Instead of getting rid of our favorite ThaNksgiving recipes, let’s lighten them up with a makeover!
On my side of the family, Thanksgiving is a very big deal because, it is, literally, the anniversary of the day, many years ago, that my family and I emigrated from England to the United States of America.
Each year, I love hearing my mother recount the events of our journey to “the states” and, especially when she recants how the flight attendant announced that we were having Tom Turkey for dinner! My mother said that she and my father looked at on another and said “what the he** is a Tom turkey?” They soon found out what Tom turkey was and became big fans of the Thanksgiving Day feast to celebrate the sincere gratitude of our blessed lives.
at this time of year we're forever hearing about new recipes to replace the family favorites of Thanksgiving, and other Holidays, with hopes of making the meal “healthier.”
However, from a nostalgia standpoint, it is difficult for many to give up their family favorites when they have spent the last year anticipating biting into the scrumptious foods that are often only enjoyed once or twice each year.
Our Thanksgiving feast always includes certain favorites that, I’m sure, many of you have at your table too. Below, you’ll find recipe modification suggestions to lower the negative nutrition impact for stuffing, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, and whipped cream recipes that my family uses.
Hopefully, you’ll see how easy it can be to improve the nutrition value of the items and be inspired to try some of them for your Thanksgiving feast or any other time that you're cooking and/or baking.
For comparison purposes, I’ve provided the calorie, fat, sodium, and cholesterol information for each original and substitution item, with exception of the pie crust, which stands alone. The areas highlighted in bright yellow indicate which item has the lowest amount of each category. No yellow highlight, indicates that all items are equal in the specific area.
Let's get this party started!
My family uses a sausage, sage, and onion stuffing recipe that calls for one roll of regular pork sausage browned and drained. Last year, I chose to replace the regular sausage with the same brand’s reduced-fat version and there were no complaints!
Green Bean Casserole
Who doesn’t love green bean casserole? It is very easy to lower the fat, sodium, and cholesterol without lowering the taste. Simply use low-fat or non-fat milk, a healthier cream of mushroom soup version, and your homemade panko topping, recipe below, in place of the fried onions.
Pumpkin Pie, Crust Optional!
Whether with or without crust, when making the pumpkin pie filling, with the Joy of Cooking recipe, I replace the heavy cream with an equal amount of low-fat 2% evaporated milk and everyone thinks it’s scrumptious.
Pumpkin pie is a custard pie that is easy to make without a crust. It is always a part of our Thanksgiving feast because it is gluten free, much lower in calories and sodium, and has another level of flavor due to the pie not being insulated by the crust and the sugars becoming more caramelized during the baking process. To bake it make it without the crust, use glass or ceramic pie pans to allow the slices to easily slide out for serving.
The secret of any fresh whipped cream, made at home, is to place the metal bowl and beaters in the freezer for at least 30 minutes before you whip it up. True confession, my family always loves fresh heavy whipped cream at Thanksgiving, so I haven’t tried the following, but it sounds like a great alternative.
Replace heavy whipped cream with low-fat 2% evaporated milk and follow the recipe you use.