Thanksgiving Staples Done Right

Thanksgiving food has a bad rap. Not only is the holiday a celebration of gratitude, giving, and grub, but Thanksgiving dinner can actually be pretty freaking healthy with a little bit of thought, control, and balance. So, ignore the hype, don’t fast for the feast, and go into the meal knowing that it’s not your last, so enjoy! Here’s the deal on those Thanksgiving staples:

thanksgiving

Turkey: the main event. Turkey is actually a healthy, low-fat lean protein with tons of vitamins, so let it take center stage on your plate. It’s when the turkey is covered in stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes and devoured alongside alcohol, dinner rolls, and dessert. So, instead of using the turkey as a means to hold these other foods, actually enjoy the turkey itself!

Potatoes: potatoes are a healthy, starchy veg BUT they’re usually ‘buttered up’ (literally) with tons of butter, cream, and cheese, adding tons of fat. If you’re like us, you’d take sweet potatoes any day over regular white potatoes – they’re sooo much sweeter! Luckily, sweet potatoes are also sooo good for you, full of Vitamins A, B, and C, fiber, and beta-carotene. Just keep it simple with a little bit of oil (olive or coconut) or butter and some cinnamon, rosemary, or your favorite spices. If you agree to disagree and prefer the white mashers over orange, simply enjoy a small serving, not a potato volcano on your plate…unless you’re gearing up for a post-Thanksgiving marathon. In that case, you’ll actually need those carbs!

Brussels Sprouts: this cruciferous veggie is a fall staple in the OHH kitchen. Full of fiber, they’ll help you to digest your holiday meal while lowering cholesterol and risk of certain cancers when eaten regularly. Plus, they’re so damn good! No reason not to pass the sprouts, please!

Cranberry Sauce: sadly, we’re in America and that means that your traditional cranberry sauce is more like a gelatin of sugar (with very little to no cranberries) that plops out of a can. Not so appealing. Why not try to make your own, because real cranberries are actually a great source of antioxidants. Here’s a super simple recipe without the added sugar or chemicals!

Casseroles: yeah, not so healthy. The dish on casseroles: not to rag on this classic holiday dish, but a casserole is basically an excuse to make a normally healthy food (like green beans) into a cheesy, buttery, saucy, glutinous dish, with a bit of veggies hiding inside. Keep things simple and skip the ‘role, just stick to the good old veggies above!

Dessert: Have your cake and eat it too. Pumpkin and pecan pie, yum yum. Ok, so not the healthiest things in the world, but again, pumpkin and pecans themselves are both full of nutrients, so if you’re in charge of the pie, aim to bulk up these ingredients and dial down the sugar. Either way, there’s no need to turn down Thanksgiving dessert, just have a few bites of your very favorite, enjoy the deliciousness, and be done with it. It’s when dessert becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet that’ll have you feeling YUCK with a side of guilt.

One Healthy Breakdown: Thanksgiving is one meal, one day, and the focus should be on gratitude over grub…but enjoy the grub too! Happy, healthy holiday!

Healthy Holidays OHH Style

The magic of the holiday season surrounds us and we’re determined to make it through feeling healthy, happy, grounded, rested, well-fed, balanced, and ready for 2016!

IMG_3036Although it’s easy as pie to cut sleep, eat all the cookies, skip breakfast, have another cocktail, and end up completely burned out, tired, bloated, hungover, guilty, and miserable come January, let’s not!

hangoverOHH’s #HealthyHoliday Tips:

Keep it simple: yes, there will be parties and cocktails, gingerbread, latkes, toasts, roasts, cookie exchanges, peppermint bark, and a hundred reasons to indulge. And that’s ok. But all of those ‘extras’ sure do add up. To offset the indulgences, keep things simple at home. No need to make a three-course meal; instead, allow yourself permission to keep things light and basic. Make a “kitchen sink” salad, smoothie, or snack – just make sure you’re using whole foods. Keeping meals simple allows our body to maximize digestion and nutrient-absorption. Here’s a super simple salad made of arugula, sauerkraut, tomatoes, avocado, and hard-boiled eggs for your dose of greens, probiotics, healthy fat and protein all in one!

FullSizeRender3Eat your veggies: there’s no way around it – veggies are healthy and you must eat them. Don’t fret, you can easily increase your veggie intake in a yummy, easy way. Try making a meal that centers around vegetables instead of meat or pasta, like a meatless stir fry, hearty soup, or holiday smoothie. We don’t often give veggies the opportunity to be the main attraction, but doing so is a super simple, healthy, and affordable way to fuel our bodies. Secondly, try replacing your usual comfort foods with veggie-loaded options. Instead of your go-to mashed potatoes, try cauliflower mash. Forget the french fries and instead roast a new variation of squash, like acorn, delicata, spaghetti, butternut, kobucha, or pumpkin. When you’re urged to grab chips or crackers to snack on, eat crudite to satisfy that craving for a crunch.

Treat yo’self: we’ve said it before and we’ll say again – it’s all about balance. Let go of the labels and ditch the all-or-nothing attitude. Indulging in holiday treats is not only acceptable, it’s actually good for you! Consciously eating food that gives you immense pleasure can fulfill your heart, satisfy your cravings, and feed your soul. Whether it’s a family recipe that you look forward to every year or a new discovery on your journey, choose to indulge wisely and enjoy every single bite.

balancedNews flash: it’s not just about the treats. Or the veggies. Indulge in something that has absolutely nothing to do with food, like a bubble bath, scented candle, holiday movie, pedicure, song download, nature walk, novel, dance party, magazine, TV marathon, or anything that makes you feel pampered and rejuvenated. Just like we deserve to enjoy the cookie, we deserve a break, some self-care, and even a good nap!

