thanksgiving food on table

Clean Eating Tips And Recipes For A Healthy Thanksgiving

If you're looking to enjoy some healthier Thanksgiving recipes this year, we’ve got you covered with these clean eating tips and recipes. From roasted veggies to grain-free stuffing, there's something for everyone to enjoy. And with these easy tips, you'll be able to stick to your healthy eating goals without sacrificing flavor or tradition!

According to Insider, Americans will gobble up (pun intended) between 2,500 and 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving day. This can be compared to eating between four and eight Big Macs in one sitting! Thanksgiving calorie count is likely so high because meal prep takes most of the day for many families, so it’s easier to resort to canned foods for recipes. Campbell’s actually makes 40% of its total sales of cream of mushroom soup for the year in the days leading up to Thanksgiving! Clean eating at Thanksgiving can be as easy as substituting canned items with fresh, or even frozen, foods.

canned veggies

It may be shocking to find out that using full fat dairy (e.g. cream, milk, butter) in your Thanksgiving recipes is cleaner than using low-fat dairy products. There’s a whole host of reasons whole dairy leads to a cleaner diet than low-fat, and you can read more about them in our Whole Dairy vs. Low-fat Dairy blog post. Consider using full-fat, unsweetened dairy in your Thanksgiving recipes instead of low-fat to avoid potentially harmful additives.

Many holiday recipes call for oil or solid fats like butter, shortening, lard, etc. To make a recipe cleaner, all you need to do is substitute with healthier fats. Some of our favorite healthy fat oils are olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and coconut oil. When shopping for your healthy fat oils, it is best to purchase organic, unrefined, cold-pressed oils.

various vegetable/seed oils

Similar to using whole dairy instead of low-fat options, there are many reasons that substituting whole wheat flour for regular flour can be beneficial. You can read about these reasons in our blog post about Eating Whole Grains! Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour is another simple way to make your Thanksgiving recipes cleaner!

With so many sweets being made for the holiday, one of the best substitutions you can make is raw honey or pure maple syrup instead of processed sugars. You might be thinking, wouldn’t it be better to use artificial sweeteners? Won’t honey and maple syrup have the same effect as regular sugar? While it’s true that honey and maple syrup will have similar effects to sugar on glucose levels, these sugar alternatives have health benefits that can outweigh their effect on sugar levels. Both honey and maple syrup (when in their raw forms) are less processed than sugar, they may even not be processed at all, meaning they contain more nutrients, like vitamins and minerals. And, even though they will raise your blood sugar, it won’t happen as quickly as with regular sugar which will help you feel less of an immediate energy spike and crash as you might when using sugar.

maple syrup and honey

All of these tips are simple substitutions that will help you “clean up” and make your favorite Thanksgiving recipes healthier. If you’re looking to change up your menu this Thanksgiving, we’ve got you covered with this list of some of our favorite clean eating Thanksgiving Recipes. 

Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes

Clean Turkey

The star of any Thanksgiving is the turkey, and we’ve found that this recipe from Ashley Lynch for a Clean Eating Roasted Turkey Breast is absolutely delicious. This recipe is simple AND clean making it a great option to relieve some of the stress of Thanksgiving Day cooking. With this recipe you can spend less time basting your full-size turkey, and more time watching the parade!

Clean Sides

Stuffing is one of those Thanksgiving dishes that contains many ingredients that aren’t considered clean eating. You can easily change that with our tips, or you can try out a new recipe this year and opt for this Amazing Ezekiel Bread Stuffing!

Cranberry sauce is another Thanksgiving favorite that can be made cleaner by choosing to make it yourself instead of using the canned versions that are full of additives and preservatives. Give this Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe a try this year for a cleaner Thanksgiving. 

Whether you need a topping for your potatoes or turkey, this homemade gravy recipe can make a great addition to your clean eating Thanksgiving spread.

Another popular Thanksgiving dish, green bean casserole. This is one of those dishes that people may want to use canned green beans for the convenience of it; however, if you’re trying to have a cleaner Thanksgiving, this is not the way to go. This recipe for a  Healthy Green Bean Casserole is great for any diet since it’s dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, and paleo-friendly!

Of course, we couldn’t suggest clean Thanksgiving recipes without offering some pumpkin options! This Curried Pumpkin Soup with Apple Croutons is the perfect combination of fall flavors that would be a wonderful addition to your healthier Thanksgiving. And these Mini Pumpkin-Sage Balls are so deliciously new and different, you absolutely have to add them to your menu!

Clean Desserts

Certainly, there has to be pumpkin pie. What would Thanksgiving be without a it?! But how do you make pumpkin pie clean? It is pie, after all! Luckily, Tiffany at The Gracious Food Pantry has figured that out for us with her Clean Pumpkin Pie Recipe. If you want the pumpkin pie flavor, but don’t want to go through the trouble of making a pie at Thanksgiving, don’t worry! We have another clean Thanksgiving dessert option for you! This recipe for Cinnamon Graham Crackers and a Healthy Pumpkin Pie-Spiced Hummus is a great alternative (or addition) to pumpkin pie for your Thanksgiving dessert menu. 

With our tips and clean recipe suggestions, having a healthier Thanksgiving should be as easy as pumpkin pie! Even more, any of our product lines could be a quick and easy breakfast or lunch to have during your busy Thanksgiving day meal prep. Quickly blend up one of our Smoothies or heat up one of our Garden Bowls, so you can make sure you’re getting the nutrition you need and staying fueled throughout your hectic day while also staying focused on clean eating and your healthier Thanksgiving recipes! And don’t forget to check out our fall seasonal products available for a limited time each year for a Frozen Garden taste of fall!

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