Saturday, November 21, 2009

Low Carb Thanksgiving - It Can Be Good

I've talked before having a lower carb lifestyle. And now I want to put it to practice on a day that is typically loaded with carbs like stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, rolls and pies. How are you going to get through this if you're doing your best to keep your carbs on the lower side? It can be done - and you can feel satisfied.

But first, remember this. When you think back on various Thanksgiving feasts (let's just say last year), what are your poignant memories? For me, I remember where we had it. I remember who was there. I remember where I sat and who sat next to me and around me. I even remember to some extent what we talked about. What I don't remember is what I ate. I don't remember how many servings I had of this and if I had pie afterward. I don't remember the rolls, the stuffing or even the pumpkin roll. I'm sure the food was great, but what my memories are made of are family, interaction, conversation and friendship. That being said...

Fortunately, Thanksgiving is mainly about one big protein: Turkey! So at least you've got that going for you. Eat it - eat as much of it as you want.

Aside from that, modifications have to be made or else you're just going to be doing mini tastes of the rests of the food, and that's no fun at all. So let's talk modifications.

You may want to try some of these recipes before you decide to take them to your family's Thanksgiving but if your family has any women in it, they may thank you for providing some alternatives to the higher carb fare.

First of all, make sure there is always a veggie try with your favorite dip like Ranch or sour cream & onion. What a perfect dish! It's snackable and with the dip, you don't feel too deprived! Put carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, olives, pea pods or whatever else you love in it.

Next, you're really serious about low carb, you've got to try the mashed cauliflower. Steam some florettes then put them in your food processor with a little milk, cream cheese and butter. Cream them all together until you get a mashed potato consistency. Serve them hot. You'll be surprised about how delicious these are and how satisfying they are. Plus, there are lots of things you can make with mashed cauliflower. I've tried many and the breadsticks are very good (I'll post that recipe another time).

Another good replacement is for pumpkin pie. If you can live without the crust (which is nothing but flour and fat!) you might be okay with just the pie itself. It's my favorite part frankly. I got this recipe from here, where incidentally there are a ton of other really good recipes.

Pumpkin Pie
Sweetened condensed milk, low-carb recipe (see below)
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
2 large eggs
1 can pumpkin
sweetener, to taste
pie shell

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Pour into prepared pie shell. Baker at 425 for 15 minutes, and then bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
Low-carb sweetened condensed milk
1 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup boiling water
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp Stevia

Combine all in a blender. Mix until well-blended. Makes the equivalent of one can of sweetened, condensed milk.
This pumpkin pie is REALLY good and can easily pass for a regular recipe.
If you love sweet potatoes, here is a good recipe that limits the sugar but leaves the yum!
Twice baked yams
8 small sweet potatoes
2 cups pumpkin
1 package cream cheese*
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place yams on cookie sheet. Cut cross-hatch into the top (an "x") and bake for an hour. Let cool for 15 minutes.
Change oven temperature to 350 degrees
Carefully peel back top edges from the yams. Leaving the shells intact, scoop out the innards. Keep half*, and save the rest for another recipe. Mash yam innards. Add pumpkin, cream cheese and butter and mix until fluffy.
Spoon or pipe mixture back into the shells and bake for 20 minutes or until warm.
Optional: Top with sour cream, butter,bacon bits and cheese for a loaded version. For a sweeter flavor, sprinkle with nutmet and cinnamon, and a small pat of butter.(Adjust nutritional values according to additions)
Makes 8 small yams.

These are the less "involved" carb replacements. If you want to get "carb crazy" then do a search for "oopsies" which are an interesting bread/bun replacement and also have a look at the various carb replacements on this website AND the Miracle Noodle.
Managing your waistline is about control - who is doing the controlling? The food - or you? Look back on your Thanksgiving feast this year and be proud of the decisions you made. Have good food but don't let it be the focus. Eat well and live well.
Good luck and Happy low-carb Thanksgiving!

2 backward glances:

Rachel said...

ah, it's just one day. Eat and be merry :) You're so good to stay the course.

Amy said...

that's what The Marshmallow's mentality is. Fortunately I've decided "being merry" has nothing to do with eating except if you're Santa and being merry means you have a fat belly.