Move and be still: we already established that most of us will be indulging a bit this season and that is A ok…as long as we remember to move (ie: exercise) and be still (ie: meditate/sleep/breathe.) Schedule your workouts (and your stillness) as you would meetings and don’t skip ’em. Get your turkey trot on, try a new class, rake leaves, shovel snow…whatever it takes to stay active and accountable. And mindful. Taking time to slow down, live in the moment, and embrace the holiday spirit is equally as important. Combine the moving and the stillness with a yoga class or non-workout workout. Sweat, enjoy, breathe, repeat.

One Healthy Breakdown: here’s to spreading health and holiday cheer this year!

Giving Thanks OHH Style

Here are a few tips for the happiest, healthiest turkey day yet!

Portrait of a family saying grace before eating dinner1. Focus on Thanks-giving. Giving Thanks. That’s what it’s all about. Most families tend to rush through a humungo, chaotic, larger than life meal that took days to prepare, and are lucky if everything’s still civil and sober by dessert. Embrace your company and focus on family. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the holiday season, which can definitely be a stressful time. Before the fun begins, take at least 5-10 minutes to actually ponder what you’re thankful for. What has changed for the better since last Thanksgiving? Who are you grateful to spend time with this holiday? Make it a point to think about how to truly live in the moment and enjoy the day and the season, not just the short-lived feast.

2. Eat all day. Ok, not allllll day, but don’t (do NOT) fast for the feast! If you skip breakfast and lunch to save room or calories, you’ll be starving, your blood sugar will be off, and you’ll make up for it big time later. Eat a balanced breakfast and even a small lunch or snack so that you’re more likely to eat dinner as dinner, not as the all-you-can-fit buffet. Smoothies are a great option for a light meal, packed with nutrients that won’t fill you up or weigh you down!

3. Chew more, eat less. Chewing is underrated and overlooked. The simple act of tasting and chewing our food (really chewing, like a lot) aids digestion and satisfaction in monumental ways. If you’re mindful of chewing each and every bite, you may not have to loosen that belt after all!

4. Eat the gosh darn turkey! We all know that the turkey is not the problem. Turkey is a delicious source of lean protein that is low in fat, low on the glycemic index, and full of healthy goodness. It’s those caramelized side dishes, dinner rolls, and pieces of pie that do us in. Let’s all stop blaming the bird and aim for a well-balanced plate of protein, carbs, and lots of veggies.

5. Have your pie and eat it too. Splurging is o.k., normal, and enjoyable. Just keep in mind that this is not the last supper and that servings, bites, tastes, and even slivers add up. Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a diet disaster. Instead of loading your plate once, twice, three times before dessert is served, take your time in choosing your favorites and indulge mindfully.

One Healthy Breakdown: focus on what the day is all about! (hint: it’s not mashed potatoes!)

Healthy Pumpkin Pie

This healthy pumpkin pie recipe is delicious, vegan, and gluten-free!

pumpkpieCrust:

  • 1 cup oats
  • 2 cups raw pecans
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 3 tbsp flax
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ cup brown rice syrup
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or preferred butter/margarine/oil, melted)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Grease a 9 inch pie pan
  3. Process oats into a fine powder using a food processor or blender (or you can just buy oat flour!) and set aside
  4. Put the pecans in the food processor and process until it starts to clump and oils are released (around 45 seconds), when finished you should be able to make a ball with the pecans
  5. Melt Earth Balance and brown rice syrup in the microwave for 30sec.
  6. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl (it’s easiest to do this part by hand)
  7. Put the pecan dough in the pie dish and spread out evenly, bringing it up the sides to make a crust. Press down firmly
  8. Poke the crust with a fork a few times
  9. Pre-bake the crust for 10-12 minutes, watching to make sure it doesn’t burn.
  10. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Filling:

  • 2 ¼ cups canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (or preferred butter/margarine/oil)
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp brown rice flour (or tapioca flour or cornstarch or arrowroot powder)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or more to taste)
  1. Whisk together the maple syrup and brown rice flour.
  2. Add all ingredients and whisk together
  3. Scoop the filling into the crust
  4. Cover the pie with aluminum foil
  5. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 350F
  6. Let cool for 1 hour on the counter
  7. Place in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours (I’ve found its best the longer you wait, even a few days later, so you can prepare this early for Thanksgiving to relieve some of the cooking stress!)
  8. Slice and serve!! For some added deliciousness, serve with some homemade coconut whipped cream!
  9. Serve and enjoy with family!

One Healthy Breakdown: Better than your average pie and much healthier too!

(Recipe slightly adapted from Oh She Glows)

*About Josie: I’m originally from Sag Harbor and I’m currently a student at Boston University working towards becoming a registered dietician and getting my Masters in Nutrition. I’ve been gluten-free for almost 2 years and vegan for a little over a year. My family is having a completely vegan, gluten-free Thanksgiving this year! I’ve been testing out new recipes to serve and this one was a real hit with my roommates (so hopefully it will be a hit with my family too!)