Thoughts of your favorite high-carb dishes and sides may be dancing in your head like visions of sugar plums as we approach the holiday season. Trust us; we get it; this time of year evokes a nostalgic longing for recipes of old.
However, the extra calories and carbs that many tend to face and at times consume on Thanksgiving—as you indulge in your family's traditional festive fare—can devastate ketosis and derail your best-intentioned efforts to keep it keto.
But what is life without your family's coveted favorites, at least once a year? We know the prospect of choosing between health and culinary indulgence is daunting, but what if we told you that you could have it all?
Well, we're happy to share that it is entirely possible to enjoy remixed high-carb favorite dishes while maintaining your designated macro budget—and without feeling like you're depriving yourself of a thing!
We are nothing else if not devout foodies, and we believe in having your keto cake and eating it too—guilt-free, of course! So, if you're gearing up for Thanksgiving and are looking for some satisfying recipe remixes to keep it keto and seasonal, continue reading.
Our lives can become so busy throughout the year. Still, Thanksgiving is a perfect time to slow down, break out the familiar traditional recipes, and gather in the kitchen to enjoy the day and create a fabulous and festive meal for all to savor.
But if you're on keto, you may feel like you'll have to police yourself all night and politely decline some classic favorites so as not to compromise your wellness plan on Turkey Day. But there are many "ketofied" family favorites to swap in to ensure your spread is as delicious as it is low-carb.
Plus, there are many holiday food options besides turkey to take your tastebuds to the next level on keto during the holidays. Here are some tried and true keto-friendly Thanksgiving dishes to consider adding to your gathering’s offerings this year.
- Keto Almond Cake Fat Bomb
- Keto Chocolate Soufflé
- Delightful Zucchini Bread
- Keto Pumpkin Walnut Bread
- Keto Pumpkin Pie
- Holiday Orange Cake
- Keto Activate Holiday Fudge
- Irresistible Keto Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
- Love My Lemon Keto Pound Cake
In addition to trying the recipes shared above, there are many swaps to consider when remixing your old favorites into keto-friendly fare.
Here are some low-glycemic alternatives to use instead of the high-carb ingredients ubiquitous to Thanksgiving dinner spreads and how to use them to "ketofy" your all-time favorite meals:
Handy Keto Ingredient Swaps
Potatoes: From sweet potato casserole to mashed potatoes with gravy, many alternative veggies substitute well for potatoes in recipes to help avoid all the unwanted carbs.
Besides, low-carb veggies like cauliflower, turnip, jicama, and radishes can easily stand in as the star in potato-based recipe remixes; and you'll get all of the flavor and texture with a fraction of the carb macros. Think cauliflower mash with gravy- yum!
Pasta: Instead of blowing your macros on mama's lasagna made with high-glycemic noodles, try varieties made from hearts of palm instead.
Noodles made with hearts of palm are often made from that ingredient alone and are high in fiber to ensure that your meal's net carbs remain low—definitely worth consideration. Making a faux Mac and Cheese using cauliflower florets is always a fantastic option, as well!
Rice: Cauliflower comes in handy in so many applications on a ketogenic diet, from remixing mashed potatoes to acting as a fantastic main ingredient in keto pizza crusts or as the MVP in keto tortilla recipes; it's clutch on keto.
If you've experimented with cauliflower and are aware of its many uses, you are likely convinced that there's nothing this cruciferous veggie can't do—and you may be right!
In addition to acting as a perfect swap for many starchy ingredients, cauliflower chopped finely in a food processor can work as a keto-friendly alternative to grain-based rice; it's a treasure and a lifesaver on a low-carb, high-fat diet!
Excellent Keto Veggie Options for the Holidays
- Dark leafy greens (e.g., collard greens, mustard greens, spinach, kale, et al.)
- Green beans (e.g., green bean casserole)
- Roasted Eggplant
- Roasted Zucchini
- Grilled Asparagus
- Cranberry Sauce (homemade with a keto friendly sweetener)
- Faux Mash Potatoes (cauliflower mash)
- Oven Roasted Radishes
- Charcuterie Board: It's a great idea to have a bountiful charcuterie board topped with salted and cured meats, cheeses, bell peppers, olives, pickles, or salted nuts.
