Thanksgiving is famous for its sleep-inducing comfort foods that leave us all overstuffed and content. But we are well aware that many of our holiday favorites are loaded with a high content of sodium, calories, and saturated fats. However, it is possible to be more health conscious when it comes to choosing ingredients. Here are three ingredient substitutions to make your Thanksgiving dinner healthier.
- Butter Substitutions
The saturated fats in traditional butter can raise your cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease. Luckily, it’s easy to replace. Some recipes use butter as a leavening agent, while others use it to prevent an overdevelopment of gluten. In either case, there are many suitable alternatives. Here are a few:
- Unsweetened applesauce works well in breads and muffins. It’s a low-calorie food and is also absent of fat.
- Avocado is packed with nutrients and is masked well in chocolate recipes. Avocado oil blends well in baked goods and is popular for its monounsaturated fats.
- The seasonal favorite, pumpkin puree, can replace butter in baked desserts while offering the health benefits of fiber, potassium and vitamin A.
- Mayonnaise Substitutions
During Thanksgiving, mayonnaise is often used to create creamy bases for potato salads, and even to seal in the moisture of roasted meats. But as adaptable as this high-fat condiment is, there are definitely healthier replacements. Here are some ideas:
- Low-fat plain greek yogurt is calcium and protein-rich while managing to contain fewer calories than mayonnaise. There are even tasty recipes that use yogurt to marinate the ceremonial Thanksgiving turkey, instead of relying on mayo.
- If you plan to spread some mayonnaise on your leftover turkey sandwich, try hummus instead. Hummus is made with chickpeas, which contain protein, fiber, and healthy antioxidants.
- Fruit and Vegetable Substitutions
As convenient as canned fruits and vegetables are, that convenience sometimes comes with a cost. For fruits, canning can include heavy syrups that add unnecessary sugar and calories. With vegetables, a higher intake of sodium and preservatives is possible. If you have the option, consider swapping canned produce for frozen or fresh alternatives. Not only will your Thanksgiving spread be more colorful and visually appealing, it will also be void of unhealthy additives that can negatively impact your health.
This year, set out to cook a holiday meal that is just as nutritious as it is delicious. With these three Thanksgiving ingredient substitutions you’ll be able to swap out the unhealthy elements to create a satisfying dinner that is good for the whole family.