“What the heck is a tofurky?!” This was the question that arose during a conversation with my cousin a couple of years back, when she told me her vegan-practicing family would be having the dish for Thanksgiving that year. “It’s basically a turkey-flavored tofu roll and it’s amazing!’ she replied with a giddiness that left me wondering if she had found the eggnog before we did! Now, at one point in my life, I would have believed products like tofurky or vegan bacon were an abomination to everything that’s good and just in this world. Then, I took the leap and tried it. I had no idea such science was possible! It tastes like turkey! (slightly chewy but remarkable nonetheless) And it’s good for me, you say?! Is this some sort of witchcraft?! What madness! I’ll have another! So, of course, this led me to wonder; what other healthy food alternatives are out there?
Spaghetti night was always a coveted night in my household. To the point where my parents made me take off the fake mustache and stop saying “Buongiorno” every five minutes. Simple enough recipe: prepare noodles, add sauce, COVER in parmesan, inhale. But if you’re watching your carb intake, spaghetti squash is simply awesome. Even better, you can grill it or microwave it to save time. All you need is olive oil and a fork. If cooked properly, it has the exact same flavor and consistency as those regular, starchy noodles. Invite some friends over for dinner and don’t tell them it’s squash, just watch their reactions. Makes you feel like a superhero. A health conscious, Julia Child-esque superhero.
Here’s another great swap you may not have known: Mashed cauliflower instead of potatoes. I heard your nostrils flair as soon as you read that sentence. Here’s the deal – it’s super healthy AND it tastes like exactly whipped potatoes. Best if you use a food processor. I’ve even included the recipe I like to use here, for your convenience. I was raised to try every food I’m offered at least once and I’m glad I did with this recipe. Potatoes have always been my biggest weakness but using cauliflower gives me all those nutrients without all the starch. Just go easy on the butter, bacon and cheese.
Please do yourself a favor and try at least one of these healthy food alternatives this holiday season. You can’t go wrong with any of them and Thanksgiving is the perfect time to try the mashed cauliflower or the tofurky, if you’re feeling bold. In the long run, they’ll save you a couple of inches in your waist line and have you feeling light on your feet. However, I understand if you want to take baby steps. I find a great way to start is by not dipping everything in ranch, but I’m a simple man… Have a safe, fun, and relaxing Thanksgiving this year! Buongiorno!