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Think PlantStrong™ for Thanksgiving

Rip Esselstyn, former professional triathlete and firefighter, created The Engine 2 Diet, a plan of action for a heart-healthy, PlantStrong diet.

Celebration Lentil LoafHow do you enjoy some of the classic holiday flavors and make the shift to a PlantStrong™ diet? It’s easier than you think. Traditional holiday cooking uses many of the foods and ingredients that those of us who are eating PlantStrong™ have eliminated from our diet. But fear not. One easy way to make the shift this holiday season is to focus on your favorite fresh herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes.

Figure out what key flavors your Thanksgiving meal will revolve around – and then make simple substitutions for a healthier holiday menu.For example, I can’t eat Thanksgiving dinner without a sweet potato in the mix. So instead of using the usual brown sugar and butter, or marshmallows for toppings, I top mine with some cinnamon and toasted pecans. HSHHere are a few simple substitutions for a PlantStrong™ Thanksgiving:

  1. Serve whole grain bread instead of white bread, and use whole grain breads in your stuffing.
  2. Sauté with low-sodium veggie broth instead of butter or oil.
  3. Use soymilk or soy creamer when a recipe calls for milk or cream.
  4. Use pureed white beans instead of white flour and cornstarch to thicken sauces, gravies and soups.
  5. Sprinkle dishes with finely crushed nuts and seeds, instead of cheese.

If you’re looking for some new and healthy recipes with traditional holiday flavors – try these:

Chestnut and Wheatberry Salad Cabbage and Apple Slaw

Quinoa with Balsamic Mushrooms Raw Apple Crisp

What tips do you have for making Thanksgiving PlantStrong™? Let us know!

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Mary says …

I liked your idea of using pureed beans as a thickener instead of less healthy choices. This is more for post-thanksgiving eating, but whenever using up all your leftover turkey, turn it into a casserole by layering leftover mashed potatoes, turkey and add beans and veggies, topped off with biscuits. The nice thing about this casserole is you decide how much veg to add, and if you don't have potatoes it's good without them. It's very adaptable. For cranberry sauce, instead of buying the gel that comes in a can, buy real cranberries and oranges and make a fantastic but simple cranberry sauce recipe. Google for details. It's WAY healthier and while it does take some sugar, it's not nearly as much.

Bepkom says …

Those are GREAT suggestions, Mary. Thank you!

Mark Mach says …

Wy is it that when I go to a plant strong meal page, I get a big full page add with a picture of a dead turkey on it? Great content once I get there, but the dead turkey really shouldn't be thrown up as an ad for the vegans trying to get to the content.