Whether you like them baked, mashed or in fry form, this thanksgiving staple is jammed packed with nutrients. Sweet potatoes are large, sweet tasting root vegetables. Sweet potatoes color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh (typically served on Thanksgiving). A serving size of sweet potatoes has about 3 grams of fiber, 337mg potassium and over 8500 micrograms of beta-carotene! As I have discussed in past postings, beta-carotene is a carotenoid. Carotenoids are heart-protective antioxidants in many colorful fruits and veggies. Alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and lycopene are carotenoids.
Turkey is the main event at most thanksgiving meals. If you like to eat your meat, this bird has a lot to offer. This lean protein will help keep you full and prevent food cravings for high carbohydrate side dishes like dinner rolls and mashed potatoes. A serving of 3.5 ounces of Turkey (about a size of a deck of cards) has 30 grams of protein and only 162 calories and 4 grams of fat. Turkey has several nutrients including B-vitamins, potassium, iron and selenium, which is an antioxidant that is needed for a healthy immune system and thyroid metabolism. The most well known component is Tryptophan. This amino acid triggers the production of serotonin which helps you sleep. Go ahead and enjoy a few slices of this metabolism boosting and nap producing meat!
Autumn Fruits and Vegetables
There are several delicious fruits and vegetables that are both in season and healthy. Cauliflower is currently in season and a great alternative to mashed potatoes. This is one of my favorite mashed potato substitutes. Cauliflower is high in fiber as well as vitamin C. Find out more about cauliflower, my favorite fall vegetable, in my feature on Zliving.com. Brussel sprouts are another extremely tasty vegetable if cooked the right way. They are filled with vitamins A and C and contain high amounts of cancer-fighting glucosinolates. Cooking Brussel sprouts helps to release a delicious sweet, nutty and toasted flavor. I love to roast Brussel sprouts but you can also cook them on a stove top, grill or eat raw if you choose. Here is a video on easy ways to prepare Brussel sprouts. Fall fruits are starchy and hold up well when using in pies and cobblers. Both apples and pears are easily found in your local farmers market or grocery store. They are both high in soluble fiber which not only helps with digestion, but also to lower your LDL ("bad") cholesterol. Check below for one of my favorite guilt-free easy bake apple pie recipes. Go ahead and take seconds! Enjoy!
Easy Bake Apple Pie
You can find many pre-made vegan or gluten free piecrusts at stores like Whole Foods. If you would like to make your crust from scratch, some recommended recipes can be found on Oh She Glows. You can also omit the crust and use the filling and crumble to make a lower-calorie apple crisp!
4 cups sliced organic apples, this recipe uses a mix of Pink Lady and Granny Smith
Juice of 1 small lemon
1/4 cup coconut sugar
3 tablespoons of almond sugar
1 teaspoon organic vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup roughly chopped organic trail mix or nuts of choice
1/4 cup coconut sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
3 tablespoons room temperature Earth Balance, organic ghee, or coconut oil
Pinch sea salt
Preheat your oven to 375°F
Make and prepare your crust according to directions in recipe or on package. Then, mix your dry filling ingredients— chia seeds, cinnamon, almond flour and salt, and sugar—in a large bowl.
Slice your apples, add to the bowl, and squeeze your lemon (watch our for seeds!) on top, add the coconut oil and vanilla extract and mix thoroughly until the apples are well-coated.
Pour the filling into the piecrust, give your bowl a rinse, and mix together your crumble ingredients. Use a fork or your fingers to get the butter or coconut oil incorporated into the other ingredients. The texture should be chunky and sandy, but there shouldn’t be globs of butter hanging around.
Sprinkle the topping generously over the pie, cover the edges of the piecrust with a glass, stainless steel, cast iron or other oven safe cover as an alternative to aluminum foil, and place directly on the oven rack.
Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the cover and bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Ideally, let the pie cool for an hour before serving, but if you want to start in right away, we won’t stop you.