My Guide to Thanksgiving and Fall Meals

Be Well Living
My Guide to Thanksgiving and Fall Meals

Cue the crunchy leaves, short days, and pumpkin EVERYTHING, it’s fall and I for one am here for it. As the days get a little cooler - well, here in SoCal it’s still slightly on the warm side - I think we need warm meals to get us through. Whether you're with family or friends this fall, here is my guide to keeping all your meals delicious and Fab 4. 

This page contains affiliate links and are asterisked as they appear.

First things first, I’m a Fab 4 smoothie girl so I think it's a good idea to start with smoothies, especially ones that fit the season. Here are two of my current favorites: 

  1. Caramel Apple Pie Smoothie - lets you start your day with that delicious tangy sweetness that will take you back to childhood. I’m not opposed to using fruit in your #fab4smoothie, I just know you’ll feel better and more satisfied throughout the day if you keep it to one serving of fruit and also include the Fab 4 for optimal nourishment.

  2. Pumpkin Pie Smoothie, because fall is now officially just one big love letter to pumpkins, am I right? Treat yourself to a Thanksgiving-themed #fab4smoothie all season long (or year-round, I won’t tell). 

Now, I know not everyone will want a smoothie and that’s okay too. Smoothie or not, I want you to get in a satisfying breakfast that will ensure you make nourishing choices throughout the day. Here are my favorite non-smoothie breakfasts I like to make for myself or my boys! 

  1. I’m a big fan of eggs in all forms. They’re delicious, nutrient-packed, and versatile enough to be used at all meals. When I’m feeling extra fancy, I like to take my scramble to the next level and make something like this Farmers Market Frittata

  2. For all my oatmeal lovers who are all about balancing their blood sugar first thing in the morning, my Pumpkin Pie Chia Pudding Parfait or Chia seed pudding are for you! Comes together in less than 5 minutes and will give you all the warm feels a big bowl of oatmeal would, minus the blood sugar spike.  

Cozy afternoons and evenings are meant to be paired with warm meals, am I right? Here are my favorite meals that are crowd pleasers AND make great leftovers. I hope you make them tonight, and to be honest, I might make some myself! 

  1. Snuggle up with a warm blanket, your favorite fall movie and a bowl of my Buffalo Chili and you’ve got a pretty perfect afternoon, in my opinion.  

  2. Chicken Enchilada Soup gets me every time! It’s warm and satisfying but you can also pep it up with a little hot sauce if that’s your style. 

  3. After a bowl of my Kale and White Bean Veggie Soup, everyone can leave the table happy. It’s a great option for plant-based eaters, but you can easily add in some chicken or beef, or serve it on the side of your favorite roasted protein. Do yourself a favor and make some extra to freeze and enjoy later!

After dinner or mid-day may make you want to go for a warm drink. If tea is your thing, I highly encourage you to do some research into where your favorite brands source their products. Plant products can be high in heavy metals and pesticides, and this includes tea leaves. I trust Pique Tea* for many reasons, one of which is that they triple screen for heavy metals, pesticides, and mold! If tea isn’t your drink of choice, consider adding some adaptogens to support both your immune system and your adrenals.

  1. Pique Tea Electric Turmeric

  2. Pique Cinnamon 

  3. Pique Tea Sun Goddess Matcha - this is what I used to take a month off of Coffee in July.

  4. Four Sigmatic Chaga Elixir for immune support

  5. Four Sigmatic Chai Latte with Reishi for that afternoon chill

Let’s talk Thanksgiving, shall we?

Holidays can be a tricky season, but I want you to enjoy this season and not be preoccupied with food choices! To help with this, I always suggest having a plan because I believe it’s easy for you to increase the nutrient density of your meals with a little planning!

For the Turkey:

  • For the most classic recipes, I turn to pros like Ina Garten. In her Perfect Roast Turkey, she shows you how to use simple clean ingredients to create a delicious centerpiece for your holiday celebration. All you need to do is ensure you elevate your ingredients! Use a lactose-free ghee or pastured Kerrygold unsalted butter.

  • When you’re done celebrating, save the bones to make your own bone broth. You know I’m a fan of bone broth because it’s an excellent source of collagen and can be a nutrient-rich and hydrating drink, bridge snack, or meal base to support your immune system year-round. Freeze it in individual serving sizes to make for easy sipping whenever you need it. 

Swap Mashed Potatoes for my Herby Cauliflower Mash:

  • An easy Fab 4 swap for your Thanksgiving meal is a cauliflower mash for mashed potatoes. Cauliflower is a cruciferous vegetable that is rich in fiber and a good source of sulforaphane, a phytochemical that activates genes responsible for detoxification, reducing inflammation, and cell defense. Add a package of riced cauliflower or 1 large head of cauliflower and Kerrygold herb butter to your shopping list, I have the easiest cauliflower mash recipe ever!

Easy Oven-Roasted Veggies:

What do I know for certain? That ripe seasonal produce doesn't need much and the simpler we make it the better it tastes and the better we feel. Here are the 3 recipes I am tweaking to make this thanksgiving chock-full of fiber and greens! 