- Brussels Sprouts (pair with a sprinkling of crispy bacon bits for a crowd-pleasing side dish)
- Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Red Peppers
- Herbed Cauliflower Rice
- Stuffing made from a keto friendly bread
- Deviled Eggs
- Spinach, Bacon & Artichoke Dip
There are many options to add to your board to make it your own and add the accouterments you and your family prefer. Enjoy the experimenting process and locate which low-carb combinations you like the best.
Alcohol on Keto for the Holidays
Mindful meal selections are essential to stay on track during the holidays. But it's also vital to manage liquid calorie intake at this time to make sure your celebratory libations don't kick you out of ketosis or cause an unwanted caloric surplus—and possible subsequent weight gain.
Here are some keto-friendly beverages that work well on keto:
- Seltzer Water (unsweetened and naturally flavored)
- Pellegrino Sparkling Water
- Low Carb Beer
- Dry Wines
- Keto Smoothies (try our Keto Slimming Shake as a base for a wide variety of fruity and satisfying keto smoothies)
Consuming alcohol on keto may concern you as you may wonder whether drinking your favorite adult beverage will kick you out of ketosis. But no worries, there are a lot of low-sugar, keto-friendly options that you can enjoy on special occasions.
Here's an article dedicated to the best alcohol options to indulge in on keto and how to enjoy them without thwarting your wellness efforts.
Plan Ahead for Success (Willpower vs. Strategy)
Those committed to eating a low-carb, high-fat program will confirm that keto is a lifestyle rather than a fad diet, a total reimagining of your relationship with food, most of all with fat.
Developing a program, meal plan, and general approach to eating keto will prove helpful, especially around the holidays when temptation lies in wait—hoping to disrupt your weight-loss progress at every turn.
We understand the struggle and are here to help! Here are some useful tips to avoid unwanted weight gain after Thanksgiving or during the holiday season:
- Establish healthy habits and maintain them during the holidays. Find which high-fat recipes quell your most intense cravings and keep them handy, so you're always empowered to make a better choice when temptation hits.
- Plan for your holiday festivities. When we fail to plan, we are essentially planning to fail. Use wise tactics like eating before attending social gatherings and always bring at least one keto-friendly dish of your own, so you have a safe option available when fetting.
Don't beat yourself up if you overdo it. Sometimes, family, friends, laughter, and flowing drinks lower inhibitions and, subsequently, lead to higher carb or caloric intake.
It's OK, you can't get healthy from swallowing a single tablespoon of MCT oil, and you can't sabotage your health and wellness efforts with a single day of eating cheat meals.
Forgive yourself and return to your keto meal plan immediately; the holiday is over, and now water under the bridge.
- Stick to turkey and other protein options without high-carb breading or marinades/brines. Or remix recipes to swap in a keto-friendly option to achieve a similar, if not better, result.
Use keto ingredients in roux and gravies. Gravy may seem like a safe sauce to drizzle on your holiday baked bird, but some varieties can contain grain-based flours for thickening, which can quickly compromise ketosis.
Fortunately, keto-friendly thickeners, like xanthan gum are lovely alternatives to thicken gravy without the added carbs—no worries!
Recovering from a Thanksgiving Blowout
If you overdid it on your grandma's pecan pie and eggnog, you might feel a bit defeated and stuck in a derailed state on the day following Thanksgiving. But there’s no need to wallow; recommit to eliminating carbs and sugar and move on.
Plus, as an additional advantage, adding exercise to your keto lifestyle can significantly boost the thermogenic effect of metabolic ketosis—to aid in re-entering ketosis faster after a blip and to help torch excess calories, even during times of rest post-workout.
Also, check out our article filled with tips to help you jumpstart or reset your keto plan after a setback, to arm yourself with the knowledge to recover from a holiday splurge immediately.
Plus, you can take advantage of useful tools, like our 30-second meal plan quiz, to access a personalized keto meal plan for weight loss to provide extra structure and guidance to aid in your success as you return to eating a sugar-free diet.
Click here to take our meal plan quiz for instant access to your customized weight-loss plan today.
Gathering with family and friends around delicious food is a fantastic opportunity to recharge and regroup. Sharing food is a pure form of sharing love, and this is no different during Thanksgiving.
Revamp eggnog by omitting the sugar and spice it up with a shot of keto-friendly adult spirits to kick off the festivities with a little extra bang. And go ahead and give yourself permission to enjoy a plentiful variety of sugar-free dishes on Thanksgiving that can rival any traditional dish and stand as a formidable force because the only thing we lose on keto is unwanted sugar and excess weight, never flavor!
Eat up and Happy Holidays!
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