You’ve been eating your veggies and watching your portions, but Thanksgiving is about to throw a wrench into your healthy habits! But, before you throw in the towel, is there a way to make those Thanksgiving favorites work for you? These 15 sneaky ways to boost nutrition will help give your Thanksgiving dish more nutrient bang for your buck!
Eating a diet of whole foods is crucial for including those micronutrients that lead to optimal health, but sometimes life just gets in the way. In fact, about 8 in 10 people don’t consume enough vitamins and minerals on a daily basis which leaves them feeling tired, sluggish and unwell. Not thrilled about being one of the 8 in 10? These 15 sneaky ways to boost nutrition should help get your name on the “good list”:
1. Add avocado + pumpkin baked goods
Pumpkin is synonymous with fall baking, but it’s one of our favorite sneaky ways to boost nutrition in our favorite treats year-round. You can use pumpkin puree as a healthier swap for oil + butter to add fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins to dessert without sacrificing taste! For oil, the ratio is one to one. For butter, multiply the amount of butter by 3/4 (i.e. if you need one cup of butter, use 3/4 cup puree).
You can also substitute mashed avocado for butter or shortening in recipes. Don’t believe us? Try this recipe for Pumpkin Protein Muffins using your TLS® Shake powder for a tasty bit of proof!
2. Mash some cauliflower
If mashed potatoes are making an appearance at your Thanksgiving meal, substitute half of the mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower! Simply steam + mash cauliflower, then add it to your mashed potatoes and season as usual.
3. Shred spinach into meatballs
Shredding up spinach to add into turkey or tofu meatballs will add vitamins and help keep the meatballs from drying out! Plus, no one will be able to taste the added vegetables which makes it perfect for the little ones who might be on the pickier side of eating.
4. Pump up macaroni and cheese
Mix in some chopped vegetables with the macaroni and cheese as another easy + sneaky way to boost nutrition! If your family members will gripe about veggies they can see, stick with pureed butternut squash since the cheese masks the color and the taste.
5. Add vegetables to casseroles
Just like the spinach in the meatballs and squash in the mac + cheese, finely chopped vegetables are virtually undetectable in casseroles since there’s so much else happening! The flavors mesh together and the texture is hidden in the mix which gives you room for a sneaky nutrition addition.
6. Use cauliflower in soup
Pureed cauliflower gives soups a creamy, silky feel without adding any dairy. Not only does this majorly cut down on fat and calories, but it also boosts the micronutrients + fiber! For extra depth of flavor, roast the cauliflower with garlic and avocado oil before pureeing it.
7. Make zoodles
Zucchini noodles are another good substitution for pasta dishes that generally appear on Thanksgiving to appeal to the little ones. While you can use these as linguini noodles and cover them in sauce, you can also use zucchini as the pasta layer in lasagnas or pasta casseroles!
8. Add beets for Red Velvet Cupcakes
Skip the food coloring and use beets to naturally color Red Velvet Cupcakes. The flavor of the chocolate disguises the taste of the beets, and it’s one of our favorite sneaky ways to boost nutrition! Beets are low in calories, high in fiber, and a good source of potassium, magnesium, manganese, and iron.
9. Fatten Up
Not all vitamins are easily absorbed by your body on an empty stomach. Vitamins A, D, E, and K are fat-soluble which means that your body must have dietary fats available to absorb those important nutrients!
Keep it heart-healthy by adding diced avocado or an olive oil-based dressing to a spinach salad, add an extra handful of walnuts to your sweet potato, or dip your veggies (or veggie fries!) into hummus to help these healthy foods really deliver the benefits!
10. Cook Veggies Quickly
Did you know that overcooking or cooking vegetables the wrong way can reduce their nutritional value? To get the most out of them, cook veggies lightly and quickly! This tip on our list of sneaky ways to boost nutrition will help to retain water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C and many B vitamins.
11. Don’t Skip the Skin
Save the effort when it comes to eating produce and keep the peels for their nutritional benefits! The outer skin of fruits and veggies contains many disease-fighting antioxidants, as well as the fiber that’s so important for helping keep you regular + feeling full. Plus, the change in texture is a good way to mix up basic recipes like apple cookies or crumbles!
12. Drop the filler foods.
We do love the breads and starches that take up a significant caloric portion of your Thanksgiving plate, but these guilty pleasures just aren’t giving much back nutritionally. Try replacing these servings with more vegetables or other nutritionally-dense foods like sweet potato or beets + you’ve got an easy, sneaky way to boost nutrition this Thanksgiving!
13. Consider flax + chia seeds
Many plant-based eaters have already discovered the magic of chia + flax seeds. These tiny seeds offer protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids with a mild taste that makes for an easy addition to baked goods.
For flax, replace no more than 1/4 cup of every cup of flour the recipe calls for with ground flaxseed. For chia seeds, toss them on your salads and into your baked goods in the form of whole seeds or chia eggs!
14. Swap stock for bone broth
You’ve probably heard the buzz about bone broth. Bone broth is rich in minerals which support the immune system and contains healing compounds like collagen, glutamine, glycine, and proline, and it tastes great! It’s easy enough to use it as a replacement for water or chicken broth when you cook, a great base for gravy, and perfect for moistening up leftover turkey!
15. Swap sugar for raw honey
Honey is a great natural alternative to refined sugar, but raw honey is even better for you! Unlike the cheaper, mainstream honey found in large supermarkets, raw honey hasn’t been processed as much which allows it to retain more vitamins and minerals. If you’re going to sweeten up that coffee or looking for a way to sweeten up those sweet potatoes, you might as well make your sweetener work for you! How’s that for one of our sneaky ways to boost nutrition?
How are you sneaking a little extra nutrition into your Thanksgiving meals?
Tell us in the comments below!