A Healthier Thanksgiving From Food Foundation

By Jessica Campbell, MS, FNTP

Happy Harvest! 


Thanksgiving in the U.S. is only a few weeks away and I’m excited for the holiday treats! 


As I was thinking about my Thanksgiving post for this year, I realized I have so many recipes in my archive that you could make an entire Thanksgiving meal of healthier recipes from Food Foundation!


What would that look like? 


A delicious meal that meets the comfort food cravings, but doesn’t include white flour, vegetable oil, white sugar or other inflammatory foods. I’m not a chef, but an avid home cook. I have taken recipes from my favorite chefs, or family cooks, and changed the recipes just enough to be healthy so you can enjoy them without any guilt. Then I’ve practiced them on my own discerning children and brought the recipes to parties to make sure they were enjoyed by others.


Below is a full menu of comfort food perfect for Thanksgiving. Feel free to pick and choose the pieces that work for you! If you end up making the Food Foundation Thanksgiving (or any part of it) send me a message and let me know!


Amuse-bouche

My favorite French phrase which means amuse - mouth. Not an appetizer, but something for your guests to snack on while you finish the last-minute details!


Rosemary Cashews- Prepare your digestion with these yummy snacks! Cashews are full of vitamins, fiber, and healthy fat that helps us balance our blood sugar and insulin spikes. With a hint of rosemary and sea salt, this will help balance those energy dips and spikes your guests may be coming over with, a great way to kick off your Thanksgiving feast!


The Main Dish

Turkey- No need to reinvent the wheel. If you can, find a local source for your Turkey. There are many heritage birds out there raised at small family farms that raise a clean animal. We like to brine the bird in a salt mixture if it’s fresh, but you may want to skip this step if you buy a bird in the grocery store. Most conventional and even some organic birds are injected with a sodium solution that will make it extra salty and way too salty to make gravy.


Since this is your centerpiece, it helps to follow your best chef for recommendations on how long to  cook. I recommend my friend Barbie of Community Cuisine.


When I was younger and lived alone, I often bought a turkey leg and roasted it with some diced vegetables like sweet potato, onion, carrot, and added apple. You can cook this just like my chicken one pot, and it makes a lovely small dish that is not as overwhelming as a 14-pound turkey. 


Roasted Butternut Soup- For a vegetarian option, or just a second option, try this delicious Butternut Soup! You can make it with bone broth or mushroom broth depending on your diet restrictions and it turns out amazing every time. You can use other pumpkins left over from your decorations too, it does not need to be a butternut for this soup to shine!


Sides

What is Thanksgiving without a tableful of side dishes! You could consider these all Food Foundation takes on classic Thanksgiving favorites.


Roasted Carrots and Aioli- This recipe screams autumn with its gorgeous fall colors. So simple that making a recipe card for this was almost unnecessary, but we all know that simple sides are a life changer for a busy Thanksgiving day!


Fresh Cranberry Relish- No more can-shaped cranberry blobs for this Food Foundation inspired meal. Cranberries are amazing little fruits, high in antioxidants, that can prevent disease in the GI  and urinary tract. This dish is easy and refreshing with a tangy flavor profile that is a delightful contrast to the turkey. 


Green Bean Salad- This one is maybe a little less traditional, since you can serve it as a cold salad, but it’s pretty and full of fun flavors. I make this to replace the mushy green bean casserole. Nutrient-dense and delicious, this dish is a welcome addition to any meal.


Nutrient-Dense Mashed Potatoes- Sneak in some rutabaga, turnips, or parsnips. It may surprise you to learn that this recipe is filled with butter and sour cream. Potatoes are high on the glycemic load so it is important to pair them with enough healthy fat to slow down the absorption of the available sugars in them. Plus, cream and butter will make your mashed vegetables taste better and make them more filling so that your guests feel satiated after a 1/2 cup serving instead of 2 cups.


Desserts

We all know that Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving must-have, but have you tried my version yet? With real pumpkin and good for you spices, it’s become a real favorite! Not a pumpkin pie fan? Try my grandmother’s Cheesecake instead!


Pumpkin Pie- This is genuinely one of my favorite recipes and one of the most requested from my friends and followers. I have spent years perfecting this pie with my daughter and I am confident you are going to love it! When we are too full from the main event, we often eat this for breakfast. It’s nutrient dense and can be made entirely dairy free and gluten free.


Cheesecake- The great thing about cheesecake is that there's enough healthy fat to slow down the absorption of all of that sweetness. I took my grandmother's recipe, which I've always thought was the best cheesecake ever, and I modified it a teensy bit to be more nutritious.



Drinks

Finish off your Thanksgiving menu with a cocktail from my Healthier Happy Hour collection. These two below feel appropriate and fall-y to me!


Gin Gimlet- This delightful drink has St. George Gin, St. Germain liquor, fresh lime juice, cucumber, and a bonus herb you may have growing near your home.


Whiskey Cider- Apple flavors are a fall classic and I can see this healthier cocktail being a perfect addition to your thanksgiving day. 


Leftover Hacks

Don’t forget about the next day! This biscuit and gravy recipe uses the drippings from your turkey and the bone broth will take advantage of those turkey bones! This is my favorite part about Thanksgiving, delicious and waste-reducing, these are sure to be a hit for your family too!


Biscuits and Gravy- This dish comes together in a matter of minutes for a savory, satiating, and nutritious meal. Perfect for a breakfast (or brunch) sometime Thanksgiving weekend.


Bone Broth- If you’ve been around Food Foundation for any length of time you have probably heard me singing the praises of bone broth. Bone broth is an amazing medicine and the cheapest way to a beautiful glowing body, a strong immune system, and a delicious soup.  It provides the perfect ratio of minerals and healthy fats to heal the gut. I could go on forever about the benefits and I do in this video on Bone Broth. Seriously, if you have the turkey bones (and veggie scraps) from your Thanksgiving meal, don’t throw them away! Make bone broth instead. It’s so incredibly easy and if you need a minute, just throw the carcass in the freezer until you can get to making this amazing elixir later.


However you share your celebration of family, food, and the harvest of all of the fall produce, I hope you do it with love and gratitude. A lot of hard work goes into growing the produce, raising the animals, cooking the meals, and this is a time to share that with the people you love. If you share your holiday with children, I hope that you share this message with them. Take time to be thankful for your meal, thankful for your loved ones, and thankful to this crazy world we live in. 


From my house to yours, I want you to know that we are grateful for you. I am grateful for you and your support in my business, and we wish you and yours a beautiful celebration. 


Eat Wisely,

Jessica