Welcome to the first post of Thanksgiving Week 2014! Every day for the next 7 days I’ll be posting a new Turkey Day recipe that’s easy to make, guaranteed to please your guests and also healthy. Yes, it’s possible!
You might be wondering why, as a Canadian, I’m writing about a holiday that has already passed here in the Great White North. For one, the majority of my readers are American, so feels almost wrong not to provide recipe ideas around the time most are brainstorming their Thanksgiving menus.
Second, my husband and I have been celebrating both Canadian and American Thanksgiving for the past few years as a means of enjoying the holiday with both sides of our families. This new tradition means that I really am making Thanksgiving-themed dishes right now, so I might as well share them with you!
A healthy Thanksgiving: Is it possible to make everyone happy?
If you’re the one doing the cooking this Thanksgiving, preparing a healthy meal is easier said than done. Even if you normally eat nutritiously in your day-to-day life, chances are not everyone wants to have steamed kale and tofurkey forced upon them on their favourite holiday.
Of course, if your guests are down with it, then more power to you! It’s just that sometimes an über-healthy menu, or one that is strictly vegetarian or vegan, can be alienating/disappointing/dissatisfying for some of your guests. It depends on the crowd.
Take my dad, for example. He’s an adventurous eater but somewhat of a traditionalist when it comes to certain things. Given the choice, he’d rather have a single slice of chocolate cake made with white flour, white sugar and real butter with plenty of homemade frosting than an unlimited supply of some flourless concoction laced with applesauce, black beans and coconut oil. Sounds appealing to me, but to him it just doesn’t cut it – especially for a special occasion. Fair enough!
Balancing the healthy with the traditional
My solution is to seek balance when deciding what to cook for Thanksgiving. Make a few of the classic dishes your family and friends can’t imagine not having (buttery mashed potatoes and turkey with stuffing and gravy should do the trick), and then supplement the menu with some lighter options.
By offering an assortment of colourful, beautifully plated healthy dishes packed with different flavours and textures, even the “meat and potatoes” types will be inclined to give them a try. Think roasted root vegetables, a hearty vegetarian main, chunky salads, bright vegetable slaws, grain pilafs and puréed vegetable soups.
That way, those who would prefer a lighter or even meatless meal can load up their plates with delicious veggie-based dishes, and those who would rather stick to tradition can feel satisfied as well. I can’t think of a better way to please a crowd of hungry family and friends.
Be sure to check back in the coming days as Thanksgiving Week 2014 continues!