Think PlantStrong™ for Thanksgiving

Traditional holiday cooking calls for many ingredients that don’t mesh with a PlantStrong™ diet. Read and share tips for enjoying the holidays with plant-based substitutions.

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

Celebration Lentil Loaf

How 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.


Here 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

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