It is hard to believe in two weeks we will be rushing to the store to grab everything we need for our Thanskgiving meals. We have all seen a million different statistics about holiday weight gain, and you don’t need me to repeat them to you. When it comes to holiday eating, I like to stay balanced. I load my plate with the healthy items and save some room for a few of my favorite treats, which at Thanksgiving usually means anything with pumpkin.
When asked to bring something to Thanksgiving dinner I always volunteer for a healthier dish so I know there will be at least one healthy option (and there are usually more).
Growing up I loved the overnight salad my aunt used to make. I used to load my plate up with it and then go back for everything else. I thought I was eating healthy because it was salad… until I learned more about nutrition. This salad was loaded with mayonnaise and sugar as the dressing. I then knew I needed to come up with a different salad to take to Thanksgiving.
I adapted this Cranberry Spinach salad from a recipe a friend gave me to make it a Thanksgiving dish.
Cranberry Spinach Salad
Salad: In a large salad bowl combine the following ingredients.
10 cups of spinach
1 cup of fresh cranberries
1 1/2 cups of roasted sweet potatoes
1 container of crumbled goat cheese
1 cup of walnuts
Dressing: whisk together the following ingredients.
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper to taste
Pour dressing over salad and mix together!
A few notes about this recipe:
- I base how many this serves on everyone using a small wooden salad bowl to eat their salad (about 2- 2.5 cups per person).
- Fresh cranberries are the healthiest option here. However, for some, they can be extremely tart. You could substitute craisins in this salad, but it will increase the amount of sugar.
- Right now I cannot eat dairy and this recipe is still good without the cheese. Although the goat cheese does make it fantastic.
- For my sweet potatoes, I use in a recipe earlier in the week for dinner and make extra. Cut them in cubes, coat with olive oil and salt, bake at 400 degree for 20-25 minutes. They crispier the better in this recipe.
- Walnuts are my favorite, but pecans would be good too.
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I like you always sign up to bring a healthy dish then I know I can balance myself a bit more and help to try and encourage family (though it is a struggle with my hubby’s side!) to eat healthier. I usually pick one thing from the spread to indulge on and take a small portion of it up – then I don’t go nuts and I truly truly savor each bite!!
Yes, encouraging family can be tough, but with time it will get better. My in-laws have turned a corner on healthy eating and it is great…. only took 6 years!