The Inflammation-Reducing Sage & Walnut Roasted Butternut Squash Everyone At Thanksgiving Will Be Addicted To
Thanksgiving might be the ultimate You. We. All. holiday, with an emphasis on giving back, gratitude, and community—and, of course, plenty of delicious food. While a typical Thanksgiving table might be enough to induce a stomachache based on sight alone, we think of the holiday as an opportunity to nourish your body, in addition to your soul. With that in mind, we reached out to some of the year’s biggest food stars to share their favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipe and some tips, tricks, and traditions that help them get through the holiday with a smile on their face (and bellyache free!).
To round out our Thanksgiving sides, we asked Katie Dunlop for a fresh take on the stuffing flavors that so many of us love. After losing 50 pounds (and keeping it off!), Katie created the mega-popular Love Sweat Fitness Instagram account, which now boasts 246,000 followers. Today, she’s teaching us a few tips for having a healthier Thanksgiving, and sharing her Sage & Walnut Roasted Butternut Squash recipe from her new cookbook, Guiltless Nutrition Lifestyle & Recipe Book.
mbg: What are your favorite Thanksgiving traditions or rituals?
KD: Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's the one holiday a year that really helps us all refocus on what’s important. For me, it’s my health and my family. Every year, my family and I do a morning beach walk/run. It’s such a great way to set our day. We get to talk and catch up while doing something great for our bodies, too. We also all love to cook, so getting creative in the kitchen together is another favorite pastime! We always have the traditional staples (turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, etc.), but each year we bring something new to the table, whether it's a healthier spin on candied yams or a paleo stuffing. It keeps it fun, fresh, and a little competitive to see whose creation is best!
mbg: What's one way to make your Thanksgiving way healthier—without giving anything up?
KD: Having a healthy and delicious Thanksgiving is all about making small adjustments that have a big impact on your day. Remember: The food won’t disappear after the meal ends. In fact, leftovers are one of the best parts of Thanksgiving! On the big day, load up on proteins and veggies (preferably ones not doused in cream sauces and sugar) first. Then find your favorite extras and give yourself palm-size portions to enjoy. I also recommend making tiny tweaks to dishes you love. Of course, ditching candied yams altogether wouldn’t be a bad idea (a sugar hangover is not fun), but if you wait all year for them, I get it. Scrap some of the marshmallow from the top to help reduce the amount of sugar you’re getting—it's not great, but it's better, and it's definitely better than you feel deprived and unhappy!
mbg: When you're feeling super full and gross post-Thanksgiving, what do you do to feel better?
KD: I always go for a long walk the evening of Thanksgiving, which definitely helps. I also love starting the day after Thanksgiving with a healthy green smoothie. It just helps me refresh and restart the day on the right foot. I also make sure to get in one of my sweat guide workouts first thing. You don’t need any equipment for them, and they take less than 30 minutes, which makes it a perfect workout to do especially if you’re traveling or have family in town. My best advice is just to get back into your normal routine as soon as possible. And when your grandma offers to let you take home the extra pie…just say, "No, thank you!"
Sage & Walnut Roasted Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is my favorite squash around! It’s sweet, savory, and loaded with tons of amazing health benefits, making this Thanksgiving side dish a superstar contender this year. It has potassium, which helps lower blood pressure by decreasing the effects of sodium (which you know is high on Turkey Day!). It's also got a ton of fiber, which will help you feel full and maybe keep you from reaching for more dessert! Beyond that, the vitamin A has antioxidants that help eyesight; the magnesium and other antioxidants help with calcium absorption and reduce inflammation; and the big dose of vitamin C helps with immunity and making skin glow.
- 1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cubed
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp. sea salt and pepper to taste
- ½ medium white onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 2 tbsp. walnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 425 to 450°F. Coat a large baking sheet or roasting pan with ½ tbsp. of olive oil.
- Add butternut squash, onion, sea salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Bake for approximately 30 to 35 minutes or until cooked through and lightly browned.
- In a saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic, sage, walnuts, and a bit more sea salt and pepper. Sauté until lightly browned, and remove from heat.
- Once the butternut squash is done, remove from oven and combine with sage and nut mixture.
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