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  • Writer's pictureTara Wilson

Healthy Swaps: Thanksgiving Bowls!

Using our healthy swaps, let's combine the infamous KFC bowls with a Thanksgiving twist to make the ultimate healthy & hearty comfort meal!


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The Why


What is there not to love about the fan-favorite KFC bowls? They're delicious, hearty, and filled with the perfect mixture of dinner food that taste amazing together: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, and shredded cheese. Sounds amazing, right? Not too shabby for a fast food joint.


However, though they may seem like a healthier alternative to most fast food menu items, they're by no means healthy.


If you look at each ingredient, no part of the bowl ends up being healthy. The fried chicken is not organic or pasture-raised, dredged in a non-grass-fed, non-organic milk batter, seasoned with MSG and then fried in a mixture of soybean and canola oil. The mashed potatoes are non-organic and made with non-organic, non-grass-fed dairy. The gravy is non-organic, most likely GMO and isn't gluten-free. And the cheese is also non-organic and not from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. Definitely a cheat.


However, my Thanksgiving bowls are just as delicious and if you can believe it, not a cheat! To clarify, in my household, our clean eating during the week is organic or non-GMO, good quality fats, protein & produce, alcohol/gluten/dairy-free (with the exception of grass-fed butter or ghee), and limiting our intake of processed foods & added sugar. Food that doesn't meet this criteria, we consider a cheat for ourselves and eat sparingly.


These healthy bowls are filled with similar, homey comfort foods that are in the KFC chicken bowls and Thanksgiving dinner table without a lot of work in the kitchen, and though they taste like a cheat, we're able to enjoy them any time of the week!


Ingredients

  • Organic, fully-cooked Rotisserie Chicken (or organic turkey, if you have it)

  • Organic Mashed Potatoes (non-dairy**)

  • Organic Green Beans

  • Organic Corn

  • Organic Turkey Gravy (gluten-free, non-dairy)

  • Organic Crispy Onion Straws (gluten-free)

  • optional toppings: organic bacon crumbles (no nitrites/nitrates, uncured), goat's milk or sheep's milk cheese, Trader Joe's Thanksgiving Seasoning

**except for grass-fed butter or ghee


Rotisserie Chicken


Whole Foods has fully-cooked organic rotisserie chicken, which makes cooking dinner so much easier! We like grabbing the fully-cooked rotisserie chicken that's refrigerated, so that all we need to do when it's time to eat dinner is heat it up in the oven.



Mashed Potatoes


I like to peel & cube gold potatoes, and boil them in either filtered water or organic chicken broth. Then when it's time to mash them, I throw in some grass-fed butter. If they need more liquid, I'll add a little of the broth they boiled in, or some goat milk, if it's on hand.




Green Beans


I like to sauté green beans in either grass-fed butter or avocado oil with some minced organic garlic, and season with Redmond's Real salt. We've also roasted crispy Brussels sprouts instead of green beans for our bowls before, and it was just as delicious!



Corn


Organic corn is fun to throw in because it tastes delicious in these bowls and requires virtually no effort. We just throw it in a small pot over the stove to heat, and sometimes I sprinkle it with organic parsley. Just be sure that if you're using canned corn, the can is BPA-free.



Gravy


We like to buy these organic, gluten & dairy-free gravy mixes from Whole Foods. You can probably use beef or chicken gravy as well, but we've liked how turkey gravy tasted with these bowls the best. Just pour the mixes into a small sauce pan, add water, bring to a boil, and let simmer. Be sure to break up the clumps in the mixes before adding water, and stir consistently once it's boiling & simmering.




Crispy Onion Straws


We like to use Simple Truth Organic's crispy french fried onions to top off our bowls. Most crispy toppings are fried in harmful/toxic oils, like soybean or canola. These are fried in organic palm oil, which is not necessarily the best, but is less harmful than other oils. On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), EWG rates these a 5, as opposed to the name brand equivalent, which is rated an 8. These are also gluten-free and the container is BPA-free.




Optional Additional Toppings


If you have organic bacon crumbles (uncured, no nitrites/nitrates), those are good to throw on top of these bowls! Of course, cheese would taste amazing on these bowls as well. We try to stay away from cheese when we're eating clean during the week, but organic sheep's milk or goat's milk cheese, as well as grass-fed cow's milk cheese aren't as bad as regular shredded cheese. Also, we don't feel as if the bowls really need it, but Trader Joe's has a fun Thanksgiving seasoning (Everything But The Leftovers) if you wanted more of a stuffing flavor added to your bowls. We've tried our bowls with and without this seasoning, and it tastes great either way! However, we use the seasoning sparingly because it's not organic and there's no indication that it's non-GMO.



Monthly Healthy Swaps


Curious about the monthly swaps used for these bowls? Check out these posts to read more!





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