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The Trek to the Turkey – Gearing Up for Thanksgiving Day

Healthy eating and Thanksgiving are not considered synonyms. Thanksgiving is typically viewed as a day you SHOULD leave the table so morbidly full, pants unbuttoned and sporting a full-on turkey tryptophan coma.

I’m not here to squash your ideal Thanksgiving. In fact, I am here to help make it better (gasp!) We tend to forget that the holidays are just a day and not a whole month. Therefore, you have my approval to get buck-wild on Thanksgiving Day.

However, I am here to help you think of the prep, some delicious suggestions on how you can improve the health value (if you are interested), and some solid tips on what to do with all those leftovers!


Make your list, check it twice, and get to the grocery store ASAP! I’m serious, that place is about to get wild! Finish reading this post first and then spring into action.

What you need to do right now:

  1. Consider all the dishes that you want to cook for Thanksgiving Day, and write them down on a piece of paper (ex: Turkey, green beans, potatoes, rice, cheese, salad, pies etc.)

  2. Now, write out all the ingredients that you will need for said dishes. Put check marks next to everything you already have.

  3. Take your pen and paper and head to the grocery store. Make sure you check off everything as you put it in your cart. That way you will not leave anything off and make several trips back to the store.

  4. Get home, unpack, and start prepping whatever you can. Prepping your food is amazing. Having everything ready to go at least the day before means on Thanksgiving Day all you must do is pre-heat the oven and pop the food in.

  5. One of the most important rules: make sure you give the turkey PLENTY of time to cook!

Healthier Alternatives:

Have you all checked out my Pinterest page, yet? If not, check it out! It has loads of paleo and low-carb meal options to help keep your food as REAL as possible!

Sweet Potato Casserole --> Mashed Sweet Potatoes.

Crockpot sweet potatoes and AMAZING! They do not require any extra sweetener or meringue topping full of sugar. All you need to do is wash well, put a big slit in the middle, and put your sweet potatoes in the crockpot on high for 4 hours. You will need about 4-6 sweet potatoes depending on how big your party is. Assume 1 sweet potato for every 3 people. When they are done, they will be incredibly mushy and easy to peel away from the skin. Put the insides in a casserole dish and serve.

Green Bean Casserole --> Steamed Green Beans

Another extremely easy alternative to the old classic. 20 minutes before dinner, rinse the green beans and put them on the stove top in a pot with about ½ cup of water. Turn the heat on high and allow to boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to medium and place a lid on top. Steam for about 6-8 minutes until the green beans and soft. Drain the water and season with 1-2 tablespoons of either olive oil, butter, or ghee plus salt and pepper to taste.

Cauliflower Stuffing

Paleo, low-carb, and full of flavor. Can you ask for more? 4 tbsp butter or coconut oil, 1 chopped onion, 2 large chopped carrots, 1 small head chopped cauliflower, 1 cup chopped mushrooms, salt, pepper, ¼ cup chopped parsley, 2 tbsp chopped rosemary, 1 tsp ground sage, ½ cup vegetable broth.

Melt butter or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add onion and carrots and saute until soft (8 minutes). Add cauliflower and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook until tender (5-10 minutes). Add parsley, rosemary, and sage and stir until combined, then pour over vegetable broth and cover with a lid until tender (about 15 minutes). Serve.

Sweet Potato Marshmallow Bites

A very cute and delicious recipe. Pre-heat oven to 400F. Cut sweet potatoes into little medallions and cover with melted butter. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and place a marshmallow on top of each sweet potato medallion. Place in BROILER for 1 minute. Remove and top with 1 walnut on each marshmallow. Place in broiler for 1 minute. Allow to cool and then serve.

DIY Cranberry

1 ½ cup frozen cranberries, ¼ cup orange juice (freshly squeezed is best), zet of one orange, ½ cup sugar. Cook cranberries, orange juice, orange zest, and sugar in a small sauce pan and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes until the sauce is reduced to a nice, thick liquid (you will hear some cranberries burst, pop the rest once reduced). Allow it to cool prior to serving.

Paleo Gravy

½ tsp garlic powder, 1 ¼ cup chicken broth, 1 Tbsp heavy coconut milk (or heavy cream), ¼ tsp black pepper, and 1 ½ Tablespoon of arrowroot powder (can also use rice powder).

Paleo Pumpkin Pie

Crust: Add ½ cup arrowroot flour and ½ tsp sea salt to a medium sized mixing bowl. Combine 1/3 cup coconut oil, 1/3 cup coconut milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup and put over medium heat on the stove top. Once boiling, take it off the heat and pour it into the arrowroot and salt mixture. Stir until combined. Add in one egg and stir to combine. Add in 1/3 cup coconut flour and stir until combined. Add in additional coconut flour until it forms a dough starting at ½ cup at a time. Press the flour into a lightly greased 9 inche pie pan.

Pie filling: Preheat oven to 425F. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together 16 oz of pumpkin puree, 1 cup coconut milk, 3 eggs, ½ cup maple syrup, 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract, 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice, and a pinch of salt. Mix all the ingredients together. Pour into pie crust and bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn down the oven to 350F and bake for 35 minutes or until the center is set.

What to do after the feast:

  1. Pack away all the leftovers to enjoy tomorrow!

  2. To help aid in digestion, sip on some coffee or tea and go for a walk.

Take a nap

If you need any help navigating the healthy pitfalls that are the holidays, set up your free 15-minute consult now!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Aimee Paladino

The Functional RD

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