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50+ Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes

   

Are you searching for healthier Thanksgiving recipes?  Look no further because I’ve compiled a huge list of recipes from side dishes to desserts that are healthier than your standard Thanksgiving fare.

       
healthier thanksgiving recipes
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My quest for healthier Thanksgiving recipes started because I’m currently doing a Whole30.  Even though my 30 days are up before Turkey Day I wanted to see if I could come up with healthier alternatives to my usual recipes.  No matter what diet you follow it never hurts to see if there are tasty and healthier alternatives to what you usually eat.  I feel like it’s a bonus to serve your family healthier recipes too, no matter how they normally eat.

The recipes below may not be specifically geared for the holidays, but I felt like they were in the spirit of traditional Thanksgiving food.  Whether it’s less butter, less sugar, less grains, more veggies or whatever else, small changes can make a big difference without impacting the deliciousness of your Thanksgiving meal.

50 Healthier Thanksgiving Recipes

Turkey

Best Ever Brined Turkey and Gluten-Free Gravy from Gutsy by Nature

Perfect Roasted Turkey from Our Paleo Life

Rosemary Roasted Turkey from Primal Palate

Simple Roast Turkey Breast from Cook Eat Paleo

Ultimate Roasted Turkey from Cooking Light via My Recipes

Gravy

Healthy Mushroom Gravy from Perry Santanachote/Daily Burn

Low-fat Turkey Gravy from the Mayo Clinic

Easy Paleo Herb Gravy from Nom Nom Paleo

Turkey Gravy (Paleo/Whole30) from Simple Life by Kels

Low Calorie Everyday Gravy from Going Cavewoman

Stuffing/Dressing

New Brunswick-Style Potato Stuffing from The Domestic Man

Gluten-free Quinoa Stuffing from Carolyn Stalnaker/SheKnows

Healthy Harvest Stuffing from Martha Stewart

Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing from PaleOMG

Grain-Free Thanksgiving Stuffing from Against All Grain

Out-of-this-World Healthy Stuffing from Bethenny

HG’s Save the Day Stuffing from Hungry Girl

Best Ever Paleo Thanksgiving Stuffing from Paleo Foundation

Paleo Sausage, Apple and Chestnut Stuffing from Perchance to Cook

Potatoes/Sweet Potatoes

Cinnamon Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Cranberries from Little Bits Of

Low-Cal, Low-Fat Mashed Potatoes from Fitness Magazine

Healthy Garlic Olive Oil Mashed Potatoes from Apple of my Eye

Healthy Mashed Potatoes from Ahead of Thyme

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Ellie Krieger via POPSUGAR

Healthy Mashed Potatoes from Pillsbury

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole from Cook the Story

Cranberry Sauce/Relish

Cranberry Relish from Elise Bauer/Simply Recipes

Sugarless Cranberry Sauce from Wellness Mama

Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce from Cookie and Kate

Cranberry Relish from Eating Well

Sugar-Free Cranberry Sauce from Busy but Healthy

Gingered Cranberry-Orange Relish from Eating Well

Veggie Side Dishes

Green Bean Casserole With Crispy Shallots from Ellie Krieger/Food Network

Healthy Green Bean Casserole from Wellness Mama

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad from Chowhound

Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Paleo Grubs

Brussels Sprouts With Balsamic and Cranberries from Paleo Leap

Rustic Leek Gratin from A Squirrel in the Kitchen

Roasted Carrots with Vinaigrette from the Pioneer Woman

Maple-Glazed Root Vegetables from Paleo Grubs

Celery Root Mash from Stupid Easy Paleo

Blistered Green Beans with Crushed Almonds from Heartbeet Kitchen

Dessert/Sweets

Pumpkin Pie Bites from Paleo Leap

Paleo Pumpkin Pie from Cook Eat Paleo

Healthy Pumpkin Pie from Chocolate Covered Katy

Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake from Gluten Free on a Shoestring

Paleo Pecan Pie from the Healthy Foodie

Healthy 4-Ingredient Chocolate Mousse from the Roasted Root

Almond Flour Zucchini Bread from Against All Grain

Healthy Flourless Pumpkin Breakfast Cake from Big Man’s World

Pumpkin Bake from Former Fitness Flunky

Paleo and Vegan Apple Crisp from Detoxinista

Hope you found some delicious inspiration from these healthier Thanksgiving recipes.  A big thank you to all of the amazing chefs and cooks who take the time to develop and share their amazing recipes.  If you have a great recipe to share feel free to leave your link in the comments!

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

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This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Meal Prep Inspiration/Pinspiration

   

Meal prep is my number one way to stay on track when it comes to eating better, but sometimes I need fresh and new meal ideas.  When I need meal prep inspiration I head straight to Pinterest.  There I have found hundreds of meal prep ideas, recipes and even suggestions for storage and transport.  Today I have rounded up some of my very favorite pins to share in hopes they spark your meal prep inspiration too.

