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A Feast to Remember {Recipes Included}

by Elise Museles

holiday-1Are you ready to enjoy the traditions of Thanksgiving (or whatever holiday feast you have coming up this season) with a modern & healthy twist?

While I am not suggesting that you forget about your Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie or your mother-in-law’s rich, buttery stuffing, I’m here to offer some inspiration to update your menu with a few new waist & heart-friendly options thrown into the mix.  This way, you can savor good food and quality time with family & friends… without the uncomfortable feeling of too tight pants.

From my table and the tables of some of my favorite healthy friends & bloggers to yours, enjoy these modern feasting options:

Smart start. Forget about starving the whole day and “saving up” for the meal. You’ll just end up cranky, hungry and without the ability to make wise choices when you get to the buffet.  Balance your blood sugar throughout the day with healthy fats & protein.  Set the tone at breakfast with a seasonal Pumpkin Spice Smoothie.

Warm hello. Last year, my guests were all greeted with a piping hot mug filled with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.  While the original recipe calls for kale, I opted to sprinkle some pumpkin seeds on top instead. It was a huge hit!

Get your green on. Although the turkey is usually front & center at the Thanksgiving table, don’t forget about getting in your veggies.  From a simple Roasted Asparagus to my absolute favorite Brussels Sprouts with Slivered Almonds & Dates, you can fill up on tasty sides without filling out.

And if you’re in the mood to add a colorful salad to your table, the lovely Gena of Choosing Raw created this Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad with Radicchio, Cranberry & Pistachio.  Need I say more?

Hold the turkey. For all your guests who don’t eat turkey, Gena recommends this Lentil & Sweet Potato Loaf as a filling main dish.

Sweet sides.  To appease the kid in all of us, swap out the candied yams for Parsnip & Carrot Fries by my friend, Alicia of Weekly Greens.  You’ll enjoy a sweet & savory sensation without any excess sugar.  They’re delish any time of year!

Goodbye rolls. My health-conscious pals over at Clean Plates sent me this Apple & Pumpkin Bran Muffin recipe as a nutrient-dense alternative to classic dinner rolls or corn bread.

Where’s the stuffing? How about trying my family’s classic Quinoa with Dried Fruits & Nuts for a gluten free version of stuffing? (Okay not exactly, but I would be happy to have this at my table.)

Relish those cranberries. My LA recipe guru, Pamela Salzman, has step-by-step instructions for all her dishes.  Although, you won’t need them for her simple Cranberry Sauce with Apples & Raspberries.  It’s out of this world! (You can also find an entire Thanksgiving Section on her site.) 

That leaves us with dessert.  I thought about suggesting my healthy Apple Crisp, but I’m not sure it will cut it for the diehard dessert lovers.  So, you may want to explore Elana’s Pantry, where you’ll find the absolute best grain free and low allergen options. Paleo Pumpkin Pie may just do the trick.

And, if you do end up overindulging at your holiday feast, remember the guilt and negative self-talk do more harm to your body than the mound of stuffing or the buttery green beans.  Just think: tomorrow’s a new day…and if your digestion needs a little boost, try this Digestion Juice from my favorite cleanse expert (who happens to be like a sister to me), Elissa Goodman. It’s designed to help keep your gut in balance.

Finally, if you’re inclined to think about mindful eating at your holiday table, you can check out my favorite strategies here.

Question of the day: What are some of the ways that you add a modern twist to your feast?  Share your family secrets to a healthy holiday in the comments below.

10 Responses to A Feast to Remember {Recipes Included}

  1. Lorna November 22, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    Elise–I am hungry just reading your post! Carrot and parsnips are a family fave and I have some brussel sprouts that need cooking, so I will give this recipe a whirl. Thanks for getting us in the holiday mood!

    • Elise November 22, 2013 at 6:44 pm #

      I am glad you’re inspired to start your healthy cooking now, Lorna!

  2. Silvia November 22, 2013 at 6:33 pm #

    Elise, What a wonderful assortment of recipes. Love the carrot and parsnip fries. Gorgeous table setting too.

    • Elise November 22, 2013 at 6:41 pm #

      Thank you, Silvia. What a compliment coming from a chef like yourself:).

  3. Desiree East November 25, 2013 at 6:15 am #

    Hi Elise! I shot straight over the the Pumpkin Spice Smoothie recipe – WOW, that sounds delicious!! And I’ve done Butternut Squash soup before, with left-over kale…those two go so well together. Thanks for sharing all of these fabulous recipes – I will keep them in mind if I need some inspiration this winter!!

    • Elise November 25, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

      Hi Desiree, you are so welcome:). It sounds like you are already inspired in the kitchen!

  4. Shana LaFore November 27, 2013 at 10:44 pm #

    Great ideas, Elise. I especially like the warm hello! I’ll have to try some of these tasty dishes. Yum!!

    • Elise November 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      A warm hello to you :).

  5. Melissa Burkheimer November 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm #

    What a clever idea for a post Elise! The parsnip and carrot fries look delish!

    • Elise November 27, 2013 at 11:12 pm #

      Thanks, Melissa! The “fries” are pretty awesome.

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