7 Tips to Prepare a Delicious, Healthy, Energizing Thanksgiving Meal

7 Tips to Prepare a Delicious, Healthy, Energizing Thanksgiving Meal

If you plan on cooking for Thanksgiving, I wanted to make sure you have 7 of my best tips to prepare a delicious, healthy, energizing Thanksgiving meal. Most of us are used to enjoying a Thanksgiving meal filled with traditional foods made with family recipes that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some of these foods while being yummy may not be the best choice for helping you stay radiant and energized especially if you’re dealing with fatigue, gut problems, or autoimmune diseases.


If you’re trying to live a healthy lifestyle with clean eating, exercising, getting restful sleep, and managing stress it’s so important to eat the right foods to fuel your body. You need to buy the best, most nutrient-rich foods that you can afford and prepare these foods in a way that delivers delicious taste, maximum nutritional benefits, minimum inflammation, keeps your gut healthy, and increases your energy. Eating is one of life’s simple pleasures and it’s something we all do daily to live and thrive.


The Thanksgiving holiday has historical origins that involve celebrating a bountiful harvest. Food has been used for centuries to celebrate special occasions and to show love for the people in our lives who we share a meal with. The Thanksgiving holiday is a great time to give thanks and share gratitude for all the wonderful blessings, people and things which bring joy into our lives. This celebration is also all about the food so the easiest way to prepare a nutrient-rich, energizing Thanksgiving meal that is also delicious is to upgrade your choice of ingredients for your recipes.


7 Tips to Prepare a Delicious, Healthy, Energizing Thanksgiving Meal



  1. Upgrade your Turkey.

Your turkey is the star and centerpiece of your holiday meal. Make sure you pick a turkey that is nutrient-rich and humanely raised. Avoid conventionally raised turkeys that are injected with water, salt, vegetable oil, emulsifiers, sodium phosphate, and artificial flavorings.

The best choice is a pasture-raised, heritage breed turkey. These heritage birds are raised on green grass and given 26-28 weeks to develop to their full weight. This is twice as long as factory-farmed raised turkeys are given. Heritage pasture-raised turkeys are free of antibiotics, additives, pesticides, and growth stimulants. The meat is very flavorful, juicy and firm. These birds cost $9-10 dollars per pound. Some breeds include Mexican Black and American Bronze.

Who grows and or sells these birds:

  1. Heritage Foods USA. www.heritagefoodsusa.com
  2. DA-LE-RANCH. www.da-le-ranch.com Located in Lake Elsinore, California.
  3. Grass Fed Traditions. http://grassfedtraditions.com/pastured-turkeys.html. These turkeys are fed pasture and coconut pulp.
  4. Dartagnan. http://www.dartagnan.com
  5. Whole Foods Markets. www.wholefoodsmarket.com


Another good choice are wild turkeys. People who are adventurous eaters and like to think outside the box will appreciate having a wild turkey on their menu. Wild turkeys forage for their food in the wild and their diet is supplemented with alfalfa, barley, and hay. Wild turkeys have rich, gamey tasting meat that is moist and has a firm texture.  These turkeys have more dark meat than white meat. Since wild turkeys rarely grow over 10 pounds they are good choice for smaller family celebrations. Please don’t expect these turkeys to taste like a Butterball turkey you normally get from the supermarket. These turkeys are free of antibiotics, additives, pesticides, and growth stimulants. These birds cost $10-12 per pound.

Who grows and or sells these birds:

  1. Dartagnan. http://www.dartagnan.com

These wild turkeys cost $11-12 per pound.


Another choice are organic Heirloom turkeys. Organic heirloom turkeys are certified organic by the USDA and are raised on organic, non-gmo grains including corn and soybean. They’re also given vitamins and minerals to supplement their diet. These turkeys are free of antibiotics, additives, pesticides, and growth stimulants. These turkeys are closest in taste to the turkeys you may be used to eating at Thanksgiving. This turkey is not the  best choice for eating Paleo, Primal or Bulletproof but it’s a much better choice than a conventionally raised turkey that has been given gmo grains, growth stimulants and antibiotics.


Who grows and or sells these birds:

  1. Organic Prairie. http://www.organicprairie.com
  2. Dartagnan. http://www.dartagnan.com
  3. American Farmer’s Network. http://www.americanfarmersnetwork.com/
  4. Williams Sonoma. http://www.williams-sonoma.com/shop/thanksgiving/

These organic heirloom turkeys cost $6-11 per pound.


Cooking Instructions for the Turkey


I like to make a herb infused compound butter to stuff under the turkey skin and also on top of the skin to keep my turkey meat juicy. Place your seasoned butter infused turkey or brined turkey in a large roasting pan on top of a bed of sliced onions, celery, carrots, and peeled garlic cloves with 1-2 cups of organic chicken bone broth or stock added into the pan. If not stuffing fill turkey cavity with sliced lemons, more onions, carrots, 1-2 bay leaves, and fresh herbs.  Cover with a loose foil tent for the first hour then remove it. Unstuffed turkeys cook for 15-18 minutes per pound at 350°F. For stuffed turkeys add an additional 5 minutes per pound. Baste your turkey with the pan dripping every 30-40 minutes. Start checking your turkey 30-45 minutes before the recommended cook time is over. Use a thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh to see if it’s ready. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes before carving.


