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Eat Clean(er) This Thanksgiving

Nov 11, 2015

Stores now advertise holiday decorations and seasonal foods months in advance. The push to decorate, plan, and cook for the holidays can get overwhelming to the point that we cut corners. You know it will take 4 hours to baste and roast the Thanksgiving turkey, so why not use boxed mashed potatoes instead of peeling spuds all morning – or purchase a pre-made pie instead of baking from scratch?

But along with some popular pre-packaged Thanksgiving dishes come artificial colors, excessive amounts of sodium and other harmful additives. In order to aim for a cleaner Thanksgiving; we’ll show you some alternative recipes and semi-homemade options that will be sure to satisfy your guests.

Cranberries

Canned cranberry versus homemade cranberry sauce is an age-old Thanksgiving debate. Despite its nostalgic can-rings, the leading brand of canned jellied cranberry sauce contains 25 grams of carbs and a whopping 21 grams of sugar per ¼ cup serving. Keep in mind that while cranberries are naturally tart, the main ingredient in most canned options besides the fruit is high fructose corn syrup. We checked around and Stonewall Kitchen makes a nice Cranberry Relish that could serve as a better store-bought alternative.

Homemade variations are simple, usually comprised of just cranberries, sugar, and water. While still very sweet, homemade recipes contain much less sugar, try this 20-minute homemade cranberry sauce if you’re up for a change—or to incite further debate!  

cranberries-112155_1280

Source: Huffington Post

Stuffing

What’s so bad about boxed stuffing, it’s just some bread and spices, right?

Not so fast. Every stuffing mix has added sugar. Nearly half the available products have BHA and BHT chemicals (preservatives to keep the oils from oxidizing and spoiling). One ½ cup serving of the leading stuffing brand contains 29% of your daily salt intake and includes ingredients like niacin, high fructose corn syrup, hydrolyzed soy protein, and monosodium glutamate.

Can’t say that sounds too appetizing, so here’s a clean, chemical-free recipe that won’t take you all day to prepare. French bread sounds a whole lot better than MSG!

ContentImage-454-146569-IMG_0336

Pie

It’s the grand finale, the quintessential conclusion to this epic November meal: pie. Making a pie by hand can be an all-day event, and grabbing one at the supermarket seems like a simpler option; same for picking up a pre-made crust and canned filling. Have you ever taken a look at what’s in those cans, though? It’s along the same lines as the jellied cranberry: high fructose corn syrup and modified food starch. Pumpkin pie filling is healthier than the cranberries, but still has added sugar syrup, which brings the total sugar per 1/3 cup serving to 17g.

Try your hand at a healthy (semi) homemade pie this season; we’d love to see the results. Here are a few recipes for pumpkin and apple pie to get you started. And if you’re hesitant to try and make your own crust, look for a Non-GMO, preservative-free option like Immaculate Baking offers.

HD-200911-r-classic-pumpkin-pie Photo Courtesy of Foodandwine.com

Enjoy your Thanksgiving without over-loading on sodium and sugar. Your dishes might even taste better—and your body will thank you for the changes. Be sure to share your favorite Turkey-Day dishes with us @GFMSimple!

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