Clean Food Substitutions for your Thanksgiving Meals!

Craig W Clough Rock Island IL - Thanksgiving Turkey 9Sweet potato casserole with that delicious brown sugar crust (don’t forget the marshmallows), green bean casserole, creamy mashed potatoes with gravy, pumpkin pies topped with whipped cream (yum), heavenly cheese cakes with nuts, caramel, maybe even chocolate!  😛

Feel any guilt when you’re finished indulging after a Thanksgiving meal?  If you’re like me, the answer may very well be, um… YES!

BUT, I worry no more!

Because any dish made for Thanksgiving can certainly include a few modifications, even if it’s slight, and still taste pretty amazing!

I love to bake desserts and make lots of side dishes for the holidays. As I’ve been reading up on food substitutions for many of my dishes, I was pretty impressed with some of my discoveries.  Hence the need to share.  So set aside the guilt and allow yourself to enjoy your Thanksgiving feast with some of these simple, easy to use substitutions which can easily be incorporated into many of your dishes.

Heavy Whipping Cream

Instead of using heavy whipping cream for desserts and sides, how about trying this coconut cream substitution from The Detoxinista’s blog?  I haven’t tried this yet but I plan to since my sweet potato casserole lists this as an ingredient.  😛  Not to mention, this coconut whipping cream recipe is a pretty easy recipe!


Did you know that coconut oil can be used as a substitute for shortening?  Check out to learn how!


You know that lovely, white, refined stuff?  Yeh, no need to even go there.  There are way too many better options so drop those empty calories that does-your-body-no-good and opt for better ones such as coconut sugar, raw honey, agave nectar or a few drops of stevia leaf extract.  At least gain some nutritional content from your sweetener with these more natural options. You can even use organic evaporated cane juice or sucanat as a sugar substitute as well.

Another tip if you are cooking at a family member’s house and all they have is refined sugar in their pantry – cut the sugar amount in half.  So, if a recipe calls for 1 cup of sugar, use 1/2 cup of sugar instead.  No one would ever know the difference, believe me.

Sweetened Condensed Milk

Sweetened condensed milk is sooo goood!  Who’s with me on this one?  I remember my mom telling me when she was growing up that both she and her siblings used to dip homemade bread into sweetened condensed milk and enjoy it often.  I can only imagine. Homemade bread with sweetened condensed milk… yum!  I recently made homemade mango ice cream per a friend’s personal recipe using sweetened condensed milk because that is what her recipe called for.  Did I feel good about it? Not one bit. But since the ice cream are for my kids (who don’t consume much refined sugars anyways), I figured I’d let them get away with it for now until I discover a better way.  Of course my interest always results in research and you know how that goes, where’s there is a will, there is a way.  😉 I came across this recipe from The Gracious Pantry which is a cleaner version of a sweetened condensed milk. Talk about super easy, and with raisins? Who would’ve thought?  I haven’t tried this yet BUT if you try it before I do, by all means – share your results! I’m curious to know how this one turns out!

Other Food Substitutions

The Gracious Pantry also has this awesome Food Substitution Chart for corn syrup, flour, butter, sour cream, barbecue sauce, even pizza dough! This is worth checking out!  When it comes to using flour for baking purposes, I’m a fan of organic whole wheat pastry flour. Makes great cakes and cookies!

No need to do this only during the holidays by the way.  Why not start incorporating some of these substitutions into your dishes on a daily basis.  Food is certainly meant to be enjoyed.  And I, for one, will surely be enjoying my Thanksgiving feast with many of these substitutions, sticking to my diet to the best of my ability and all!  😀

Additional Sources:

Easy Coconut Whipped Cream,

Food Substitution Chart,

Photo Credit,

About Sunita Sukhraj

I'm a single mom, hair model, mentor, and software quality engineer (surprise!) who has a thirst for arts, writing, Latin dancing, healthy organic vegetarian cooking (especially raw foods and desserts), spirituality, socializing and just enjoying life! I believe in the mind-body-soul connection; fill your mind with positivity, feed your body healthy whole foods, and fulfill your soul's purpose with truth and love. These will create balance in your life which in turn will help to foster humanity. Live life passionately, laugh often and love unconditionally but more importantly, live in unity with love!
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