A Powell Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner

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With Thanksgiving right around the corner, I get a lot of questions about how to enjoy this Day of Gratitude without breaking your calorie budget! Never fear, though, help is here. πŸ™‚ Today I’m sharing our Powell Thanksgiving family favorites that will save you unnecessary calories while pleasing even the pickiest of eaters plus a couple of our favorite holiday crafts to keep the theme of gratitude alive throughout the season.

Before I share though, I have to remind you that it IS okay to indulge every now and then, and Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite times. Remember?every single one of our carb cycles includes a Reward Day. Chris and I highly suggest swapping around your Reward Days, making T-day your Reward Day this week. Now on to the good stuff: My top eight ways to transform your Thanksgiving table!

5 Healthy Options for Your Thanksgiving Dinner

1. For the table: A great way to transform your Thanksgiving starts with the table, and when the kids have a say in the decor, it adds to the holiday spirit. In past years, we’ve created pumpkin placeholders.

This year, we came up with a DIY Thanksgiving Placement project?you can check it out here?that lets the kids think about what they’re grateful for. Each placemat has a ready-to-color outline of a turkey with the words, “I am thankful for…,” giving us the opportunity to take a breath in this busy season, come together, and set the table with a little extra gratitude.? As I mentioned in my previous blog, if you?re short on time or want to be even more DIY, buying an instant download like?this?is another great option.

2. For the Turkey: Instead of roasting an entire turkey, and basting (and even filling) it with butter and sauces, try Chris? and my favorite: slow-cooked turkey breast.

By sticking with boneless, skinless breast and cooking it in a slow cooker, you can get all of the juiciness without?the extra calories. And it’s all white meat…my favorite! Season and cook on low all day for an evening meal or bump it up to high heat and have it ready around noon.

3. For the Sides: What?s Thanksgiving without those tasty sides? I cook a delicious Kale Sweet Potato Salad. Click here to try it out. Beets, raw veggie trays, black olives, and cranberries are a few other ideas to spruce up your table and keep smart food choices in front of you. πŸ™‚

The best part about this recipe? Side lovers will never miss out on their tasty favorites. Chris loves this so much that I make it year-round for him! Here are a couple of other ways to substitute sides:

  • If you’re looking for a stuffing substitute, check out this gluten-free Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing.
  • Thanksgiving dinner just isn?t complete without the dinner rolls. With 4 kids and a full plate (no pun intended), this is where I lean on trusted gluten-free brands. Udi’s Frozen Rolls are amazing. Simply heat your oven and bake the frozen dough balls. They will perfectly complete your Thanksgiving dinner.

4. For the Mashed Potatoes: Technically mashed potatoes are a side, but let’s be honest, they’re also a key to dinner. Let’s talk about the unsung hero of potatoes: sweet potatoes. My kids love them, and I have a feeling yours will too. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for getting the kids to devour their vegetables. πŸ™‚ Major mom points for the win! By far and away, our family’s favorite side dish is my Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes.

This is a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving Dinner tradition. Trust me, these are SO tasty, you’ll be making them year round, like us. πŸ™‚ Honestly, I consider this dish my dessert…yes, they are THAT good!!!

8. For the Desserts:?I?m all about indulging in moderation, occasionally, and like I mentioned above, Thanksgiving is one of my occasions. I have to admit, though, when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I crave this tasty treat over pie!

We get the kiddos together to make No-Bake Holiday fudge. It’s quick and easy. Chris and I also make a Sweet Potato Souffl? that tastes just like pumpkin or sweet potato pie but with a fraction of the calories!

Photos by Ashley Burns.

Hopefully you’re feeling prepared, blessed, and ready for the holiday next week. I can’t wait to dig into some of our favorite dishes. If you try any of our recipes, please comment below and let me know! Or feel free to share your favorite holiday recipe or decorating tips. From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! And enjoy! πŸ™‚


Related reading:

I Don?t Mean to Brag, But?My Thanksgiving?s Gonna Be Amazing || 10 Tips for a Guilt-Free Turkey Day
Powell Pack Workout | Deck of Cards: Thanksgiving Edition
Our 12 Month Transformation, Month Eleven: Gratitude
Pecan Pie Tartlets || Powell-Approved
Don?t Gobble ?Til You Wobble!

