Healthy Holiday Ingredient Swaps

via lismarieblog
I don't know about y'all, but I live for Thanksgiving food, and my family does it up big. I go to two Thanksgivings every year - a formal one with my mom's side and a casual one on football Saturday with my dad's side -  so I get twice the food. Unfortunately, that also means twice the calories!

This year, my goal is to not binge like I usually do. I'm more conscious of my weight and nutrition now than I have been in recent years so I thought this year might be a good opportunity to look into making some healthy ingredient swaps in my favorite recipes. Here are some ideas I've come up with to make your Thanksgiving feast (a little bit) healthier:

For baking...
- 1 banana instead of 2 eggs
- Applesauce instead of butter
- Applesauce/coconut oil instead of canola oil
- Stevia instead of sugar
- Whole wheat flour instead of regular
- Whipped coconut cream instead of whipped cream

For side dishes...
- Wild rice instead of white bread in your stuffing
- Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes
- Frozen cranberries + cranberry juice instead of canned cranberries
- Greek yogurt + spices instead of sour cream for your casseroles and dips
- Crushed nuts instead of breadcrumbs for your casseroles
- Avocado instead of mayo for your casseroles
- A squeeze of lemon or lime juice instead of salt

For the experience...
- Wine spritzers (3 parts wine, 2 parts club soda) instead of wine
- Lettuce instead of bread for leftover turkey sandwiches
- Serve leftover turkey over spiralized vegetable noodles with homemade pesto

Other tips...
- Skip the high-calorie casseroles in favor of fresh vegetables (green beans instead of green bean casserole, fresh corn instead of creamed corn, etc)
- Eat white meat turkey instead of dark meat
- Cook as much as possible rather than buying from the store (storebought often lacks a lot of nutrition)
- Instead of snacking on chips and other unhealthy snacks while waiting for the turkey to cook, buy or make a veggie tray and/or a cheese board
- Try to have at least one healthy vegetable side for every dessert 
- Get out and walk! Don't worry about a full-blown workout during the holidays, but a quick 30-minute walk before or after each big meal will help to keep you on track

Bonus: If you want some Thanksgiving tablescape inspiration, check out this roundup from lizmarieblog. I can't wait to start decorating my table!

These are just a few easy tips and tricks I've gathered, but the great thing is that you can mix and match and use as many or as few as you want! There are so many ways to be healthier during the holidays just by making a few easy changes. The only thing better than Thanksgiving food is healthy Thanksgiving food!

Do you have any good ways to keep Thanksgiving a little lighter? Let me know in the comments!

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