Another Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and it’s time to consider what we’re cooking up for our friends and family. A traditional Thanksgiving dinner could be hiding all kinds of toxins – you could be serving your family a GMO-loaded meal, which is more troublesome than just the usual excess sugar and carbs. But replacing everything in your usual Thanksgiving dinner means a lot of time and effort, right?
Wrong! There are some simple solutions to serving up an organic holiday meal. Here are some tips to celebrate a GMO-free, nontoxic holiday this year with a delicious Thanksgiving dinner.
- Replace traditional and soy candles with beeswax candles.
Traditional candles can be full of toxins. Some people replace those with soy candles, but those are often made with GMO soy. Beeswax is a healthy alternative and may even help purify the air in your home, and will lend your Thanksgiving dinner a great atmosphere.
- Create healthy appetizers.
There’s plenty of fat to go around the table on this holiday, so why not use appetizers to showcase beautiful, seasonal organic produce rather than the usual high fat appetizers? Organic dried cranberries with nuts, clementines and tangerines, and grapes make a nice, light dish especially when you set them off with grass fed organic cheese.
- Buy an organic turkey.
Buying a USDA organic turkey means that your bird is fed certified organic feed and free of toxins like rendered animal by-products, GMOs, sewage sludge, pesticides, antibiotics and more. They are also raised humanely. You can get an organic turkey from a high-end grocer like Whole Foods Market or online, at reputable organic meat vendor like Organic Prairie. If this is the only change you make to your usual Thanksgiving dinner spread, then it’s worth it.
- Use organic turkey gravy.
Brands like Imagine (which is also gluten free) and Pacific make organic turkey gravy, so you can just heat and pour!
- Try some Non-GMO stuffing and load it with veggies.
Arrowhead Mills makes Organic Savory Herb Stuffing with sage, thyme and rosemary. If you need gluten-free, try Rudi’s Gluten Free Stuffing. When you’re putting it together, you can add celery, mushrooms, or carrots and stuff it inside the bird to cook together.
- Serve healthy in-season organic vegetables.
Mash organic cauliflower instead of potatoes. I buy both as organic, but using cauliflower allows you to cut down on the carbs and it will be less filling. Or, you can do half potato, half cauliflower for better consistency. I make mine allergy-free by using ghee, unsweetened almond milk and organic garlic powder and whipping the cooked cauliflower in my stand mixer. Another great Thanksgiving dinner side is baked organic sweet potatoes – serve them right in the skin with grass fed butter and organic cinnamon. Loaded with beta carotene, this is a healthful boost for your immune system. Both are easy side dishes and make for a healthier choice.
- Serve up a fresh salad.
Maybe it’s because I come from an Italian family, but dinner isn’t done until we’ve served the salad. My family loves an organic spring mix and a homemade dressing with EVOO, balsamic vinegar and a savory spice blend (try oregano and pepper) with a dash of fresh-squeezed orange. It’s just the ticket to help process that heavy food.
- Bake with healthier oils and sweeteners.
Organic coconut oil is a healthy replacement for all kinds of other oils – I use Nutiva Virgin Coconut Oil myself to replace the volume of oil. Or, substitute unsweetened organic applesauce for a recipe that calls for vegetable oil in cakes recipes. You can do a 1-to-1 substitution. We buy our organic applesauce from Whole Foods Markets. For sweeteners, try a brand with a lower glycemic index like Swerve or Pyure.
- Put the cranberries in dessert for a change.
Rather than making a big dessert after all that food, opt for a cookie bake. Traditional chocolate chip cookies are a great idea, but this year I’m baking cranberry almond cookies. Take your traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe, sub out vanilla extract for almond and replace the chips with cranberries in your recipe!
What does an organic holiday look like in your house? Will you take the challenge to create a GMO-free Thanksgiving dinner for your family? Share with us your meal ideas and what you do to save time when cooking for the holiday season.
Disclosure: Bookieboo LLC has worked with numerous brands in the natural space, including Organic Prairie, Nutiva, Swerve and Pyure.