Healthy alternatives for your Thanksgiving spread

 Holidays, birthdays and life’s milestones all take on a different tone for someone with a restrictive diet. Whether they made the choice to be more healthy, lose weight or they’re under doctor’s orders, it’s not easy or fun – especially around the holidays.

“This Thanksgiving will be different for me because I will eat differently,” says health and wellness coach Amie Tooley of Paducah. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Tooley plans to enjoy the holidays even with food restrictions.

“The way that I cook, the way that I eat is gluten-free,” Tooley says.

For Tooley, moderation and healthy eating are just as important on Thanksgiving as any other day.

“Instead of butter, we’ll use some other alternatives and just let the turkey goodness be what we eat this year,” Tooley says. “The sweet potato casserole instead of the marshmallows and brown sugar. We will have our cinnamon and it will be just as delicious.”

Dietitian Sandra Farthing suggests swapping out the unhealthy Thanksgiving stapes that are high in fat and calories for other holiday recipes that taste even better.

“Those whole green beans are so pretty and they don’t have to be fried or have to have a lot of gravy on them,” Farthing says. “You can just make a nice little sauce to pour over the top of them.”

For vegetarians, there are other alternatives besides a turkey.

“There are a lot of alternate meats made out of veggies and tofu of course,” Farthing says.

Some other alternatives: Instead of canned yams, serve glazed sweet potatoes. Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed butternut squash casserole. Swap out that boxed stuffing for homemade cornbread vegetarian stuffing. Finally, throw out those white dinner rolls and serve whole grain flaxseed rolls.

“It’s about being thankful and being with your family,” Tooley says. “If you put your focus on what you’re really there about instead of the focus on food, that will help you make it through and have a great meal.”

For more information on recipes and helpful tips for Thanksgiving, click here for Amie Tooley’s Facebook page.

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