will be grain-free and dairy-free. Since it is just the two of us, I will make a Turkey Breast in the crock-pot. CLICK HERE to view the recipe that I use.
Our sides will be Bacon and Chive Sweet Potato Biscuits, Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce, Sausage and Apple Stuffing, and either a green bean dish or a brussel sprout dish.
For dessert, I think I’m going to make the Pumpkin Pie Cookie Crisp I linked above, and top it with homemade coconut whipped cream. CLICK HERE to learn how to make coconut milk whipped cream.
If you would like more Holiday Eating Tips & Strategies, listen the episode of the Happy Healthy and Fit Life podcast. CLICK HERE to listen or find us on iTunes HERE.
From our family to yours, HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!
In Health & Happiness,