       

Having meals ready that you can store in the freezer helps ensure that you have long-term options available. Building a little stock pile of individual or family sized meals that are ready to defrost and eat can get you over the hump when you may not have time to grab fresh ingredients:

On the other hand, sometimes you crave fresh veggies and greens. When the mood strikes it’s awesome to be able to pack a whole bunch of salads at once and have them last throughout the week:

Freezer pancakes are such a great idea for busy mornings. I used this pin as a jumping off point for coming up with a variety of variations for various dietary needs. Whether you’re doing Whole30, Paleo, keto or another diet, prepping and freezing pancakes in bulk is a really simple and easy way to ensure you have a solid breakfast ready each morning.

Meal prep may not always be about prepping a whole meal. Sometimes it’s nice to have meal components ready and available just to help you get food on the able faster. This cauliflower rice is one of those things you may not have time to make on a weeknight, but prepping a few bags can help ensure you have healthy side dishes ready in just a few minutes:

Sometimes I stumble upon new types of containers for prepping. You absolutely do not need fancy containers to do meal prep, but sometimes it can be handy for stacking and storing or portion control when you do use the same container for each meal. I really like these 3 section containers, though I’ll admit I have not decided whether or not to spend the money on them. Right now I’m fairly happy with my Great Value 25 oz. entree containers from Walmart.

Since coming off Whole30 I’ve been exploring keto or low carb recipes a little more. I like them because they can be fairly on track with Whole30, but allow for dairy, which I love. This recipe for pizza rolls is definitely an “eat in moderation” type of recipe, but it’s easy, stores really well and makes a fantastic meal when paired with salad or veggies so it’s perfect for meal prepping.

Whenever you need new ideas it can be so much fun to see what other people have had success with. Please stop by and check out my entire collection of Meal Prep pins for more meal prep inspiration:




About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. This does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.

Transitioning off Whole30 and Reintroduction

   

Transitioning off Whole30

       

I’m one day away from finishing my fifth Whole30.  Transitioning off Whole30 has always been a challenge for me because by the time the days are up I am done.  Like annoyed, fried, a bit angry at food and plain grumpy about eating.  It’s been this way almost every time.  While a slow reintroduction would probably be good I am so over it that eating anything off plan sounds absolutely delightful.  Does this result in tummy aches?  Of course.  Does it result in regret?  Occasionally.  Does it ruin the progress I made?  Nope!

Transitioning off Whole30 in an orderly fashion (aka “Reintroduction“) is meant to give you greater insight into how certain foods affect you.  Adding food back one group or type at a time allows you to experiment with how you feel after eating.  This way you can take control over items or groups that may cause you trouble.  Maybe beans or oats or rice don’t bother you a bit, but alcohol or dairy sends you into fits.  You may never nail down the source of potential issues if you add back lots of different foods at one time.  The Whole30 website lays out a 10 day plan for reintroducing potential agitators.  It’s a smart plan, but in all honesty I’ve never had the patience to follow it very closely.  Even without following the plan I’ve still been able to identify some potential trigger foods so I don’t think I’ve cheated myself too bad.

Each Whole30 has helped me a little bit differently.  I’ve learned there really are certain foods that bother me more than others.  I’ve learned that eating greatly impacts my sleep.  I discovered that alcohol, while occasionally enjoyable, is pretty much not my friend.  I’ve learned that I can eat more by volume (a hugely surprising amount) of quality food and actually lose weight.  I’ve found that Whole30 helps me reset my cravings for sugar and junk food.  I also learned that food actually starts to taste different once you aren’t eating sugar and processed goo.

I didn’t step on the scale once or take measurements or even pictures this time.  This time it was about cutting out food that wasn’t nutritionally sound and killing my cravings for junk food.  In the past I’ve wanted to stick with Whole30 principals and for a while it has worked, but eventually the bad stuff has crept back in.  Instead of letting things spiral into an eventual free for all I’m making a different plan this time. I’m going to to eat fairly close to Whole30, but add dairy back in.  Dairy is something I miss terribly when I do Whole30 so I feel like if I allow some latitude with this food group maybe it will be easier to stick with eating better.

Are you thinking about starting a Whole30 or doing one right now?  Follow my Whole30 Pinterest board for ideas and inspiration!

 

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Back on Whole30

   

Back on Whole30July seemed like a great month to get back on Whole30 so here I am, already on day five of my fifth round. Since having surgery in April I’ve found myself eating like a machine. While I think it’s been somewhat part of the recovery process I feel like I really need to break the pattern and get back to eating better food. Despite my grumblings about past Whole30 rounds I am convinced that it’s the best way I know to reset my eating habits. It’s really nice to take a break from food/drink that I enjoy, but doesn’t necessarily do me any favors (I’m looking at you beer!)

