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A Dietitian-Approved Thanksgiving


We have officially entered holiday season!

Thanksgiving came quickly this year, and dietitians everywhere have been scrambling to find ways to make our holiday favorites a bit healthier. Don't get me wrong... I love lean protein and whole grains as much as the next RD, but there are just some dishes I dare not disrupt. Am I the only dietitian who prefers to indulge in the real thing? ....Of course not! I polled a few of my foodie friends to see what recipes they plan to enjoy "as is" this holiday.

You might be surprised to out these four things...  


1. Side Dishes Reign Supreme

Image Captured by Marisa Moore

Image Captured by Marisa Moore

Turkey is cool and all.. but would Thanksgiving really be an event without the sides?

While Marisa Moore, MBA, RDN, LD, notes this Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe as a Friendsgiving hit, her real weakness is a bit different. She uses Thanksgiving to savor homemade dinner rolls (join the club), but she doesn't keep them around very long!  "I don’t need extra buttery, soft dinner rolls in my house because I know how it will end. Out of sight = out of mind," said Marisa.

The mastermind behind Bucket List Tummy also chimed in with her cherished holiday tradition - green bean casserole! Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RD, believes there is no touching mom's famous recipe. "I love the classic recipe that my mom has always made, with lots of cream of mushroom soup, whole milk and fried onion ring toppings," noted Sarah. "While I know there are plenty of ways to lighten it up, it's a tradition for my family to have the real thing. Thanksgiving only comes once a year, so I try to focus less on the overall nutrition, but more about the quality of the food and the memories we make eating it."


2. Carbs Are A Must-Have

Image captured by Kristina Todini

Image captured by Kristina Todini

Do dietitians only eat non-starchy vegetables for Thanksgiving? ....Ha!

Kristina Todini, RDN, would say otherwise! "While I love to serve colorful vegetable sides, what I really look forward to at Thanksgiving are my Scalloped Potatoes with Leeks, Enoki Mushrooms & Taleggio. Cheese, creamy and oh so delicious," she shared.

However, the carbohydrate train doesn't end with potatoes.  It would not be a good holiday post without mention of macaroni and cheese. Shannon Ebron, MS, RDN, declared "Macaroni and cheese is a holiday favorite where healthy substitutions will not fly with my family." Shannon continued to deliver the facts by adding "This dish is ALL about the cheese, so using whole milk cheese is a must and lots of it. Save the butternut squash and quinoa for something else!"

[ perfect place to insert nail painting emoji 💅🏾 ]


3. Sweets Do NOT Get Skipped

Image Captured by Valerie Agyeman

Image Captured by Valerie Agyeman

Is it a side dish or is it a dessert? Who really knows where to place sweet potatoes?!

No matter where you decide to place it, Nathaniel Stritzinger (RD2Be) has a Twice Baked Sweet Potato dish that cannot be denied. "The sweet potatoes are first baked, their contents removed and mixed with just a few tablespoons of butter, and then baked a second time with a scattering of delicious maple brown sugar pecan streusel on top. That’s it," Nate admits. "Easy and attractive, delicious and nutritious. You really can't go wrong!" 

You also can't go wrong with this sweet potato cake (pictured above) from Valerie Agyeman, RDN . "It’s a lightly spiced cake, similar to carrot cake, but made with sweet potatoes and ohhh so moist! Spread some cream cheese icing on top, and your whole holiday is made," said Valerie. She continued to exclaim "I love the holidays, and if you know me, you know that sweets put a smile on my face!" 


4. Dietitians are Real People Eating Real Food

Image Captured by Nathaniel Stritzinger

Image Captured by Nathaniel Stritzinger

For anyone who might think dietitians sit around eating salads everyday, understand that is not true - especially not on Thanksgiving!

Eating well means making smart food choices, but it also means allowing  indulgences from time to time. We [FullOnFaith] passionately believe that promoting a healthy relationship with food is just as important as encouraging nutritious eating. This is a judgement free space!


So what's a dietitian-approved Thanksgiving? 

A dietitian-approved Thanksgiving is enjoying delicious food, creating amazing memories with family/friends, and finding resourceful ways to express gratitude for all of life's blessings! 


Happy Thanksgiving!