  • Roasted Veggies: They taste fancy but they are so easy. Simple dress your favorite veggie (broccoli, cauliflower, or Brussel sprouts) with EVOO (code BEWELL for 15% off) and your favorite seasonings. Roast them at 400 for 30 minutes flipping halfway through and you will have restaurant-quality roasted veggies.
  • Brussels sprouts: If I’m being honest, I make these at least once a week because they’re delicious and I know both of my boys love them. Plus when it comes to preparing the Brussels sprouts all you have to do is trim the stem a little bit and throw them in the oven. With all the prep that’s already happening in the kitchen these are a perfect fail-safe side. 
  • Green Beans: Green bean casserole is a Thanksgiving stable but you can easily lighten it up and brighten it up by using a green bean almondine recipe or searching for a deconstructed recipe. I am using this recipe, and this one too, as inspiration for my table. 

A Fab 4 meal includes plenty of vegetables, but what if you have picky eaters (kids or adults) at your table? For kids, I’ve found the more I let my kids be involved in the process, the more vegetables they eat. The research backs this up too, exposure and modeling are the two predictors of acceptance. Here are some easy ways to let your kids be involved in meal planning and dinner prep:

    1. Let them pick the vegetables they want to include
    2. Include them throughout the cooking process (just expect a little more mess than normal). Washing produce, adding seasoning, and mixing are all easy ways kids can help 
    3. Use child-safe knives* and a learning tower* from Amazon or Lalo* so they can help you cut the vegetables. The learning tower brings kids up to counter height so they can watch you while your cooking!

    Fresh and Flavorful Salads:

    I love the idea of a cold deli-style salad with a bright beet or carrot salad that will bring color to your table. It mixes up the temperatures on your plate and allows for the host to make this side a full day ahead of time. I am using this delicious salad as the base, holding the cheese and adding golden beets. But here are a few others I think would be fabulous! 

    • Beet Orange Salad
    • Beet, Carrot, and Pomegranate Salad
    • Large Herb Salad: I love this herb salad that was originally published in the New York Times. So many times we can be tempted to overthink a salad and add the whole kitchen sink but I think the point of a thanksgiving salad is to lighten the meal with a mix of delicate leaves and herbs with a well-balanced dressing. Make it dairy-free by swapping out the butter for olive oil and purchasing dry roasted slivered almonds or try one of the other alternatives listed below:

    Don’t fear Sweet Potatoes!

    • Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense, complex carbohydrate, as well as a delicious and common side dish around the Thanksgiving table. The trouble is, most sweet potato casseroles are topped with marshmallows or a sugary crumble that would have most Fab 4 devotees passing right by them. Have no fear - you don’t have to skip this holiday favorite! You can easily find healthier versions, like this one from Well Plated, which contains minimal sugar and includes a nice dose of pecans, or use Max Mallows to indulge in your favorite mallow side.

    Cranberry sauce:

    • Cranberries are full of vitamins and nutrients, including vitamin C and polyphenols, so don’t be afraid to include them in your meal! Most recipes call for a cup of sugar, but that can quickly lead to a blood sugar crash you don’t want to deal with. Instead, try a Fab 4 friendlier recipe like my chia cranberry sauce which slows the digestion of sugar with added fiber or this one from Cookie and Kate, which is sweetened with either honey or maple syrup. You could also try swapping out the sweetener all together for something like allulose or Now Foods Sugarless Sugar. Adding chia to any cranberry sauce makes it thick and supports blood sugar balance. 

    Healthy wine options:

    Non-Alcoholic options are a must! 

    • Whether you’re cooking, lounging around the house, or planning cocktail hour, it’s always nice to have non-alcoholic options easily accessible. My favorite go-to? You guys know I love SOUND Tea - it’s a great way to lower alcohol and sugar consumption during the holidays and even while working remotely from home. Give the rose and hibiscus tea a try with the code BEWELL for a friendly discount.

    • Sometimes, cravings for sweet or savory foods can be mistaken for thirst or electrolyte imbalance. By drinking LMNT electrolytes throughout the day, you can help prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalances that may contribute to cravings for less healthy food and beverages. LMNT electrolytes offer a flavorful and refreshing alternative to alcoholic drinks, providing the same satisfaction without the negative consequences. Use my link for a FREE gift with purchase!

    Pumpkin Pie:

    • I love pumpkin and these bite-size pumpkin pies sweetened with dates are the perfect sweet treat for November!

    Nutrient-dense seasonings:

    • By choosing nutrient-dense seasonings, you can amplify the nutritional quality of your foods without even thinking about it! I get most of my seasoning from Thrive Market to help you boost the flavor of your favorite foods while also packing in some beneficial nutrients. You can use my link to get 30% off your first order and a FREE $60 gift!

    Planning meals around the holidays doesn’t have to be scary or stressful. Find ways to adapt your favorite recipes to include protein, fat, fiber, and greens and get the whole family involved in the process. You’ll make a meal to remember and then get to enjoy your hard work together, a memory I’m sure you’ll be thankful for. I hope you can use these recipes ideas as inspiration for a Fab 4 fall and holiday season you love!