       

Starting a Whole30 so close to a holiday is probably not the best idea and I definitely wouldn’t recommend it for a beginner. I figured I had enough experience to navigate those waters safely enough. We did a shrimp boil sans sausage and no corn for me. I made my own dipping sauce with approved mayo and hot sauce and it was awesome. I skipped the angel food cake and ate some frozen banana slices instead and was perfectly happy.  I’ll admit I did sniff the cake though.

In going back on Whole30 I am hoping to regain a grasp on eating less processed food.  I’m also hoping to get back to better snack control.  I know that snacking is discouraged and while I don’t always follow that to the letter I find that snacks and mindless eating are greatly reduced just because of what’s available to eat.

To ensure I am fairly prepared for eating I have made mayonnaise, Mel Joulwan’s Magical Tahini Dressing and a knock off of Chipotle’s tomatillo salsa.  Later today I am whipping up a batch of the Domestic Man’s Perkedel and some grilled chicken drumsticks coated in ghee and hot sauce.  As with previous rounds I am 100% certain the being well prepared is one of the greatest factors in making it through the 30 days.

If you’re starting out on a Whole30 be sure to check out my 25 Tips for Surviving Whole30 for info and advice on making it to the end.

About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week, both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends!

Want to see more Whole30 posts? Check these out!

Disclaimer: This post chronicles my personal experience while working through the Whole30. This is not a recommendation or suggestion for you to do the same, nor is it an endorsement of the Whole30 program. Before you begin this or any diet or exercise program you should discuss it with your doctor or qualified health care provider to determine whether it is safe for you. This post is based on my personal situation and is for information purposes only. Anything contained herein should not be treated as guidance or advice.

Zoodle Pie for Meal Prep Monday

   

Meal Prep

       

Zoodle pie, my take on spaghetti pie, has become a new favorite for meal prep in our house.  The simple substitution of zoodles (zucchini noodles) for regular pasta provides a big dose of veggies in a tasty and easy dish.

Since I’m just starting to get back into meal prepping again I’ve been looking for fast and fun things to make.  I also wanted to try totally new meals that we’ve never had before.  Zoodle pie definitely fit the bill.  The prep is a little intensive, but once you get the zucchini spiralized and squeezed out the remaining steps go pretty quickly.

I’ve been making various versions of spaghetti pie for years, but for this particular recipe I took inspiration from Pioneer Woman’s Best Lasagna Ever recipe.  I made the actual recipe for Christmas dinner so I knew it was already a winner.  My favorite part about the recipe was using cottage cheese and eggs rather than ricotta because I think ricotta can be a little bland. The cottage cheese/egg mixture really helps hold the zoodles together well in this dish.
Zoodle Pie

Zoodle Pie

Serves 12

Ingredients
3 medium zucchini + 1/2 tbsp salt
32 oz. cottage cheese
3 eggs
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/2 tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 tbsp. onion powder
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 lb Italian turkey sausage
1 24 oz jar sugar free pasta sauce

Preheat over to 350 F.

Spiralize the zucchini and place into a colander. Sprinkle with 1/2 tbsp. salt and leave to drain for 30 minutes. Rinse gently and squeeze excess water out of zoodles. Place zoodles on a towel and roll up, gently squeezing excess water out as you roll. Set aside.

Mix the cottage cheese, eggs, 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, garlic and onion powders, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper until well combined. Set aside.

Brown Italian turkey until cooked through and crumble. Mix with entire jar of pasta sauce.

Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Ladle approximately one cup of meat/sauce mixture into bottom of pan and spread evenly. Top with 1/2 of the zoodles, spread evenly. Top zoodles with 1/2 of cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread another cup of meat/sauce mixture evenly over cottage cheese mixture. Spread remaining zoodles evenly and top with the remaining cottage cheese mixture, spread evenly. Spread all remaining meat/sauce over the top. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 c. Parmesean cheese on top.

Bake uncovered for 45 minutes or until top is browned.

Water content in the zucchini may cause excess moisture in this dish. If dish looks a bit too wet after 45 minutes you can continue to bake for another 15 minutes, tenting the top with foil to prevent excess browning if necessary.

This zoodle pie is excellent right out of the oven, but for meal prepping I suggest refrigerating overnight and cutting it the next day. I found that it was easier to cut equal portions when it was chilled and firm.

What are you including in your meal prep this week?

Follow my Meal Prep Pinterest board for prep ideas, planning and tips:


About the Author
Alicen Ronan is a Kansas City personal trainer, fitness coach and writer. She has been a certified personal trainer since 2009 when she decided that she wanted to help others make positive lifestyle changes. She is available for personal training and fitness coaching 7 days a week both in the Kansas City metro and virtually.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends! Use the share buttons to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and more.

Sign up for the Newsletter

This post may contain affiliate or sponsored links. Any link which leads to items/services for purchase outside this website may result in a commission or flat rate payment to Former Fitness Flunky, LLC or it’s owner. Please be advised that this does not impact the price you pay. Please read the Affiliate Disclosure for additional information.