Holiday Meal Planning

Greetings Friends!

It’s beginning to look a lot like the time of year that we plan holiday meals!  If you are like me, you are considering ways to make the meals healthier.  I skim through magazines, look at my favorite foodie websites and, of course, use my Mother’s traditional recipes and altar them a bit.

My family and I are guests at my sister’s home for Thanksgiving and she always puts me in charge of the vegetables.  Sounds simple right?  Well, this group likes the green bean casserole lathered in cream based soups, mashed potatoes with sticks of butter and whole milk, sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows and salad is not usually front and center.  Desserts are not scarce though.  There is usually multiple pies to choose from and no one but me eats the cranberry sauce!

My work is cut out for me to create healthy dishes that they will eat and not feel like they’ve just been cheated out of Thanksgiving!  This is a bit challenging to say the least!

So I get busy creating my dishes and here are a few that I will do this year.

Sweet potatoes:

Start with 3 lbs small sweet potatoes, 1 cup pecans, broken into pieces, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, 1/8 teaspoon cayenne, 3 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary, Kosher salt and 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup.

1.     While oven is heating to 425 degrees, prick each potato with fork and microwave on high for 6 minutes turning them over until soft.  Let stand until cool enough to handle.

2.     Toss pecans with oil, Parmesan, cayenne, 2 tsp. rosemary and ½ tsp. salt and roast about 3 minutes.  Toss with remaining teaspoon rosemary.

3.     Peel potatoes and mash with maple syrup and ½ tsp. salt until smooth.  Transfer into a serving dish and top with pecans.

Recipes serves 8, about 280 calories, 5 g/protein, 30 g/carbs, 18 g/fat (2 g/saturated fat), 5 g/fiber and 325 mg/sodium.

Roasted Vegetables:  Chop up colorful carrots and sweet peppers, zucchini, squash, onions, broccoli, and tubers (root vegetables such as purple potatoes that are high in nutrients and very low calories).  These are just some that I like but you pick your faves!

Toss them together in a large bowl with just enough olive oil to coat them, add sea salt and black pepper.  Please them on a baking sheet and add sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary and bake for about 30 minutes at 375 degrees.  These are low calorie, high fiber foods so load the plate with these first!

Stay tuned for more healthy versions of holiday goodies in the next blog!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving and, as always, be well!


Sherry Jenko, NDTR, Wellness Coach