Healthy Thanksgiving (and Thanksgivukkuh) Recipe Roundup
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Get your stretchy pants ready, it’s time for the season’s eatings of Thanksgivukkuh! This year, in some crazy cosmic calendar convergence, Thanksgiving and the first day of Hanukkah falls on the day same day. Apparently, this hasn’t occurred since 1888, and won’t happen again for 70,798 years! Now that’s a once in a ten thousand lifetimes occasion worth celebrating with food and drink. Although this holiday is more about counting your blessings and not your calories, there’s no greater blessing than continued good health. And to that end, here’s a quick recipe roundup of healthier versions of some Thanksgiving dishes to check out, with a couple of recipes direct from superstar trainer Rebecca Kennedy!

Chestnut Hummus with Pita Chips

Since most Hanukkah recipes are deep-fried in oil, this healthy recipe by Busy in Brooklyn puts a Thanksgiving spin on the classic Israeli hummus dish by using roasted chestnuts instead.

RECIPE HERE: Busy in Brooklyn


Walnut Oil-Basted Parmesan Turkey with Walnut Gravy (Cooking Light magazine)

This turkey recipe swaps out butter for a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat in walnut
oil, which is rich in hard-to-find, Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants.

RECIPE HERE: Cooking Light


Maple Cranberry Sauce

I’m sharing a recipe that’s been a staple at my family’s Thanksgiving table for almost twenty years. I found this simple dish in The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins and it’s basically cranberry crack. My formerly cranberry averse husband and kids are completely obsessed with the stuff and I have to make double portions (one for Turkey Day and another for them to eat straight out of the tupperware container – yes, it’s that scrummy!) Relatives demand that I bring this every year as price of admission to their gatherings. Something about the flavors of pure maple syrup, orange zest and tart cranberries create the perfect sweet and sour party on your palate. Plus, antioxidant-rich maple syrup is an excellent source of manganese and zinc, which support a healthy immune system. Now that’s sweet.

12 ounces of fresh cranberries (1 bag), well-rinsed
1 cup of PURE maple syrup (I can’t stress this enough. The 100% pure stuff, not pancake syrup that’s maple flavored)
1 cup of raspberry-cranberry juice (I like Trader Joe’s Raspberry-Cranberry blend, but Ocean Spray works too)
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup of walnut halves (I like smaller, chopped pieces better personally because it distributes the crunchy bits more evenly throughout the sauce).

Step 1. Combine the cranberries, maple syrup, cranberry-raspberry juice and orange zest in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and cook until the cranberries pop open (about ten minutes).

Step 2. Skim off any foam that has formed on the surface of the cranberry mixture, and stir in the walnuts. Allow the sauce to cool before covering and refrigerating. It will keep for 3 to 4 days, but I’ve never had leftovers.


Almond Crusted Butternut Squash with Whole Cranberries and Organic Brown Sugar
This dish was adapted from Taste of Home’s recipe by Barry’s Bootcamp NYC Trainer, Fitness Model and Fit Foodie, Rebecca Kennedy.

1. Mash 4 cups of BNS Sprinkle in sea salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice and 1tbsp of coconut oil (I substituted it instead of butter)

2. Spread in dish flat, layer with pan roasted whole cranberries (in sautee pan, stir 1 cup water + organic raw sugar + 1 bag of fresh cranberries.. Bubble over medium for 5 minutes, turn off heat and let sit)

3. Sprinkle organic brown raw sugar and sliced almonds for crust.

4. Bake at 350 for 50 minutes.


Autumn Butternut Squash Apple Soup

Another comfort food recipe that Rebecca Kennedy tweaked and adapted to create a healthier version.

Step 1: Add 1 Granny Smith apple peeled and chopped, 1/2 vidalia onion chopped, and 8 fresh sage leaves sprinkled with salt and pepper into a large pot with 1 tbsp of butter (I used coconut oil instead = delicious and good fats)

Step 2: Bring to bubble, uncovered med-high, stir. Take off heat and cover.

Step 3: Add 2 whole, small size (4 halves) butternut squashes (roasted and scooped out) into the pot, 1 1/2 cups of water, 1 1/2 cups of chicken or vegetable broth (I used organic vegetable)

Step 4: Bring to boil, turn down to med-low and simmer 15 min, while stirring occasionally.

Step 5: Pour into blender or food processor in small batches to turn into purée.

Step 6: Sprinkle roasted pumpkin seeds on top and enjoy!


Spicy Roasted Sweet Potatoes

Here’s an alternative to the gooey sweetness of those traditional marshmallow-topped, buttery casserole dishes. When it comes to sweet potatoes, why mess with perfection by adding more unnecessary sugar to a naturally sweet tuber? Roasting brings out the natural sweetness and simplicity of the sweet potato flavors in this easy recipe.

RECIPE HERE: Chicagoist

Roasted Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Pie with Maple Quinoa Crust
Speaking of sweet potatoes, here’s a sweet potato pie recipe on Nosh and Nourish that ingeniously uses protein-packed quinoa for a delicious pie crust.

RECIPE HERE: Nosh and Nourish



“Power and Empower.” That is what Rebecca stands for. A Barry’s Bootcamp top trainer and Nike Ambassador Trainer, Rebecca strives to improve every client’s life both physically and beyond. Not only that, she creates a mean playlist. Let her newest playlist power you up and empower you to push yourself to the limits. As a former NFL Cheerleader, USA gymnast and professional dancer, fitness has always been a Rebecca’s passion. She believes the benefit of physical fitness is more than just looking good, it’s feeling good. She is living proof that fitness is a way of life! Never stagnant and always driven, Kennedy holds a Bachelor’s in Dance from Dean College and both AFAA & NASM certifications. Rebecca always brings incredibly fresh programs to every class with high energy that will motivate, challenge, and inspire you to be better than you were yesterday. With such accomplishments under her belt, Rebecca recently “bottled” her charisma and energy by creating and hosting the dvd ‘Women’s Health Ultimate Abs Workout’!

Kennedy’s goal is to work all of your muscles, including your brain. Being educated about your body and understanding it on a deeper level is a crucial step in leading a healthier life. “The body is a beautiful thing that needs to be treated with kindness and, a MEAN workout and CLEAN diet ARE acts of kindness!!!” Check out her website for more recipes and some serious ab-spiration. You can also find Rebecca on Facebook. [/two_thirds]

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Minsun Park


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Minsun Park is a blogger, writer and a black belt in taekwondo who gets her ass handed to her daily by her two sons. She’s written for iVillage, SheKnows, ePregnancy and is featured in “The Hot Mom’s Handbook” by Jessica Denay. She can also be found on Facebook and Twitter