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Some healthy alternatives: If you’re watching your weight — don’t skip Thanksgiving dinner

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MILWAUKEE -- If you're watching your weight -- don't skip Thanksgiving dinner. Clinical nutritionist Paige Welsh joins FOX6 WakeUp with some healthy alternatives.


  • Grilled or baked turkey instead of fried (even better if it’s organic, free-range, no nitrates/nitrites).
  • Use a head of cauliflower in mashed potatoes (or just do mashed cauliflower).
  • Sautéd Brussels sprouts with organic turkey bacon instead of green bean casserole.
  • Sweet potato bake with unsweetened coconut milk topped with pecans (instead of adding marshmallows and butter).
  • Sea salt versus table salt (what’s the difference, why this is important).
  • Add broccoli sprouts to a salad (easy way to pack in a lot of nutrition during holidays—one large handful of broccoli sprouts is equivalent to the nutrition of a whole head of broccoli).
  • Use quinoa flakes instead of bread crumbs in the stuffing.
  • Almond flour pumpkin bread/muffin mix from Simple Mills as a healthy dessert option.
  • Red wine or kombucha/vodka instead of beer, old fashions, or other sugar-laden mixed drinks.

Quinoa & Wild Rice Stuffing


  • 2 TBSP olive oil (plus more for drizzling over top and for the baking dish)
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 medium granny smith apples, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 TBSP thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup sauvignon blanc or chardonnay
  • 4 cups vegetable or bone broth
  • 2 cups uncooked wild rice
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (rinse well) or quinoa flakes
  • 1 ½ cups dried cranberries (with no added sugar)
  • 1 cup raw pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sage leaves, minced


  1. Place a large pot over medium heat with the olive oil. Once warm, add the onions and celery, stirring occasionally, until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the apples, garlic, thyme and salt to the pot and stir frequently for one-two more minutes. Stir in wine, and then add the broth. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the wild rice and reduce the heat to medium-low. Simmer until rice is tender, about 35 minutes. Stir in quinoa and cover. Cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Add the cranberries, pecans, parsley, and sage. Add additional salt if desired. Remove from heat.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Rub a large casserole dish (9 x 13-inch is best) with olive oil. Scoop the mixture into the dish, lightly mounding it instead of mashing it down.
  3. Bake until golden brown, around 25-30 minutes. Drizzle with a little more olive oil once baked and sprinkle with additional chopped parsley if desired.

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole


For Mash:

  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, diced and cooked
  • 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (optional)

For Topping:

  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 2 TBSP grass-fed butter, coconut oil or ghee
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of sea salt
  •   3 TBSP pure maple syrup (optional)


  1. Add cooked sweet potatoes to a large mixing bowl. Add coconut milk, sea salt, eggs, vanilla and maple syrup (if using). Mash until there are no lumps.
  2. Pour mash into a baking dish and smooth the surface.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and make the topping.
  4. In a medium bowl, combine pecans, butter/oil, cinnamon, sea salt and maple syrup (if using). Sprinkle over the sweet potato mash.
  5. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove foil and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until topping is browned.

Brussels Sprouts & Turkey Bacon


  • 8 ounces organic, uncured, nitrate-free turkey bacon
  • 2 dozen Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
  • Sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste


  1. Cook the turkey bacon in a skillet over medium heat until crispy.
  2. Take the turkey bacon out of the pan and set aside until needed. Leave the grease in the pan and add a little avocado oil or olive oil spray.
  3. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and stir around until they are coated with the turkey bacon grease and avocado or olive oil spray. Cover the pan with a lid, and reduce heat to medium low. Cook for an additional 5-10 minutes.
  4. Take off the lid and add in the cooked turkey bacon. Cook, uncovered, until the Brussels sprouts are tender or as brown as you’d like (cover the pan again if you want the Brussels sprouts soft).
  5. Season with sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.
  6. *If using large Brussels sprouts, the cook time will need to be increased.
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