31 Responses

  1. As I struggle keeping on track with my food habits, thanksgiving is overwhelming. A complete holiday centered around food is tough…. I am celebrating the things I am thankful for, not participating in an all day food fest (this is what I have to remind myself!)

  2. A FREE wellness retreat!

    This is my favorite post! because since I saw this healthy Thanksgiving post, I changed my home recipes three years ago and cannot wait to cook them again this November!

  3. Since my mom was a Powell I thought I’d give your Thanksgiving meal ideas a try, we’re already moving to the turkey breast, and now I’ll try the Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes, thanks for the ideas.

    1. Amazing. Beautiful family. Delicious recipes. Amazing program. Gorgeous pictures. Heidi you make food look so good and easy to prepare! Thank you for being such a huge inspiration to me and so many others. ???

  4. I am so glad I found you and Chris…you are my new favorite health enthusiasts…I was in the fitness world for many, many years but go out and have found myself at 43, to be overweight…I think 20 lbs could be easy to lose if I was motivated, but I prob need to lose 40 to be realistic….I have experienced so much change and transition in thepast several years that I cannot, excuse me, have not, paid the proper amount of attention to myself and my health. Now, at 43 (approaching 44 in April), I am just disgusted and depressed. I recently signed up to run a 10k at the Hollywood Half Marathon, but I am scared I will not be able to finish and will look like a fat ass. I also have recently been diagnosed with adult asthma and it seems to be getting worse each day…I don’t think is bc I am fat, but I am sure it doesn’t help any. I am hoping that through yours and Chris’ websites, that I will reignite my motivation and make my health be a priority like it used to be. I look forward to reading and learning from you both. Thank you, Tara Montelbano

    1. Tara, I’ve gained 3 lbs per year my entire life, with no ability to reverse the trend. Then one day I read the book “From Heavy to Healthy: Kylie Makes It Count”. I put that book down, and I haven’t been the same since. I can see through her story what it takes to be healthy — it is not easy, but can be done. I’m sure there is a trigger for you, that once you see the light for yourself, you can reach your goal. Keep trying. You are not alone in this battle. Carol (Pasadena, CA)

  5. A nice bowl of miso soup made with mushroom broth and one tbsp. white miso per cup of broth is nice to have before dinner. It’s healthy and filling.

  6. A Happy Thanksgiving from Clayton, CA to the Powell family, may you always be blessed with all you wonderful children. Smiles to your whole family. God Bless through the holidays.


  7. A much healthier suggestion is: load up on fresh fruits and veggies before dinner, so that you simply eat less. Trading out full, healthy fats for fake fats is the worst thing we can do for our bodies. Butter is not our enemy, margarine is.

  8. My gosh I am impressed…you just had a baby and surgery and had a sick husband and here you are giving us some sensible ideas. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may it be healthy and happy!

  9. I am so excited because we found an organic turkey and an uncured ham. As for the sides, we will be doing a lot of side ups after Thanksgiving meal.

  10. Oh when will dinner be served? I’ll make sure that I’ll be there on time! Lol! Everthing sounds delicious. Please supply recipes (since we all will not fit at your dinner table.

  11. Can I be a honorary member of the Powell family this Thanksgiving so I can enjoy your feast. Everything sounds delicious. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. I will be the 1 out of 4 trying to diet through the holidays, I’m also the cook so I’ve warned the others we will be trying healthier options. In place of sweet potato casserole -baked sweet potatoes, in place of green bean casserole- garlic roasted Brussel sprouts. Carrot cake as a bundt cake-no icing!

  13. Heide your dinner sounds yummy but since I am the only one in my family wayching what they eay. I will jusy have to avoid the mash potatos, which I don’t mind they are not my favorite, I will just eat more veggies and Turkey. Happy thanksiving to you all

  14. we like the cauliflower too. But I add one real potatoes it help keep them a little thicker and they stay hotter longer.

  15. Thanks for all the different moderations. I am truly a fan of both of you. I think it’s amazing on how you both work and take care of your family.

  16. My husband and I are doing a grain free Thanksgiving this year, so we’ll be doing lots of veggie side dishes with the turkey we bought. Instead of green bean casserole I like to roast my green beans with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and lemon. I loved mashed cauliflower too, I wish my husband was a fan of it.

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