I come from a large family – there were 8 of us kids and not a bad cook in the bunch. Since there are 20 years between the oldest and youngest kids we younger siblings actually were raised with our oldest nieces and nephews. It didn’t seem weird at the time but now, looking back, I realize it wasn’t normal for the time.
When we all got together for family dinners several times a year it was a loud, boisterous gathering. The food was awesome! We all laughed a lot and loved our time together.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve begun to realize that we aren’t getting any younger. We’ve lost one brother and we’re all mid-50’s and over. I have to take better care of myself!
Since the holidays are coming up I wanted to gather some Keto Thanksgiving recipes to make sticking to a commitment easier without feeling like I’m depriving myself.
We have ALL of the recipes mentioned here in a special Pinterest board – just scroll down!
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Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – You Don’t Need to Feel Deprived
My very favorite family-dinner-holiday-gathering had to be Thanksgiving. There was the normal turkey, macaroni and cheese, and mashed potatoes. Being on Delmarva – and being country cooks – there was always giblet dressing (cooked outside the bird) and Watergate Salad, and wonderful slippery slick dumplings.
Sadly (or not) I did not get the slick dumpling gene. Mine turn out thick like corrugated cardboard with gravy like wallpaper paste. For my waistline and my health that’s probably for the best. My niece DID get the gene so I’ll have to depend on her for a slippery slick dumpling fix now that Mom is gone.
Since we’re realizing that at our age we have less time ahead of us than behind us, plus seeing the health concerns in my own family, I know I have to get on the stick and get this done. This year we’ll be having Thanksgiving with a few more low-carbers so we’ll be upping our game with some awesome Keto Thanksgiving Recipes!
Maybe, too, I’m learning (about time!!!) that Thanksgiving is less about the food and more about the people we share it with.
I was having a chat with my daughter recently and she, in all her wisdom, said that back in the day (the first one, I expect) it was a feast for just having survived and been around to eat. Plus, with it being hundreds of years ago they probably weren’t sure of when and the where they’d see the next meal so I suppose we could forgive a bit of over-indulgence. I guess they didn’t see it as over-indulgence – they saw it as get eatin’ while the eatin’s good, I suppose.
Since many of us are following a Keto lifestyle we know that recovering from a binge can be tough – and sometimes completely derailing.
Thanksgiving dinner takes the term ‘binge’ to a whole different level! It can be crippling to your efforts to maintain Keto because it becomes such a slippery slope of, “I really blew that but, ya know, Christmas is coming so how about we just start back up in January?”
Tips to Navigate Your Way Around Thanksgiving Dinner
Trying to stick to your diet plan during a holiday meal can make you feel like you can’t enjoy the holiday at all. The very first thing you need to try to do is to separate the holiday meal – the food – from the meaning of the holiday itself. If you are a person of faith, keep it as a matter of prayer. Develop a positive mantra or meditation so you can keep it in your mind.
I don’t recall who said it – and I’m sure I’m not saying it right – but we can’t fix the problems we have by using the same way of thinking that caused the problems in the first place.
If you know there is someone at the event that is going to pressure you or try to tempt you towards something you either shouldn’t have (or don’t want to have) be prepared. Know your response in advance. If you can divert them have it ready. (Pointing off into the distance saying, “Oh, look!” while stealing their biscuit when they turn to look is NOT an advisable diversion.)
Remember that you are not depriving yourself. You are, in fact, rewarding yourself with better health. For every dish that’s off-plan on the holiday table, there is a substitute that’s just as tasty and fits into your Keto lifestyle. If you need to, bring it.
Host it yourself. You control the main dishes (and your favorites) and ask others to bring along their favorite dishes. Kudos to you if you suggest on-plan dishes for them to bring – like deviled eggs etc. Don’t forget to use our post-it planner in the Keto Cabinet! If you know what everyone is bringing ahead of time you can be mentally prepared too!
Have a plan before you go. If you know the desserts are your downfall (they are for me – you can keep your mashed potatoes just bring me the sweets!) bring a Keto sweet of your own. Is it the rolls? Make some keto-friendly ones for you to have and even some to share. You never know who your lifestyle will influence – you may encourage someone to better health when they see your tasty food.
It’s okay to eat something before you go! My family is notorious for saying be here at2 for dinner when the food doesn’t hit the table until 5. If you get there hungry and the food is delayed you’ll fall into temptation much easier.
Lighten up on yourself – and don’t worry about the calories! Stick to your Keto basics and enjoy yourself.
Scope out the spread first – before you start dishing onto your plate – and plan to have more meat and low carb sides. Skip the stuffing and rolls and carby/sugary desserts.
Jazz it up! Keto foods are NOT boring! Take your most favorite, tasty Keto dish and you won’t feel the least bit deprived!
Make more than one dish to take. And, in the same theme, if it’s a larger recipe, leave some of it home. I like to double the recipe if it’s small and leave 25% or so in a dish back home. especially if it’s super tasty!
