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Thanksgiving… Without Feeling “Stuffed” {Recipes}

by Elise Museles

ThanksgivingBack by popular demand! A Thanksgiving unstuffed survival guide that allows you to savor your family favorites without falling into a food coma.

Thanksgiving is a time to celebrate with family & friends and honor special traditions. The scrumptious aroma of Grandma’s famous pumpkin pie filling the house. Your “secret” family stuffing recipe that you all swear is “the best.” The creative ways you prepare your leftovers.

Luckily, it is possible to relish your family classics and add in a bit of a modern (healthy!) twist. This way, you can breeze through the holiday without piling on ten tons of guilt (and still be able to button your pants!)

So, from my table and the tables of some of my favorite foodie friends & bloggers, I’ve got you covered with a line up of delicious & nutritious Thanksgiving day strategies and recipes to help you feel great at your holiday feast this year.

Wake up call. Forget about starving the whole day and “saving up” for the meal. You’ll just end up angry, hungry and without the ability to make wise choices when it’s finally time to eat. (hungry + angry = hangry. Don’t let it happen to you!)

Balance your blood sugar throughout the day with healthy fats, fiber and protein. Set the tone at breakfast with a seasonal Pumpkin Spice Smoothie or a Pumpkin Quinoa Breakfast Bowl . (I promise if you skip breakfast, you’ll more than make up for it later.)

ThanksgivingGreet your guests. Last year, everyone was handed a piping hot mug filled with Roasted Butternut Squash Soup at the door. This year, I’m going to test out my friend Gena of Choosing Raw’s Kabocha Squash, Pear & Ginger Bisque and make some Roasted Root Veggie Chips to serve on the side… or dip in the soup. This warm greeting is like a comforting hug in a mug!

Get your green on. Turkey is often the scene-stealer at the table, but making room for veggies to play a  “starring” role will leave you feeling satisfied and energized. From a simple Roasted Asparagus or Roasted Brussels Sprouts  to my all-time favorite Brussels Sprouts with Slivered Almonds & Dates, you can fill up on tasty sides without filling out.

And if you’re in the mood to add a colorful salad to your table, I’ve created this beautiful Roasted Root Vegetable Salad with a balsamic maple vinaigrette that you can serve instead of another starchy vegetable this year. It’s delish!

Hold the potatoes (or some of them).  Want to instantly lighten your meal? Swap traditional buttery & creamy mashed potatoes for a less heavy dish, like this one created by my LA recipe guru, Pamela Salzman. Her Cauliflower Mash uses half potatoes and half cauliflower. So scrumptiously sneaky… in the best possible way.

Sweet sweets. Saweet Potato Casserole with A Crunchy Nut Crumble. Yes, please! Angela of Oh She Glows does it again. Her recipes are always fantastic, and this is on the top of my list for Thanksgiving 2014! You’ll enjoy a sweet sensation without any refined sugar or dairy.

ThanksgivingRelish those cranberries. My superfood superstar pals of Gouter have created an amazingly simple yet fragrant Cran Rosemary Relish. How’s that for a healthy twist?

That leaves us with dessert.  Elissa Goodman, my nutritional soul sister, makes these Grown Up Fig Bars that are out of this world. They’re easy to bake and transport if you’re bringing dessert elsewhere, too. Or, if you’re making a gluten-free pumpkin pie or any kind of pie for Thanksgiving, Pamela Salzman just released an instructional short video on how to nail the perfect crust. Check out her Thanksgiving section too!

Make it mindful. For an extra dose of goodness, I have a handy list of my favorite strategies for mindful eating here.

And, if you do end up overindulging at your feast, remember the guilt and negative self-talk do way more harm to your body than the mound of stuffing or the big old slice of pecan pie.

Tomorrow’s a new day. Move your body. Fill up on meaningful conversation with houseguests. Load your plate with cleansing fruits & veggies. If your digestion needs some soothing support, make some Green Lemonade  – double the ginger!

Question of the day: What’s one healthy strategy you’re committed to this Thanksgiving? Kicking off your morning with a nutritious breakfast? Filling your plate with vibrant veggies? Organizing a post-feast family walk? Share it below!

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