Accommodating an anti-inflammatory diet can be challenging. Many people are now cutting out gluten, dairy and sugar due to their inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause arthritis and joint pain, fatigue and even migraines. None of which make for a good Thanksgiving. Here is how to create a Thanksgiving spread that takes this into consideration.
Disclaimer: I am going to share what most agree on; you are bound to find conflicting information out there! For example, I came across information that recommended to stay away from turkey since it has omega-6, which is also considered inflammatory. Do your best and your guests will be thankful to you.
Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy –
Turkey: Best bet is to bake, not fry, the turkey. Depending upon the size of the group, a turkey breast may suffice, of course larger groups will require a whole turkey. Read on for stuffing and gravy ideas.
Stuffing: Avoid stuffing made with regular bread since it contains gluten. There are gluten-free bread choices available at most supermarkets, also gluten-free stuffing mixes. Here is a simple recipe to try.
Gravy: Traditional gravy contains flour, which also has gluten, as well as dairy, which is another inflammation culprit for some. For a gluten-free and dairy-free version check out this recipe from Whole Foods.
And then there’s all those sides!
Cranberry Sauce: Cranberries can help guard against inflammation due to the phytonutrients. That said, adding a ton of sugar will definitely take away from the health benefits. This cranberry sauce recipe uses fresh orange juice and honey. That said, it’s still higher in sugars, so remember to use it as a condiment!
Mashed Potatoes: Traditional mashed potatoes contain dairy, for a healthy version use olive oil and chicken or vegetable stock.
Veggie Sides: There are many opportunities to serve up some health in this area. Avoid any type of breading, butter or cream sauces, or any added sugars. Roasted Balsamic Brussel Sprouts are an amazing and colorful addition to the table. Also, check out these 40+ gluten-free Thanksgiving recipes. If serving a salad, top it with goat cheese (which is considered to be anti-inflammatory), plenty of fresh chopped vegetables, nuts and definitely make a homemade healthy dressing.
Don’t forget dessert –
Though it’s easy to find gluten-free desserts, and also gluten-free + dairy-free desserts, but sugar-free can be a challenge. Consider either cutting the amount of sugar used in the recipe, using a sugar substitute or a combination of both. This endeavor may require a bit of experimentation. Steer clear of saccharin, aspartame and sucralose. Best options are Stevia Leaf or Monk Fruit.
Most dessert recipes labeled as healthy are more sugar-aware than traditional recipes. A good way to find completely allergen free recipes is to inquire via our good friend, Google. To start, check out the allergen free desserts on Greatist and The Pretty Bee.
And be thankful –
While food is a big focus on Thanksgiving Day, being thankful and grateful should also take center stage. Some ideas include –
- Ask guests to be prepared to say what they are thankful for during a blessing of the food.
- Or ask guests to share an act of kindness they received during the past year.
- Write small thank you notes to each guest and include the notes at their spot at the table.
Meeting Planner – I am very thankful to you! Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your world. I appreciate all the work you do on behalf of your organizations and meeting participants. Keep up the good work, you do our industry proud!