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:


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!

Sweet! Three-ingredient Sweet Potato Fries

Three words: Sweet. Potato. Fries.

Sweet potatoes are one of life’s little gifts, they’re just as good on the taste buds as they are on the nutrition chart.  We typically think of sweet potatoes around Thanksgiving time, but these puppies deserve our attention all year round.  In fact, the sweet potato was actually deemed the number ONE most nutritious vegetable by the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public.)  Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants, (especially beta-carotene) calcium, folate, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and they have more fiber per serving than oatmeal (eat that skin!)

I can’t get enough of this plant-based superfood.  Sweet potatoes are easy, cheap, healthy, and sweeeeeeeeet!  What’s better than sweet potatoes?!  SWEET POTATO FRIES!  Fries are typically pretty unhealthy, but not if they’re homemade, the right way!  These sweet fries are roasted, not fried, and the fat provided by the olive oil actually allows more of the beta-carotene goodness to be absorbed in the body.


  • sweet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • rosemary


Heat oven to 400 degrees.  For single portion, use one medium sweet potato.  Double for double, triple for triple…you catch my drift, you’re pretty smart.

I have a little trick to soften the potatoes a little bit before I cut.  I cut the ends off, pierce potato a few times with a fork or knife, and pop into the microwave for a few minutes.  If you’re microwave-phobic, skip this step, you will just have to use more arm muscle and patience.

Cut sweet potatoes to your liking.  Sometimes I cut into round slices, sometimes I cut into strips for a classic French fry shape.  It totally depends on your preference, if you like boat-shaped fries, go for it.  Some people out there are really talented and can make that waffle fry shape (go ahead, show-offs.)  For me, the thinner the slice, the crunchier the fries, the happier I am.  Also, always keep the skin on because it’s the most nutritious part of the potato…and it makes for much less prep work.

Place potato slices/fries/boats/waffles on cookie sheet (I line with parchment paper so they don’t stick, feel free to use tinfoil or cooking spray.  This doesn’t count as an ingredient because then there would be four ingredients, not three, and we’re sticking to three.)

Drizzle a little bit of olive oil on sweet potato slices/fries/boats/waffles.  To avoid overdoing the oil, pour it onto a spoon and drizzle slowly.  That way, you can measure how much you use.

Sprinkle with rosemary, (fresh or dried, whatever you have) pop in the oven and wait.  I know it’s hard to wait for something so delicious, so find a short activity to do that will distract you.  Fries usually take about 30 minutes, depending on your oven and whether or not you nuked ‘em.   If you didn’t, congratulations, you just completed your upper body workout of the day and killed two birds with one stone.

If you prefer ultra-crispy fries, you can flip fries and turn on boiler for a minute at the end.  (If you like a little less crispy, I don’t recommend this step.)  Let cool.  Serve.  Hold the ketchup, hold the salt, these fries taste perfect on their own.  (Unless you really like ketchup and salt, then be my guest.)

photo 3

One Healthy Breakdown: They’re not called sweet for nothing!