I cannot believe it is almost Thanksgiving!!! I know the holidays can be a hard time of year, especially with all of the parties and gatherings and …food. I know it is is so hard to stick to our health and fitness goals, especially around this time of year. I know for me, especially in the past, Thanksgiving was a time I would eat so much I would make myself sick. There was just so much food around, and it was so hard for me to say no. I did not know much about portion control and I was definitely in a dark place in terms of self worth and my relationship with food. It took many years to change these patterns and behaviors and it is honestly something that I still struggle with. With that being said, in the past, while I was on my weight loss journey, Thanksgiving turned into a time where I completely deprived myself of eating anything “off plan”. I sat and watched everyone else eat and enjoy themselves, and as proud of myself as I was that I was not eating anything, I was still miserable. So after a few years of trying to figure out what I wanted to do and what was best for me, I decided to just enjoy life and stop using food as a way to celebrate the holidays because it is so much more than that. I found recipes that were still a “treat” and that I could share with everyone. Keeping my goals in mind while also enjoying time with my friends and family on Thanksgiving without eating everything in sight, or not eating anything at all is something that overtime I have figured out. Having healthier recipes available truly makes all the difference in the world, especially when they are SO good and when everyone can enjoy them together. I have decided to share with you 3 super simple, easy and tasty side dishes that I think are perfect to have at Thanksgiving dinner, and perfect to share with everyone!
Recipe #1 Festive Thanksgiving Salad
Recipe courtesy of Family Recipe
- Butter Lettuce
- Dried Cranberries
- Slivered Almonds
- Pomegranate Seeds
- Light Champagne Vinaigrette Dressing
- In a Large Bowl toss Butter lettuce, dried cranberries, slivered almonds and pomegranate Seeds. After Ingredients are mixed evenly you can top with dressing or serve with dressing on the side.
Recipe #2 Carrot Salad
Recipe courtesy of Family Circle Magazine “Carrot Salad”
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf Italian parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- 1 bag (10 ounces) shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- 1 small red onion, chopped
- Combine olive oil, lemon juice, parsley, mustard, salt and sugar in small bowl.
- Combine carrots, cranberries, onion and almonds in large bowl. Add dressing. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or overnight.
Recipe #3 Vegetable “Stuffing”
Recipe courtesy of Giada De Laurentiis “Christmas Stuffing with Bacon”
- 8 ounces applewood-smoked bacon, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
- 1 1/4 cups short-grain brown rice
- 1 1/4 cups wild rice
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- One 14-ounce bag frozen pearl onions, thawed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 12 ounces (3 large) portobello mushrooms, shredded or thinly sliced
- 8 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted, husked, coarsely chopped, optional
- Cook the bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, drain the bacon on paper towels.
- For the rice: In a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven, bring the broth and thyme to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the brown and wild rice. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the rice is tender but still chewy, 30 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the rice to stand for 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
- For the vegetables: In the same skillet used to cook the bacon, heat the butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until light golden, about 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes. Add the Brussels sprouts and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Transfer the vegetable mixture to the saucepan of cooked rice. Add the hazelnuts and cooked bacon. Toss until all the ingredients are mixed. Transfer to a large bowl and serve.
- The rice can also be cooked in 4 cups of broth and 1/2 cup of water. To toast the hazelnuts, arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F oven until lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes. Cool completely before using.
I really hope you guys enjoy these recipes as much as I do. Being able to have healthy and delicious recipes around, especially ones that are so simple and delicious, definitely make getting through the holidays that much more enjoyable. When you are able to focus on the true, meaning of Thanksgiving and spending time with your loved ones, instead of obsessing over what you can or cannot eat, makes that day just what it is called..a day of thanks! Please make sure to let me know if you make any of these recipes and “tag” me so I can see!! Let me know which one is your favorite down below or which one you are most excited to try! You can also watch me make these recipes by visiting my youtube and you can cook along with me! I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for all of your continued love and support!