Give Thanks for a Happier, Healthier Turkey Day!

TS-489734836 healthy Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving doesn’t have to be a carb-loaded, overeating frenzy. You can make satisfying, anti-aging food choices for this holiday that will leave you feeling thankful for indulging. Take turkey, for example. I cook at least four turkeys each Thanksgiving because I usually have about 30 people over for dinner. Turkey contains tryptophan, which produces niacin, giving us energy. Turkey also contains the selenium, a detoxifying antioxidant. You don’t have to drown your turkey in fatty gravy. It can be deliciously sauced using healthier ingredients. I like to marinate my turkeys in a mixture of red wine, soy sauce, and lemon juice before roasting. By the time the turkey is done roasting, the marinade has become a rich sauce.

TS-483524340 Turkey

Resveratrol is present in another classic Thanksgiving ingredient: cranberries. Every year I make Cranberry Bread Pudding. I add walnuts to my bread pudding because they are high in antioxidants like Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin E—both of which reduce the risk of heart disease. Instead of butter, I use a butter substitute, Smart Balance®, so that this dessert stays heart-healthy.

Wild rice is another holiday staple that is really good for us. It’s a whole grain that provides the FoodTrient fiber for great digestion and Omega-3s, which also is good for our skin. It can be cooked with plenty of herbs and tossed with lightly sautéed bell peppers for a colorful side dish.

TS-489756998 Wild Rice

You can also add some healthy holiday vegetables like red cabbage and leeks.

The trick is to load your table with delicious healthy options while minimizing exposure to foods—such as like mashed potatoes, white rolls, or creamy gravies. Mashed sweet potatoes are a better choice than mashed white potatoes because the orange tubers contain carotenoids, a FoodTrient that supports the immune system. Whole-grain rolls (as opposed to white ones) will provide fiber, Omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium.

Pumpkin is another healthy Thanksgiving tradition. Be sure to use evaporated milk in your pumpkin pies instead of cream and a sugar substitute like Xylotol. In the crust, you can substitute Smart Balance for the shortening. That way, you will reap all the benefits of pumpkin’s carotenoids and fiber without taking in too much fat or sugar. The same rules apply to apple pies. Just remember to leave the skins on the apples so that you will get some quercetin , an anti-inflammatory that can reduce allergy symptoms and keep arteries from becoming inflamed. I make a beautiful Pear and Apple Tart with plenty of cinnamon, an antioxidant-rich holiday spice that makes me feel good about eating dessert.

TS-71262053 Pumpkin Pie

Another favorite dessert of mine is my Brazil Nut Tarts. These tarts, with their hint of lime and rich texture, take Brazil nuts to a new level. Brazil nuts are full of selenium and protein, as well as Omega-3s, which help to keep your skin elastic and hydrated and to reduce swelling and redness. I like to make several small tarts from this recipe, but you can make one large tart if you prefer—just increase the baking time by 10-15 minutes.

Brazil Nut Tarts



2 9-in. whole-wheat pie crusts
1 can (12 oz.) evaporated milk
2 Tbs. tapioca flour diluted in 4 Tbs. water
2 beaten large eggs
2 Tbs. coconut butter
2 Tbs. lime juice (about 1 lime)
1 tsp. lime zest
1/2 cup organic sugar or xylitol
1 cup toasted and finely chopped Brazil nuts

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Line four 5-inch tart shells with the pie crusts. Poke the crusts with a fork and bake until just beginning to brown, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
    3. In a bowl, combine the evaporated milk, diluted tapioca flour, and the eggs. Whisk together until smooth.
    4. Cook the tapioca mixture in a double boiler over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until thick, about 20-25 minutes.
    5. Add the coconut butter, lime juice and zest, and sugar substitute and continue cooking and stirring for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the nuts.
    6. Pour the mixture into the precooked tart pans and bake at 350 degrees until firm and golden brown, about 20-25 minutes.

About Grace O

Grace O has been cooking and baking professionally and recreationally all of her adult life. As a child in Southeast Asia, she learned the culinary arts by her mother’s side in her family’s cooking school. She became so well versed in hospitality and the culinary arts, she eventually took over the cooking school and opened three restaurants. She is widely credited with popularizing shrimp on sugar-cane skewers and being one of the first culinarians to make tapas a global trend. She has cooked for ruling families and royalty. Grace O’s move to America precipitated a career in healthcare, inspired by her father, who was a physician. Twenty years and much hard work later, she operates skilled nursing facilities in California. Grace O strives to create flavorful food using the finest ingredients that ultimately lead to good health. Her recipes, although low in saturated fat, salt, and sugar, are high in flavor. Grace employs spices from all over the world to enliven her dishes, creating food that is different and delicious. She believes that food can be just as effective at fighting aging as the most expensive skin creams. And since she’s over 50 herself, she’s living proof of that.
What Do FoodTrients Do?
Ai Anti- inflammatories

Reduce inflammatory process in cells, tissues, and blood vessels, helping to slow aging and reduce risk of long-term disease.

Ao Anti- oxidant

Prevents and repairs oxidative damage to cells caused by free radicals.

IB Immunity Boosters

Support the body’s resistance to infection and strengthen immune vigilance and response.

MB Mind

Improves mood, memory, and focus.

F Disease Prevention

Reduces risk factors for common degenerative and age-related diseases.