  1. Upgrade your stuffing/dressing

Traditional stuffing recipes use enriched wheat bread cubes, packaged wheat bread crumbs or cornbread crumbs that may be made with hydrogenated or highly refined vegetable oils, corn syrup, refined table salt, and msg. Upgrade this stuffing by making a Paleo, grain-free stuffing. You can make grain-free bread with a blend of coconut flour, almond flour or cassava flour.  Many stores like Sprouts Farmer’s Market and Whole Foods Market are carrying commercial brands of grain-free breads. Here’s another good source to buy Paleo bread. Here’s a good recipe to make your own. Then you can cut this Paleo bread into cubes, toast until golden and use this bread in your regular stuffing recipes. Here’s a good grain-free stuffing recipe. Or if you don’t want to go grain-free you can make cornbread dressing with sprouted organic cornmeal, pastured butter, and organic milk. For a unique, non-traditional stuffing try using white rice, pink rice, or wild rice, root vegetables, sausage, fruit and or nuts.


  1. Upgrade your gravy.

Gravy is usually made with a blend of wheat flour to thicken it, pan drippings, seasonings, and chicken or turkey stock. Upgrade your gravy by using roasted vegetables to thicken your gravy. I like to roast my turkey on a bed of carrots, celery, onion and garlic cloves and then use these vegetables to make my gravy. I add the cooked vegetables to a blender with a bit of the pan drippings, chicken bone broth and pink salt to taste. Or you can thicken your gravy by using arrowroot starch in place of wheat flour.



Purple Smashed Potatoes with Caramelized Onions and Basil



  1. Upgrade your starchy side dishes.

    Upgrade your starchy side dishes like mashed white potatoes or macaroni and cheese with more nutrient-rich starchy vegetables. Try sweet potatoes, parsnips, Japanese or yellow flesh sweet potatoes, yams, or mashed purple potatoes.



Honey Balsamic Roasted Carrots


  1. Add in lots of colorful vegetable side dishes.

    There are so many tasty and colorful seasonal vegetables that you can include on your Thanksgiving table. I like purple or orange cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, winter squashes like butternut and Delicata squash, red cabbage, collard greens, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, rainbow carrots, and green beans.


  1. Upgrade your cranberry sauce.

    Replace canned cranberry sauce made with refined sugar or corn syrup with homemade cranberry relish. You can use one 12 ounce bag of fresh cranberries, the segments and juice from two tangerines or one large navel orange, and 1/3 cup of filtered water. Cook in a saucepan over medium low heat until cranberries start to burst and then sweeten to taste with Lakanto, xylitol, stevia, erythritol, Swerve, or raw honey. Cool to room temperature and then place in glass jar with a lid in the refrigerator.



Dark Chocolate Cranberry Truffles




  1. Upgrade your desserts.


    Replace traditional desserts made with refined white sugar, hydrogenated shortening, non organic butter and wheat flour with upgraded versions. Some good choices are making your pumpkin or sweet potato pie with a grain-free crust made with almond, coconut or cassava flour and pastured butter or ghee. Or use nut crusts made with pecans, walnuts or cashews. Make the pie filling with organic spices, organic pumpkin puree or sweet potatoes, coconut milk, ghee or pastured butter, raw honey, stevia, Swerve, erythritol, or Lakanto. You can also make dark chocolate coconut truffles, baked apples or pears, coconut milk or organic raw milk ice creams, grain-free cakes, or nut flour cookies.


Check out this post on my site to get lots of yummy recipes for your Thanksgiving celebration: http://aharmonyhealing.com/92-delectable-real-food-recipes-perfect-entertaining/


Check out this post on my site for mouthwatering gluten-free dessert recipes for your Thanksgiving celebration: http://aharmonyhealing.com/60-delicious-gluten-free-desserts-perfect-for-entertaining/


Check out these 33 recipes for a Paleo Thanksgiving on Buzzfeed. Click this link to view.


I hope that my tips will help you enjoy a beautiful Thanksgiving celebration with your family and friends that is filled with joy and lots of delicious healthy foods!


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Turkey picture courtesy of Williams Sonoma.


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  1. I’m not preparing a Thanksgiving meal. I’m relatively new to cutting out the grains and other stuff, these tips are very helpful. Happy Thanksgiving!!!
    Evelyn recently posted..Get Rid of Your Dislike for Exercise Once and for AllMy Profile

  2. I’m going to try some of your tips. Frankly, I’ve gotten used to doing things in a routine for Thanksgiving, even Christmas. It would definitely be refreshing to change things up a bit.
    Marj recently posted..Smoothie Only Diet: Is it Good for Weight Loss?My Profile

  3. Natalie Smith says:

    Very interesting, i will try and make cranberry sauce for my family, thanks for sharing your ideas for tasty meals.
    Natalie Smith recently posted..Try Out the Best Tzatziki Recipe a Cucumber Yogurt SauceMy Profile

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