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A Better Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is an event steeped in tradition, so much so that we sometimes forget what it’s all about. Why not revise the typical approach to Thanksgiving and bring it back to its roots, that is, an opportunity to say thanks?

By slowing down time and looking around us, we can make space to give thanks to our friends, our families, and the earth that has provided us with this delicious meal.

To help ease the pressure of Thanksgiving, we’re grateful to be able to share some traditions gathered from around the AHAALiving.com table:

The Main Dish

Most Thanksgiving spreads feature a centrepiece: a main dish that sits as the star of the show. Whether your main dish is a turkey or a vegetarian option, it should be filled with as much meaning as it is filled with flavour.

You could consider a vegetarian option as your main dish, even if you aren’t vegan or vegetarian. Farmed animals are one of the highest contributors to greenhouse gases on the planet, and opting out of the standard turkey is a simple way to say thanks.

A baked, stuffed pumpkin will also make a stunning, Thanksgiving-themed main dish. Choose any vegan or vegetarian casserole you would otherwise cook in a dish and bake it in a pumpkin instead.

If you’d rather go with turkey, ensure you thoroughly research the turkey you purchase. Be aware of terminology like “free run” or “free range” – “Certified Organic” typically has lawful guidelines applied to it; however, note that these guidelines may vary from province to province.

Buying a locally raised organic turkey is typically the best option. Consider visiting a local farm to learn more about how the animal was raised. Most local, organic farms offer tours of their facilities. Check out Rowe Farms in Ontario, or Silver Spoon in BC.

Sides & Toppings

Mashed potatoes are a very high source of carbohydrates. Try substituting cauliflower in place of potatoes for a low-carb option. Or, go with mashed yams instead, which are higher in essential vitamins than potatoes. For an added bonus, instead of dumping out the vegetable water, add it back into the veggies as you mash them.

Coleslaw adds a delicious crunch and a bright splash of colour to any Thanksgiving plate. Feeling adventurous? Try using purple cabbage instead of green for a rainbow-coloured coleslaw.

Instead of cooking your broccoli, try serving it in a raw broccoli salad for delicious crunchy, healthy side dish.

Nothing says Thanksgiving like gravy. Most gravies call for flour to help thicken them. Try a gluten-free gravy, or a vegetarian or vegan gravy.

Consider making your cranberry sauce from scratch; it’s easier than you think! Simmer cranberries, vinegar, and sugar on low until the berries are soft. Substitute the sugar for stevia or other natural sweeteners for a no-added-sugar healthier option.

How are you AHAA-ifying this coming Thanksgiving? Share your stories with us and the AHAALiving.com community on Twitter and Facebook!

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