10/02/2012 08:11 EDT | Updated 12/01/2012 05:12 EST

Your Guide to a Healthy and Delicious Thanksgiving Meal


Are you hosting Thanksgiving this year? Having everyone over in the comfort of your home will ensure that you know exactly what is on the menu! This way you can plan a diverse meal that is hearty, healthy and delicious! Tell people what to bring, prepare food together or make it all yourself! Whatever works for you, make it happen and enjoy the perfect balanced holiday meal!

1. Variety --You want to make sure you have a little bit of everything so you are not left craving anything after the meal or feel like something is missing from your plate. A whole plate full of mashed potatoes, a piece of bread and turkey is not very appetizing, colourful or creative!

2. Texture -- It's always nice to experience a different sensation in your mouth with each bite. Strive for a dish that is Crunchy (steamed green veggies), Chewy (cooked grains), Soft (mashed sweet potatoes) and Crispy (baked apple crisp). Those are just some ideas!

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3. Colour -- Choose lots of vibrant fresh colours from squash, yams, parsnips, carrots, and beets -- with that alone you can create an amazing roasted root vegetable dish. Always include some dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli, or spinach. Have fun with splashes of yellow from peppers or whole grains like quinoa and millet. The more colourful your plate is, the more exciting it will be to eat!

4. Shape -- Every food has its own unique shape. You can choose the natural shapes you like from different foods or you can get creative by cutting your sweet potatoes and carrots a particular way. Alternatively, choose brussels sprouts, cauliflower or green beans for some variety. This makes each bite unique.

5. Flavour -- It is important to balance all six of the major flavours in each meal. This means making sure you choose recipes that include Salty from sea salt, sea vegetables and tamari; Sweet from fruits, root vegetables and maple syrup; Pungent from cinnamon, ginger, cayenne cumin and garlic; Sour from lemon, lime and oranges; Astringent from legumes, fruits and vegetables; and Bitter from dark leafy greens, herbs and spices.

By incorporating the suggestions above into your holiday meal, you're sure to achieve the perfect balance and leave your palette, as well as your guests', satisfied!

Here's one recipe to get you started...

Curried Spice-Baked Sweet Potatoes


2 medium sweet potatoes, washed and pierced in the center with a fork

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, finely grated

1 teaspoon curry powder

½ teaspoon turmeric powder

Pinch of cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil


  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • Place sweet potatoes on a low sided roasting pan and bake for 30-45 minutes or until soft (to quicken cooking time, cut potatoes in half, lengthwise and place face down on roasting pan)
  • Remove potatoes from the oven and allow cooling.
  • Scoop out center flesh, leaving ¼ inch rim of sweet potato attached to the skin (this will help hold skin together).
  • Place flesh in bowl and mix the remaining ingredients. Stir until smooth and creamy.
  • Refill potato skins with mixture, place on baking sheet and bake at 400 degrees F until heated through and slightly golden and crispy on top.
  • Serve hot.