Thanksgiving is the holiday where we indulge our gluttonous side with heaping portions of comfort food. It’s also family-centered and a day we show gratitude for the relationships that we have with others by sharing a fabulous meal. This holiday meal doesn’t need to be a reason for days of dietary regret. Planning the menu ahead of time with your children with healthy options will encourage excitement about a Thanksgiving dinner everyone can feel good about.
Fresh is Best
The easiest way to making a healthier Thanksgiving is using fresh ingredients. Avoiding all the preservatives, additives, and unnecessary sweeteners can take some planning ahead. With kids, fruit and vegetables offer a colorful and fun way to add fresh ingredients. Many Thanksgiving menus involve seasonal ingredients such as pumpkin, yams, and apples. Shopping for these at a farmers market is a fun way to encourage kids to eat healthy and become involved in the entire meal process.
Skip the giant portions by serving dishes in smaller containers. Instead of a pie, serving the filling with a crumble top in a small mason jar or inside of a hollowed out apple is a great way to present the dessert and keep portions in check.
To cut back on sugar and fats in a meal, look for substitutions. Not necessarily artificial sweeteners, but things like fruit butters for a dinner roll instead of traditional butter. There are many substitutions that can be made that keep the sweet taste kids love in a healthier way.
Keep it Fun
Involving kids in the meal from planning to preparation is the best way to create an enjoyable holiday meal. Younger kids can help choose dishes by pictures in a cookbook, while older children may help with making the shopping list and preparing the ingredients. Recipes that include appetizers or desserts in fun shapes are easily found online and can be a great way to introduce kids to healthier ingredients.