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The AICR Lifestyle & Cancer Symposium addresses the most current and consequential issues regarding diet, obesity, physical activity and cancer.

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Read real-life accounts of how AICR is changing lives through cancer prevention and survivorship.

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November 7, 2019 | 3 minute read

A Healthy Twist on Your Thanksgiving Menu

Planning a healthy Thanksgiving menu doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the amazing flavors of fall. This Thanksgiving, boost the health potential of your holiday meal with colorful and seasonal vegetables, beans, whole grains, fruits and nuts. Many of these plant-based foods provide cancer-fighting fibers, vitamins A and C and protective phytochemicals.

Don’t know where to start?

Here are a few alternatives to classic Thanksgiving dishes that will please your taste buds and keep your health in check during the holiday season.

For the main course, try AICR’s recipe for Roasted Turkey Breast Porchetta-Style. This dish is an Italian take on the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and its elegant presentation is guaranteed to wow your guests! The cancer-fighting herbs and spices provide a flavor boost for a unique, Italian-inspired roast with delicious, moist meat and very little salt.

veggie meatballs in a bowl with a garnish

Veggie Meatballs

If you’re trying to shine a light on plant foods this holiday, try making a plant-based entrée alternative. A great option is veggie “meatballs”—savory little balls filled with the goodness of beans, grains, vegetables, and herbs. This dish makes the perfect party appetizer, holiday entrée, or comfort food. Just watch meat-eaters and plant-eaters alike gobble them up in no time.

Now that you have your main course, dress up the dining table with healthy plant-based sides. Our Cider-glazed Sweet Potatoes with Cranberries are a great addition to any Thanksgiving meal. Sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C and they contain the antioxidant beta-carotene, which helps repair damaged cells.

A nutrient-rich salad like our Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad is another great option for a plant-based side. The crunch from the walnuts and pomegranates provides a nice contrast to the soft roasted butternut squash, and the flavors are all brought together with a bright lemon maple vinaigrette.

Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad in wooden bowl with utensils

Kale, Butternut Squash and Pomegranate Salad

Finally, everyone’s favorite course – dessert. Instead of traditional pumpkin pie, try Baked Apples with Walnuts and Raisins. Not only does this treat scream fall, but the apples are packed with pectin fiber, which helps your gut bacteria produce compounds that protect colon cells. Additionally, the walnuts add important omega-3 fat along with cancer-protective phenolic acids and heart-friendly phytosterols.

If you are going to have pie, try the Square Apple Pie.  It’s simple to make and the apples are a good source of fiber and antioxidants, making it a top cancer-fighting food. The combination of healthful spices and whole-wheat flour with less sugar and butter makes it a delicious take on a traditionally decadent dessert.

With this cancer-protective menu, AICR wishes you a delicious and healthy Thanksgiving! For more recipes, check out our Healthy Recipes page.

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