How to Have a Paleo Thanksgiving

Here are 6 substitutions that will help you stick to tradition and your diet, too

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

The Daily Meal is giving you recipes and tips to make your Thanksgiving traditions paleo-friendly.

For many of us, Thanksgiving is a holiday about tradition, and a substantial component of that tradition is the food. Year after year we look forward to that unforgettable roast turkey or that nostalgic first bite of pumpkin pie. We always do our best to emulate Grandma’s cranberry sauce, or spend tireless hours in the kitchen baking a buttery piecrust to rival Marie Callender’s.

But in a modern age of health-conscious eating and complicated diets, how does one keep their principles without having to pass on the classic plates of their childhood?

Click here to see the slideshow How to Have a Paleo Thanksgiving

The paleo diet is a nutritional plan designed to optimize health by mimicking the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. The goal: Eat nothing that can’t be caught or foraged.

Proponents of this diet claim that by minimizing intake of carbohydrates and maximizing the amounts of proteins and fibers in the modern diet, we can return to a dietary balance earlier civilizations had right the first time.

But what does this mean for your Thanksgiving plans if you or one of your guests is a follower of the increasingly popular paleo diet? Don’t plan to serve anything that needs to be cultivated. This includes grains, potatoes, legumes, and most dairy. And certainly nix any refined or processed food products that might have made it onto your menu.

So what can you do to keep your Thanksgiving table looking festive and full despite all these restrictions? Most fruits and vegetables are safe to serve, as well as any kind of meat, as long as it’s grass-fed and pasture raised. Sweeten your desserts with maple syrup or a small amount of honey to avoid using refined, white sugar.

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If you’re interested in creating a delicious paleo Thanksgiving to make our ancestors proud, or just looking to find out a little more information, check out these six, easy substitutions for traditional Thanksgiving recipes that will make them paleo-friendly. You’ll be thankful that you did.