Healthy Food Swap #1: Trade Turkey
for Mains Made Out of Whole, Plant Foods
Dating as far back as the mid-19th century,
turkey has been the official centerpiece of
And with more than 730 million pounds of turkey consumed in
the U.S. during Thanksgiving in 2016, it’s no wonder so many people call it
don’t have to eat a turkey to give thanks.
Compared to other meats — such as red meat or
processed meats (which the World Health Organization deemed to be “probably
carcinogenic” and “carcinogenic” in a 2015
report) — many people think turkey is healthier or better for them.
But, the risks of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes, andmortality all
rise with the level of meat intake — and turkey is not exempt.
Plus, most turkeys are raised on factory farms
and confined to crowded grow houses. Unless the farm is certified organic, turkey feed often contains antibiotics. This
practice has led to the rapid development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria,
sometimes called “superbugs.” And these superbugs are no longer treatable by
any known antibiotic.
Grown in filthy conditions, modern turkeys are a leading source
of food poisoning. Two types of bacteria, Campylobacter and Salmonella, are
commonly found in the guts and feathers of these birds — up to half of whom
could be contaminated.
So if you don’t have a turkey at Thanksgiving or
Christmas, what can you eat?
Rest assured you can still have a fabulous
holiday dinner without a turkey.
Thanks to the global rise in
plant-based eating, a variety of turkey-free alternatives are available in
supermarkets today. While we can all agree that eating less meat is better for
your health and the planet, many of these substitutes contain heavily processed
ingredients (many of which you can’t even pronounce). They also contain lots of
sodium and unhealthy fats. In other words, they’re not that healthy.
If you’re looking
for a healthier, meat-free main, here are
some healthy food swaps you can try. First, there’s this Thanksgiving
Meatless Loaf from Susan Voisin of FatFree Vegan. Between the mix of
whole foods and fall flavors, you won’t even miss the turkey — or feel the need
to take a nap!
Stuffed acorn or
butternut squash, such as this Stuffed
Acorn Squash: With a Quinoa, Hazelnut, Apple Stuffing from
Plants-Rule, is another main dish option. When hollowed out and filled with
whole grains, greens, and nuts, these winter squashes (which are both in season during
the fall) will leave your guests saying “Oh my gourd!”
One more idea: Don’t worry about a main dish or
centerpiece! You can enjoy an abundant and satisfying holiday meal made from
just “sides” — many of which can hold their own as fabulous star players.
Healthy Food Swap #2: Whip Mashed Potatoes Without Butter or Cream
Who doesn’t love piling a mound of warm and
creamy mashed potatoes on their plate?
Most mashed potato recipes call for a
combination of milk or heavy cream and butter (and sometimes all the above).
While potatoes in their whole form can be healthy, mashing them with milk
and multiple sticks of butter is not.
A strong link
exists between dairy consumption and digestive issues.
And it may also be connected to an increased risk of certain types of cancers,
including prostate and breast cancer.
But here’s the good news: You can have your mashed potatoes at the
holidays (or any time!) and be healthy, too!
Instead of using milk or cream, try swapping it
out for plant-based milk, like this recipe for Smashed
Potatoes from Plants-Rule.
Healthy Food Swap #3: Bathe Your Mashed Potatoes in Plant-Based
You can easily give your gravy a healthy upgrade
by using whole, plant-based ingredients. Vegetable broth or non-dairy milk are
two healthy food swaps that work really well.
With only six ingredients, this gravy recipe from
Nora Cooks is easy to make and ready in just a few minutes. Mushrooms are also
a great addition to gravy, as shown here in this Port
Mushroom Gravyrecipe from Plants-Rule.