The urge to indulge ourselves at the dinner table hits hardest each year at Thanksgiving. We’re surrounded by those we love, the mood is often joyful and relaxed, and just about every dish imaginable, including all of those family “favorites,” are laid out before us for endless eating!
Just the thought of creamy mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and rich sausage gravy is enough to make any dieter fashion their table napkin into a white flag of surrender.
Before you succumb to temptation, stop! Put those stretchy pants back into the closet! There is a way to make a delicious and satisfying Thanksgiving dinner that will wow your guests and keep you in ketosis.
All it takes is a bit of planning and some simple recipe modifications to create a mouth-watering spread of keto-compliant dishes so delectable that your guests will all want seconds.
Clever Modifications Create Keto Recipes
Respecting time-honored traditions when you cook is great, but it’s just as fun to start new ones of your own. So, this year give mama’s pumpkin pie and great-uncle Joe’s cheese and potato casserole a rest and introduce your family to some new and exciting flavors.
I’ve hunted high and low for the most heavenly keto Thanksgiving recipes that I’m delighted to share with you!
Keep It Fruity
The star of the show at any Thanksgiving dinner is, fortunately, the keto-friendly turkey. And, If you want it to be the talk of the table for years to come, use this fail-safe Keto-green recipe passed down to me by my mom and dad, that uses an orange or lemon. Serve it with this delicious gluten-free gravy:
Remove juice from tray and bag by carefully pouring into a saute pan.
Turn burner on low heat
Combine 1 tablespoon potato starch to drippings, whisking constantly. Continue until you reach your desired consistency.
Add additional broth or potato starch to get to desired consistency. Enjoy!
Worried that you’ll need to ditch your turkey’s fruity partner in crime to stay alkaline? Don’t be. Leanne Ely's has a fantastic low-carb cranberry sauce recipe that uses fresh apple and pear.
Swap that potato mash for an equally smooth and delicious buttery cauliflower alternative which is ready in just 23 minutes with this recipe from My Keto Kitchen. Cauliflower is rich in vitamins C and K, so you’ll be boosting your immune system and improving the health of your bones and your skin.
Jane Burke, one of the participants of my Magic Menopause Programme proposes keto-green cauliflower loaf:
2 cups cooked cauliflower rice
4 Tablespoons olive oil
2 cups water (or a little less depending on the wetness of cauliflower)
2 cups almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
2 to 4 Tablespoons Mighty Maca® Plus powder
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon caraway seeds (optional but recommended)
1 teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 350F.
- Cook cauliflower rice or steam one head of cauliflower until cooked and chop very fine. Measure out 2 cups.
- In a medium bowl beat eggs, olive oil and water then add cooked cauliflower.
- In a second bowl, combine all dry ingredients and mix well.
- Add wet ingredients to dry mix and combine well, but do not overbeat.
- Grease 9x9” loaf pan with butter and pour mixture into pan.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean.
- Allow cooling in the pan. Invert onto a cutting mat. Cut into serving size squares and freeze in zip-top bags or place in the refrigerator. Use within 5 days from refrigerator or 3 months from the freezer.
The iconic Thanksgiving green bean casserole can be heavy on the flour or dairy, but not this one from Low Carb Maven. It’s gluten-free which will help to reduce that post-dinner bloating, and it can be prepped up to 2 days in advance giving you a more relaxing holiday.
There are many bacon-based Thanksgiving dinner ideas for your essential brussel sprouts, but for something fun and a little bit different I love this easy and really tasty chip recipe from Delish.
This no sugar chocolate pudding, also suggested by one of the participants of my Magic Menopause Programme, uses coconut milk to create an unbelievably smooth cream of lusciousness:
½ Cup Full Fat Coconut Milk
2 T Cacao Powder
2 teaspoons Monk Fruit
1 Small Avocado
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
⅛ teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
Unsweetened Coconut (Optional garnish)
Chopped Nuts (Optional garnish)
The best news of all is that you can even keep stuff on the menu and still enjoy a Keto Thanksgiving with this recipe from How to This and That.