Be sure you are well into ketosis before the holiday. Being in ketosis makes you less hungry and/or less susceptible to cravings.
Have your ‘recovery’ ready back at home. If you indulge in off plan treats remember you’ll need to pay for it! If going off-plan affects you … ummm. gastrointestinally .. be prepared with electrolytes and liquids – broths etc. If you know that you’ll need to get back into ketosis be sure to have plenty of healthy fats and a plan. By now you probably know how your body responds to a deviation. Just be ready for it. If you use Exogeneous Ketones to help minimize the Keto Flu symptoms you may have, I recommend this one from Perfect Keto (use code APERFECT15 for 15% off!). I don’t advocate them for regular use but they can certainly help with recovery.
Before you start you’ll want to be sure to have a few of your favorite essentials on hand:
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – Bread and Rolls
One of my very favorite things at Thanksgiving are the rolls. I could butter those things and eat them all day! What I find most interesting about that is that I rarely crave bread or rolls when I’m in ketosis. There is another vote or being solidly in ketosis in November! Here are several Keto Thanksgiving recipes for rolls you can make to take!
Note: These are actual hamburger-type buns. The dough expands so make them smaller than shown and don’t cut them in half if you plan to use them as rolls.
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – Appetizers
I know I said I love Thanksgiving rolls but I REALLY love the appetizers that are around while dinner is being cooked. If you have dishes like these around you won’t be so apt to indulge during the feast. We never really had appetizers around at my Mom’s house. We had something better – siblings to distract Mom while we swiped some turkey off the plate while she was carving it.
Okay, go ahead and argue with me. These aren’t appetizers, they are a side. Look at them, wrapped up little bundles of green beans. BEGGING to be picked up and eaten as appetizers! Tell ya what – you can have them as sides and I’ll be a-okay with that 🙂
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – Meat/Main Course
Okay, I love the turkey too. But only if it’s nice and moist! Sawdust Turkey = no bueno. I happen to think that as long as you don’t fuss overly much you can’t really mess it up too much. PS: there may be bags of giblets in a plastic bag in the neck cavity. I have it on good authority that you should remove it before the bird gets into the oven. I’m pretty sure my sister won’t rat me out.
At Moms we usually had Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family on the Sunday after the holiday so we could spend the actual holiday with inlaws but it didn’t always work out that way so we were left on our own – just the four of us – most Thanksgiving Thursdays.
I didn’t usually do a turkey – unless it was just a turkey breast. It was usually chicken – and sometime Cornish Game Hens. One year my witty girls – or so they thought – cooked up (see what I did there?) a scheme to make me think I was crazy. They took invisible nylon thread and attached it to the legs of their little hens when nobody was watching. We sat down, said grace – and then we saw the legs moving on hens. Just a twitch here and there – and a cha cha cha – until one puppeteer got a little aggressive and the hen almost landed in the floor. Killer, our cocka-docka-peeka-poo (best $10 dog EVER), stayed on their side of the table … just waiting. He didn’t get lucky that year but it wasn’t due to lack of preparation!
I have a caveat on this one – it calls for brown sugar. Use Lakanto Golden monkfruit sweetener instead!
Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – Sides
We all know that turkey and rolls may not be optional but the sides really make the feast, right? One thing I just can’t compromise on is the dressing. Dressing – it’s OUTSIDE the bird as opposed to stuffing which goes INSIDE the bird.
I saw a metric ton of dressing recipes using cauliflower. Yes, I know cauliflower is the darling of the Keto world. But ENOUGH. Just … enough. It’s not dressing!
Okay. Off my soapbox now 🙂
We’ve got some green sides and some cranberry sides here – and a few dressing and stuffing ones too!
Dressing and Gravy:
I really wanted something that has the right texture – something I could add my onion and celery chunks to – and my huge bowl of giblets. Where I’m from the giblets are as important as the turkey. This first recipe is my new fave – I replace the sausage with tons of giblets! The recipe is stove-top and works perfectly but I like mine from the oven so I make sure it’s moist enough to hold up to 20-30 minutes at 350 without drying out.
Keto Stuffing Made with Savory Keto Bread from iSaveA2Z and here’s the recipe for the Keto Turkey Gravy in this photo too:
More Stuffing/Dressing recipes:
I have to give a caveat on this one! The photos are lick-your-monitor worthy but the recipe calls for balsamic vinegar, which can be high in carbs. My advice would be to leave off the sauce from the dish but provide it on the side. Completely on-plan without the sauce but you can enjoy a drizzle if you use a lower carb balsamic.
My Favorite! Keto Thanksgiving Recipes – Desserts
Looking For More Keto Pumpkin Recipes?
Chocolate Silk Pie:
As you can see, Thanksgiving is certainly more than ‘do-able’ on Keto! Do yourself a favor and create your holiday memories without having to pay for them after the feast. Do you have any family favorites? Let me know below!
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