Healthy Thanksgiving Side Ideas

While we know the turkey is the star of the show, the sides are what make Thanksgiving the great culinary production that it is! Yes, the carby dishes like mashed potatoes and stuffing are what everyone goes for, but don’t be afraid to get creative with your veggies so they get the proper attention they deserve. 

Below are a few sides that will actually get people coming back for seconds:

Parmesan Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Coconut Oil

Butternut Squash Fries

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

Sweet Potato Wedges

 Happy Thanksgiving! We are certainly thankful for this community of healthy foodies! 

Shepherd’s Pie with Parmesan Brussel Sprouts

Normally, comfort food does not involve kale or carrots but carbs, cream, sugar, and all things that leave us bloated and slightly disappointed with ourselves. But, one of the best ways to keep your diet on track is to put a healthy spin on that comfort food you crave. 

For this shepherd’s pie, we’ve upped the veggies and replaced the white potato for its orange cousin. It certainly is a great, warm recipe for the cool weather and will fill you up without the enhanced belly. 


Ingredients: Bunch of diced carrots, sliced mushrooms, kale, Brussel sprouts, half of white onion, half of bag of frozen peas, 1 1/2 lbs lean beef, 2 large sweet potatoes


Meat and Veggies: Heat a large skillet with olive oil on low. Add onions, mushrooms and carrots first and cover for about 15 minutes. Add kale, diced carrots, and peas.

Season beef as you like (we added garlic powder, salt, pepper, cumin, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar). Gradually add meat to the skillet. Raise heat. 


Sweet Potatoes: Peel sweet potatoes and slice. Bring a medium size pot of water to boil and add potatoes. Once soft, strain and let cool. In a large bowl, add butter or coconut oil and salt. Smash with a masher until smooth.

 

Pie: In a casserole dish, spread out veggie meat mixture. Top with mashed sweet potatoes. Bake for 20 minutes. Broil for 5.  


Brussel Sprouts: Cut Brussel Spouts vertically. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Dip in olive oil. Spread out on an a cooking sheet and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake on 350 for 20 minutes. Broil for 5. 

It’s best if served with a spatula. The smooth sweet potatoes and savory beef compliment each other amazingly that you forget all about those regular, old white potatoes.

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

There’s certainly a lot of debates going on these days. Yeah, there’s that whole whose going to run the US come November, but the only one this blog feels comfortable taking a stance on is whether you love or hate Pumpkin Spice! 

It’s always great to integrate what vegetation is in season into your diet. It allows you to try new things while possibly introducing some new nutrients into your body. So, we are more than on board with adding some pumpkin into our meals this Fall! That is, if it’s the actual squash and not some chemical that a certain huge chain coffeehouse concoctes.๐Ÿ˜œ

Pumpkin itself is not the greatest on it’s own. It doesn’t contain much natural sugar like sweet potatoes do so you get a very Earthy taste. That’s why it’s frequently paired with signature Fall spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and clove. 

Ingredients: 3 medium size sweet potatoes, 1 smaller size butternut squash, 2 Granny Smith apples, 1 can of pumpkin,  1 can coconut cream, nutmeg, ground cinnamon, clove, allspice, 2 tablespoons of raw sugar, pinch of flour

Directions: Peel and cut butternut squash  in half. Seed and cube. Wash and cut apples and sweet potatoes. Spray a baking sheet and add your fruits/veggies. Bake on 350 for about 25 minutes. You may want to bake apples separately for a shorter time as they can get a bit mushy. 

Open can of pumpkin and coconut cream (I’ve only seen this at Trader Joe’s). Mixture together in food processor (use about 3/4 of can of cream). Add spices, sugar and flour. If too thin, add more flour (same with sweetness). 

Once completed, drizzle pumpkin sauce over fruit/veggies. We made this with unseasoned chicken and added the pumpkin mixture to it as well. 


This combination will definitely get you into the Fall spirit. It’s a nice break from broccoli and Brussel sprouts while still getting your veggie intake. 

Stuffed Chicken Pockets

Happy Labor Day Weekend to our American readers and apologizes for the lapse in posts! Summer is ending but it doesn’t mean your healthy eating plan needs to go into hibernation! Tonight’s post is an all-in-one flavor bomb that goes great over anything. 


Ingredients: Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, 1/2 white onion, sliced mushrooms, bell pepper (any color desired), bunch of spinach leaves, fresh mozarella, one garlic clove. 

Directions: Chop all veggies. Fry over a medium heated skillet. Save some of the chopped garlic to season your chicken. Add spinach leaves once onions have browned. Let sit and cool.


Wash chicken breasts (about half of one is enough for one person). Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, minced garlic, and oregano. Evenly cut the breasts laterally. You need to have enough room for your stuffing without completely cutting in half. Season inside as well. 


