Sugar-Free Thanksgiving Sides and Sweets
What are your plans for Thanksgiving next week? With some careful planning and a few good choices, it is not too hard to find good weight loss options on the table. For example, turkey is a zero-carb, high-quality protein food, and a green salad with dressing on the side can give you the chance to fill your plate without expanding your waistline.
But what about the sweeter side of Thanksgiving? Sweet potato casserole and pumpkin and other pies can be as essential to the meal as a turkey if they are part of your annual tradition. You do not need to skip them if you want to stick to your weight loss plan this year. Just make a couple of smart swaps.
Sweet Potato Casserole
Sweet potatoes are superfoods according to many lists, but not so much when served in sweet potato casserole with brown sugar and marshmallows. A serving of candied yams or sweet potato casserole with marshmallows can have 50 grams of sugar and 400 calories. Why?! Instead, sweet potato casserole can be high in protein and low in added sugar.
Vanilla Protein Powder mixed into water can add sweetness without sugar, as well as adding protein. Milk, plain yogurt, or fat-free sour cream instead of water can add creaminess without fat or carbs. Topping it off with pecans is a heart-healthy, low-carb choice to keep the dish traditional-tasting. To further cut calories and carbs, acorn squash is a good choice instead of sweet potatoes since it has half the calories and carbs per cup.
What could possibly be better than pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving? What if you were to eliminate the excess sugar and switch from simple pumpkin pie to decadent pumpkin cheesecake? Here is how.
Make 2 servings of Cheesecake Protein Pudding per guest and divide it in half. Stir canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling) and cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice into half the protein pudding. Place the plain pudding into individual cups or a larger pie tin, and cover with the pumpkin mixture. Compared to pumpkin pie with crust, you just saved 50 grams of carbs and 25 grams of sugar per serving!
As American as apple pie may be, it’s really not healthy if you opt for a slice with 600 calories, 30 grams of fat, and 30 grams of sugar. Why would you, anyway, when there are so many other choices? Pure baked apples with cinnamon are already pretty sweet and satisfying. Otherwise, Protein Powder mixed with a bit of water and drizzled over the apples and cinnamon before baking can turn the apples into a true treat. If you are missing the crunch of the crust, try mixing sliced or chopped cinnamon protein baked apples with walnuts, pecans, or toasted oats.
Thanksgiving can be healthy and low-sugar even if it includes sweet and satisfying dishes. The BariatricPal Store is there to help as you plan for a healthy, happy holiday!
- Alex Brecher