Fans of the classic chunky cookies will be comforted to know that a low-carb alternative using raw nuts of the keto dinner recipes dreamt up by Lisa Purvis, Magic Menopause participant:
2 Scoops Mighty Maca Plus
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
2 Tablespoons Unsweetened Coconut
1 Tablespoon Raw Chunky Almond Butter
1 Tablespoon Raw Nuts and/or Seeds
2 teaspoons Cacao Powder
3 drops Stevia
Mix together in a bowl. Line a shallow pan with parchment paper. Drop onto parchment.
(Makes 4) Freeze and enjoy! (Must keep frozen)
For an alternative dessert try this pumpkin pie from Leanne Ely's from which is so delicious you will be making it all year round.
If you can’t resist the pull to complete the perfect meal with the decadent taste of chocolate these elegant Pecan Pie Truffles are ideal. Follow the recipe from All Day I Dream About Food and you will have 24 mouthfuls of keto-green wonder.
If You’re Not Hosting
If you are eating Thanksgiving dinner at the house of a friend or family member, the easiest solution is to take along some of your own keto-green food. Everyone loves shared dishes, so just take some extra with you for everyone else to try! They will be thankful you did, and may even want to know more about your keto-green diet!
Thanksgiving has brought many a cook to his or her knees – there's a lot going on and it can be super intimidating to prepare this huge meal for a houseful of people and have it all be ready at the same time.
That's where my friend Leanne Ely's comes in.
Leanne is an NYT bestselling author, and her Saving Dinner cookbooks have been the gold standard for not just recipes, but full menus with shopping lists as well.
Thanksgiving is the crown jewel of her Saving Dinner for the Holidays book and has everything you need to make a great Thanksgiving happen.
Cut Back On Snacking
It’s tempting to skip breakfast and save your calories for the main event, but having something small in the morning will stave off cravings and help you resist the temptation to nibble on the food as it’s prepared throughout the big day!
Get yourself in the holiday mood with my delicious Pumpkin Smoothie recipe. Also, make yourself a keto coffee or keto tea.
Drinking Mighty Maca® Plus will also keep cravings at bay by giving you energy. You can drink it as a hot tea too. Keto diet supplements like MCT oil and fish oil will also help to curb your appetite and keep you in ketosis.
Drinking water will keep you away from the snack bowl as well because it helps you feel fuller, longer. Also, when your body is properly hydrated it is more efficient at processing food and burning off calories. Resting energy expenditure has been shown to increase by 24–30% in adults within 10 minutes of drinking water. Amazingly this effect lasts for around an hour.
The Booze Dilemma
If you want to enjoy a drink at Thanksgiving go for a pure distilled spirit like plain vodka or tequila with a splash of tonic. If you can’t resist a glass of wine pick red over white. The average glass of red wine has 0.9 grams of sugar whilst the average white has 1.4 grams. Ditch the rosé which averages a whopping 7.5 grams of sugar per glass!
It’s a good idea not to exceed two alcoholic drinks at Thanksgiving for two reasons. First, when you are on the keto diet alcohol will hit you quicker and harder than usual. And second, that third drink is likely to crumble the wall of resolve which is stopping you from sneaking into the kitchen and finishing off half the leftovers and the rest of the dessert.
To boost your metabolism, improve your digestion, and regulate your blood sugar levels, I drink a shot of Mighty Maca Plus, and always take a 10-15 minute brisk walk with my family and friends to continue the togetherness time!
You will feel proud that you stuck to your diet and achieved your goal of staying Keto for the holiday! And, if you didn’t quite manage it this year, simply draw a line under it and renew your commitment going forward. One blip doesn’t mean you should give up.
The True Meaning Of Thanksgiving
If you’re still struggling with the idea of giving up Thanksgiving stuffing and other dishes that are “off limits,” it’s worth remembering that
Thanksgiving is really about is acknowledging and appreciating the things in life that are most important to us: our family, our friends, and our health.
Keep your health strong and you can enjoy Thanksgiving dinners with your loved ones for years to come. And that tastes better than any food.