By Jessica Wasik
Comforting home-cooked meals are one of the most anticipated parts of the holiday season, and it all kicks off with the biggest food-focused celebration of the year: Thanksgiving. Unfortunately the rich recipes coupled with the delectable desserts and calorie-laden cocktails that cover the Thanksgiving table are one of the top contributors to dreaded holiday weight gain. Roughly 75 percent of annual weight gain takes place during Halloween and New Year’s Day. While the average American only gains one to two pounds during the season, there are healthy, easy and, most importantly, delicious ways to beat the bloat and ward off the weight.
Rania Harris, the caterer and food aficionado of Rania’s Catering, shares three of her favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes that will leave you feeling satisfied and coming back for seconds of these fresh, wholesome entrees.
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For more than 30 years, Rania Harris has generously shared her love of food through cooking and teaching classes at Rania Catering, her locally renowned catering company. Even if you’re never tasted her amazing catering, you’ve likely seen her popular segment, Cooking With Rania, on KDKA-TV’s Pittsburgh Today Live, where she highlights and prepares a new recipe each week. Rania believes that food is the heart of the holidays, helping create meaningful meals and tasty traditions. She finds great joy in sharing her passion with others by offering cooking classes at her Mt. Lebanon location.
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts With Autumn Fruits
Caramelized Brussels sprouts with autumn fruits combines the most delicious flavors of fall, including fresh pairs and apples. If you’ve never tried Brussels sprouts, this seasonal side dish is a nice introduction to them. This recipe serves 12 making it an ideal choice for a Thanksgiving side at a large family gathering.
Related: Best Holiday Cocktail Recipes
Goat Cheese, Chive, And Pistachio Spread
Most dips are rich in unhealthy fats and high in calories, but not Rania’s goat cheese, chive, and pistachio spread. Despite its flavorful finish, it is surprisingly healthy and an unexpected addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. Serve as an appetizer along with crudités and fresh crostini. Because this spread can be made up to two days before the holidays, it makes for a low-stress, easy treat. Once prepared, simply cover and refrigerate. When you’re ready to serve it, remove the spread from the refrigerator roughly 45 minutes before serving to allow it to reach room temperature.
Brussels Sprouts With Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a favorite fall food for many, but between turkey, rich desserts and high-calorie sides, it is often overlooked as a Thanksgiving addition. Full of nutrients, squash makes a fantastic choice, whether you roast it, use it in soup or make it the highlight of a side dish, like Rania did when she paired it with Brussels sprouts in this scrumptious recipe.
Tip the vegetables into a serving dish. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and top with pomegranate seeds. Toss and serve immediately.