Thanksgiving Super Foods

There is no official list of superfoods, no FDA definition, and no generally agreed upon standard for what makes a food super. Basically, super foods are foods that are nutrient-dense: they pack a lot of healthy bang for the buck.

A forthcoming book called The Healing Powers of Superfoods gives a list of the top 20 superfoods. They include turkey, potatoes, leafy greens, apples, berries, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.The American Heart Association lists poultry, pumpkin, and beans along with those foods. The Harvard Medical School offers a list of 12 superfoods including cruciferous veggies like Brussels sprouts, walnuts, and dark chocolate.

Sounds like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, doesn’t it?

Thanksgiving’s traditional menu can make it easy to stick with your good eating habits. Turkey is a great source of lean protein, and the rest of the meal is usually made up of fruits, nuts, and vegetables.

The nutritional value of your turkey day menu depends on what you do with those vegetables. Steam some green beans and you’re serving 3.4 grams of fiber, a couple of grams of protein, and no sugar or fat. Put those beans into a traditional fried onion topped casserole and you’re down to 3 grams of fiber, no protein, and 8 grams of fat. Cook canned green beans with brown sugar and bacon — well, you see where we’re going.

You know how much you can cut back on fat and sugar without spoiling the feast for your family. Some families will be thankful to have healthier options and others will feel sad if there’s any less whipped cream this year than last year. But you can definitely add superfoods to up the nutritional value of your meal. So many traditional Thanksgiving dishes already contain superfoods that no one will even know!

You don’t have to give up your traditions to get some superfoods on the table.

Here are some wholesome sides and desserts to enjoy this Thanksgiving.

Holiday Slaw

Here’s a refreshing salad chock-full of superfoods: cruciferous veggies, berries, apples, and nuts!


2 c. thinly sliced Brussels sprouts
2 thinly sliced apples
1 bunch celery, thinly sliced
4 radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 c. dried cranberries
1/4 c. chopped pecans


1/4 c. olive oil
1/4 c. apple cider vinegar
1/4 c. fresh orange juice
2 T Dijon mustard

Combine salad ingredients in salad bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients and toss salad.

Spicy Super Muffins

Super Muffins

These muffins have a delicate texture and a complex flavor — perfect to go alongside your turkey and dressing!

1/2 c. honey
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. oil
1 c. pumpkin (canned or cooked)
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
2 t. pumpkin spice
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 c. chopped pecans
1/4 c. chopped dates
1/4 c. dried cranberries

Combine the ingredients in order. Bake in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

Pumpkin Spice Custard

Pumpkin Custard is essentially a crustless pumpkin pie. Cutting out the crust reduces the fat and makes for a lighter, fresher tasting dessert. Super easy, too!

2 eggs, beaten
1 c. half and half
1 15-oz can pumpkin
2/3 c. brown sugar
1 T pumpkin pie spice

Whisk eggs and cream together. Beat in pumpkin, sugar, and spice. Pour into ramekins or custard dishes and set into a baking dish. Put the baking dish into the oven and pour water into the dish up to a depth a 1 inch.

Bake custard at 350 degrees for about 40 minutes, till just set. Remove from pan and allow to cool completely.