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Thanksgiving: Almost Guilt-Free Gobble

From Chelsea Rinnig. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com. 

'thanksgiving"

Healthier Thanksgiving substitutes. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Healthier tips on cooking and enjoying decadent Thanksgiving dishes.

Healthy eating is not just about kale, fad diets or fat free foods—it is about balance and understanding when to enjoy yourself and the pleasure of a delicious meal shared with friends and family.  However, if you are cooking or contributing a dish to a Thanksgiving celebration this year, there are definitely ways to lighten up your meal without compromising flavor.  Here are a few ideas and tips on how to accommodate restrictive diets and ease the guilt of indulgence this year.

  • A few common substitutions can lighten most casserole dishes: instead of sour cream, use plain, non-fat yogurt.  For butter, try soy butter or light EVOO instead.
  • Instead of mashed potatoes, try cauliflower.  Roast in EVOO, salt and pepper at 425 for 30 minutes and mash a splash of skim milk (or almond milk for your vegan friends).  I like to add parsley and lemon for flavor too.
  • I love sweet potato pie with marshmallows on top, but I skip the cream and butter in the mash and just use water—or better yet, try coconut milk or almond milk for a twist that is just as sweet.  Toast pecans in brown sugar and use that as a topping substitute for the marshmallows to avoid the processed sugar and corn syrup.
  • Fresh cranberry sauce is always better than canned and most stores carry bags of cranberries this time of year for this purpose.  Take the extra time to use fresh cranberries this year by simmering them in a cup of honey, a quarter cup of orange juice and a quarter cup of 100% cranberry juice (not cranberry juice cocktail).  I like to add a little orange or lemon zest too.
  • Instead of green bean casserole, try one of my roasted green bean combinations from this past article; or, roast at 425 for 15 minutes with shallots and hazelnuts and Dijon mustard dressing.

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- who has written 45 posts on Borderstan.

Rinnig moved to Borderstan in Fall 2011 from Baltimore and hails originally from Los Angeles. Her dedication to the local food movement and commitment to eating simply and nutritiously have led her to both develop her culinary skills and write about her tasting new dishes both in her new city as well as her own kitchen. You can find Rinnig working downtown on weekdays, selling stone fruits and berries at the Dupont Farmers market on Sundays and splurging at fine restaurants here and there in-between. Email her at chelsea[AT]borderstan.com.

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