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An Anti-Aging Thanksgiving Feast!

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Here are some healthy ideas and recipes to help you incorporate as many nutrient-dense, anti-aging foods as possible into your spread.

Choose a humanely raised, organic, free range turkey.

It’s better for you, better for the turkey and better for the planet. By choosing an organic, free range bird, you can maximize taste and nutrition and avoid potentially exposing yourself to hormones, antibiotics and other toxins. You can probably order an organic, free range turkey at your local Whole Foods or farmer’s market. If you can track one down, try a heritage breed turkey this year. Visit Local Harvest to see if you can order one from a farm near you.

Start with a big green salad.

Getting some fresh raw veggies in at the start of your meal will contribute enzymes that can help with digestion, and will help make you feel fuller. Try a salad that includes fresh, seasonal fruit like apples, pears or citrus, like this one:

Light and Fresh Autumn Pear Salad

Or maybe this one:

High Antioxidant Minty Orange Salad

Amp up the classics.

For many people, it just wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without certain traditional dishes, and there’s no reason to throw tradition out the window in an effort to make your meal healthier. There are some lighter alternatives worth trying.

If you ask me, sweet potatoes are sweet enough — no need to smother them in marshmallows or sugar! Here’s a simple alternative to sweet potato casserole:

Carotenoid-Loaded Roasted Sweet Potatoes & Onions

And here’s a lighter alternative to green bean casserole:

Low-Carb Zesty Green Beans

And a zeaxanthin and quercetin-rich version of corn pudding:

Antioxidant-Rich Corn Onion Pudding

Don’t forget the cranberries! They’re a high antioxidant North American superfood.

High Antioxidant Cranberry-Orange Sauce

Choose your starches wisely.

Here’s where it gets a little trickier. Of course, there is nothing inherently unhealthy about mashed potatoes or stuffing, but here are a few slightly more nutritionally-dense hearty side dishes that you can make either instead or in addition to these.

Chestnuts are delicious!

Low-Fat Pureed Roasted Chestnuts

And so is squash.

Brain-Protecting Curried Winter Squash

Boost the nutritional content of traditional stuffing by using multi-grain bread instead of white (or a prepackaged mix).

Multi-Grain Stuffing with Almonds and Dried Cherries

Or opt for an entirely whole grain, gluten-free alternative, such as this:

Heart-Healthy Rice That’s Nutty and Nice

Or try this high-protein quinoa dish:

High-Protein Quinoa Pudding

Don’t forget about the greens!

Include some mineral-rich spinach, kale or Brussels sprouts in your spread. Here are some crowd-pleasing ideas:

Wilted Spinach with Toasted Walnuts

Quick Anti-Aging Kale Saute

Sweet & Sour Brussels Sprouts

And for dessert…

Pumpkin pie is not a bad option at all. After all, it’s made from a carotenoid-rich squash! But if you want a lighter option, try a fresh fruit based dessert like this:

Orange Pomegranate Ambrosia

Or this low-glycemic chocolate treat:

Low-Glycemic Black Bean Brownies

Make Thanksgiving the healthiest day of the year! Read how.

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Article updated on: November 11th, 2010

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