Thanksgiving will without a doubt look and feel different this year. But we can still do our best to make the day feel as special as it always does with a good meal and good company—whether they’re seated next to you or over Zoom.
P.volve trainer and Integrative Health Coach Alexia is here to help you make the meal feel equal parts special and easy with the added bonus of being healthy. Though the Thanksgiving dinner table isn’t usually seen as the lightest or easiest to digest, there are a few ingredients that are crucial for helping with inflammation and bloating.
First up: Ginger. “Ginger is an incredible anti-inflammatory ingredient, and it’s fall flavor adds a beautiful touch to both sweet and savory dishes,” says Alexia. Aside from immune support, it can also help reduce regulate free radicals in the body.
Alexia’s second favorite anti-inflammatory ingredient may be a controversial one, but she’s sticking to it. “Pumpkin has high vitamin and mineral content. This beloved gourd is one of the best-known sources of beta carotene, which our bodies convert into Vitamin A to help reduce the risk of certain cancers, protect against asthma and heart disease and even prevent macular degeneration (loss of eyesight).” One of the best parts of pumpkin? Its versatility. “If you love the crunch of a pumpkin seed, dig in! These seeds are rich in minerals like zinc and magnesium which are rock stars at lowering levels of inflammation in the body!” Alexia says.
Last, but certainly not least: greens! The Thanksgiving table is known for tan, brown and off-white hues, but time to be a renegade with something your body will thank you for. “Dark leafy greens are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouses,” Alexia says. “So make the starter salad by mixing some spinach and kale, be sure to pair your greens with a good fat like quality extra virgin olive oil to ensure absorption of all of the vitamins these plants provide!”
Put these ingredients to good use in Alexia’s favorite Thanksgiving recipes below:
Super Simple Cranberry Sauce
This vegan, dairy free, gluten free sauce is a spin on the classic cranberry you’re used to seeing on the Thanksgiving table. Cranberries are an anti-aging superfruit, and this dish packs an even healthier punch with the use of grated ginger and homemade date paste as a natural sweetener.
- 3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
- 6 tbsp grated ginger
- Zest of two oranges
- 2 cups Medjool dates
- Start by making your date paste. Add two cups of tightly packed Medjool dates and ½ warm water to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping down sides as needed.
- Add 1 ½ cups of your paste to a medium sized pot for your cranberry sauce. (Store the rest for other healthy Thanksgiving recipes!)
- To make sauce, combine all other ingredients in your post over high heat and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and begin to crush your cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon once they begin to break down.
- Let the sauce simmer for 10 more minutes until it reduces slightly. Once reduced, remove from heat and let cool. Add water as needed for a thinner consistency.
- Transfer your sauce to a jar and use as a topping to make any dish Thanksgiving ready!
Grain Free Pumpkin Pie Bars
These gluten-free, dairy-free bars won't have you missing anything on the dessert table. They’re free of flour and refined sugars, plus seasonal and customizable to your favorite toppings!
- 1 cup pumpkin puree
- 1/2 cup almond (or choice) butter
- 1/3 cup honey or date paste substitute
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Coconut oil, for greasing
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 pan with coconut oil.
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well before transferring to your greased pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, until the edges are golden brown and the center is firm.
- Allow to cool, cut, and serve!
- Top with your favorite homemade frosting, nuts, non-dairy yogurt or other toppings of choice.
Thanksgiving Green Salad
There’s always room for a little green at the table. This salad uses fall flavors from roasted squash, juicy pomegranate seeds and crunchy walnuts to freshen up your Thanksgiving plate.
- 1 bag spinach
- 1 bag kale
- 1 delicata squash
- 1-2 tsp avocado oil
- 3/4 cup EVOO
- Himalayan pink salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 ½ tsp honey
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- Pomegranate seeds
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cut the delicata squash on both ends to create flat edges. Slice lengthwise and remove seeds. Then, cut the squash into ¼-½ inch slices.
- Arrange the squash on a baking sheet and drizzle with avocado oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Massage the oil into the squash and roast for 20 minutes before flipping to roast other side for another 15 minutes.
- While the squash is roasting prepare your salad and dressing. In a blender, combine EVOO, lemon juice, vinegar, mustard, and honey, salt, pepper, and garlic. Once blended, slowly add the oil to your blender while mixing on low speed. Once added, increase the speed to high and blend until emulsified.
- Add spinach, kale, walnuts and pomegranate seeds to a large bowl or serving platter.
- Remove squash from oven, allow to cool and add to salad platter. Drizzle dressing over top, and toss to combine.
Alexia Acebo is a P.volve Trainer, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, professional dancer and creator who is passionate about helping people fully step into their truth through movement, food, and lifestyle choices.
Alexia has reaped the benefits of functional movement training in her own life, recovering from a recurring performance injury and maintaining the strength and mobility needed when she steps on stage and through life.
Looking to reach all your wellness goals and get more personalized nutrition advice? Book a consultation with Alexia to learn all about our Health Coach offerings. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.