Once veggies have cooled, begin spooning into the inside of your chicken breasts. Cut the mozarella to size and evenly disperse throughout pocket. 

Once all chickens have been stuffed, cook on 350 for about 45 minutes. 


The key to making this dish taste original and not just regular old chicken, veggies and a little bit of cheese is to make sure the breasts are thoroughly seasoned, inside and out. Spices are what make or break a healthy recipe. Get creative! 

Pulled Pork Sweet Potato Sliders

So, the title kinda sells itself. Pulled pork? Amazing. Sliders? Give it here. This dish takes the bad stuff out with eliminating the sugary, processed BBQ sauce and the white bread. Plus, it’s a dump and go meal, so it requires little prep time. 


Ingredients: Pork shoulder/Boston butt (3.5 lb used here), 3 Sweet Potatos (1 makes about 3 sliders), 1/4 onion (red used here, any will work), 1 clove of garlic, 1 can of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons agave nectar 

Directions: Dice onion and garlic. Cook over a medium skillet until browned. Reduce heat. Add 4 tablespoons of tomato paste, soy sauce, the vinegars, and the agave. Mix thoroughly in pan. Once done, pat the pork down with the mixture. Try to cover as much as possible. 

Place the pork in the slow cooker. Add about a cup of water (depending on size of cooker) and any additional spices (garlic powder, cayenne, etc). Place on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5. Once done, use fork to shred. 


Sliders: Cut potatoes about 1″ thick. This will give them enough size to house the pork while not giving an overwhelming potato taste. Lightly season with olive oil and s&p. Bake on a baking sheet for 30 minutes on 350. 

While higher in fat than most proteins, the substitution of a good complex carbohydrate like sweet potato for a plain, old white bun will be the real difference maker when it comes to your diet. Just stick with some broccoli on the side and not French fries๐Ÿ˜œ.

All American Granola Bars (V)

Regardless if keeping a healthy diet or not, we all like a good bar. But the purpose of the handheld treat differs greatly: A snickers bar to appease a sweet tooth, a protein bar post workout, or a breakfast bar when running out the door in the morning.  Most bars, however, are pumped full of artificial sweeteners and other harmful additives that sacrifice nutritional value for convenience. That’s why it’s always best to make your own!

strawberries and blueberries
Ingredients: 2 cups rolled oats, 2 tablespoons of flax seeds, 2 tablespoons of chia seeds, handful of strawberries, handful of blueberries, 1 scoop of vegan protein powder, 1 tablespoon of coconut oil. Add honey/agave to taste. 

Directions: Soak flax seeds in 4 1/2 tablespoons of water for 5 minutes. Mix oats, protein powder, chia seeds, coconut oil, and flax mixture. Cut strawberries and blueberries in half. Add to mixture. Make sure to mix thoroughly so protein powder is fully dissolved. 

granola mixture
Once mixed, form bars onto greased tin foil on pan (recipe makes 6). Bake for 15 mins. Let cool for at least 5 minutes.

Granola Bars preoven
You can see that we chose our berries with America in mind. Happy (belated) Independence Day to all our American followers!

While the honey or agave will give it additional sweetness, the berries and protein give plenty of natural sugar so it’s not necessary. These are great in the morning, post workout, or when you just need something sweet. Hey, looks like we fulfilled all three!

Steak Pasta Primavera

Pasta Primavera
Not all pasta is created equally. Well, actually it is, but then it’s processed, stripped of the majority of its nutritional value and has a pound of cream dumped  on top it and is then called cuisine. **cough** Olive Garden.

Whole wheat pasta has much more vitamins and fiber than its lighter component. Also, it has a much lighter taste and doesn’t give you that heavy gut feeling when you’re done eating. 

whole wheat pasta
Ingredients: Whole wheat shells (any whole wheat pasta will work), .87 lb of round steak, bunch of asparagus, bunch of carrot sticks, 1/4 onion, sliced mushrooms, 1 clove of garlic, Parmesan cheese to taste

Directions: Boil water, add pasta and sliced carrots. Taste to check if soft.

Steak with Veggies
Slice veggies. Cut up raw meat separately. Add garlic, mushrooms and onion to heated pan. Once browned, add meat. Once sufficiently cooked, add asparagus and tomatoes. 

Once pasta is in colander and dryer, add garlic powder, salt and pepper. In large bowl, combine pasta, meat, and veggies. Once mixed together, add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and mix. Add a bit of Parmesan cheese to taste. 

Steak Pasta Primavera
Pasta tends to get a bad reputation for its heavy carb content. But it can be indulged in as long as it’s portion controlled. This recipe perfectly shows how to balance out good carbs with plenty of protein and veggies.