Don’t fear the food holidays! You can absolutely enjoy a holiday (without guilt) and still make progress towards your goals! But, we know these end-of-year holidays can pose some challenges for staying macro-friendly. So we wanted to give you some helpful recipes that bring the traditional Thanksgiving feels/tastes, but remove some of the concern of throwing off your numbers!
We put a specific focus on protein for many of these. Protein can be hard to balance with the delicious, often fat and carb-heavy sides that are offered at your typical Thanksgiving feast. So if you know you normally struggle with protein, you may want to prioritize a few of these (or something like it) to keep you closer to where you need.
Mini Cheese Ball Appetizer
Let whipped cream cheese sit at room temp until it is soft. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients together except for panko. Using a small ice cream scoop, scoop out a small amount and put into a bowl filled with panko. Roll around until the cheese ball is fully coated. Store in the fridge before serving. Can place on a small rice cracker for serving, or have crackers on the side.
Pecan Sweet Potatoes
Roast the pecans and pepitas in an oven for about 10-15 minutes. Should be slightly darkened. No need for oil or spray. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into large chunks. Boil in water until they are soft and then drain. Mix in about ½ cup chicken broth (may need more), a little bit of honey, salt, and cinnamon. It should be slightly sweet but still creamy! Top with roasted pecans and pepitas.
Sesame Green Bean & Mushroom Skillet
Heat the sesame oil in a skillet until hot. Add in green beans and mushrooms, top with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Let saute until all of the water content has evaporated, and green beans are turning dark/crispy. Take off the heat and mix in tbsp of light butter. Top with sesame seeds.
Sesame oil adds a lot of flavor to this- you don’t need a lot of it!
Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Butternut Squash
Cut brussels sprouts in half and peel/cut butternut squash until cubes of a similar size to the brussel sprouts. Spray with pam spray, add salt and mix. Mix in 1 tbsp of maple syrup and cinnamon until it’s well coated. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes- should be soft, but have some caramelized edges. It seems simple, but this dish is delicious!
High Protein Creamy Mac and Cheese
This is a very quick and easy version of the traditional mac and cheese!
Boil pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, combine milk, ground mustard, salt and pepper (start with ½ tbsp each), and cheddar in a small sauce pot. Cook on low heat until the cheese is fully melted. You need to constantly stir this. Do not let milk boil!!
Once pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot. Pour melty cheese sauce over top. Add in ½ cup non-fat greek yogurt. This helps keep it creamy and doesn’t let it dry out! It may seem liquidy at first, but it thickens as it cools.
Optional: place in a casserole dish, top with panko and bake until panko is crispy. This has about 40 g of protein per cup and is very low fat!
Protein Pumpkin Cheesecakes
Mix all ingredients together until well blended. Pour into 9 Mini Graham cracker crusts. Bake at 350 for 18 mins til slightly jiggly in the middle. Let cool completely. Let sit in fridge overnight to fully set.
Apple Pie Ice Cream Sundaes
Build bowls with each ingredient- serve immediately!