3 Festive Thanksgiving Feast Ideas to Boost Flavor and Nutrition

happy tday

Watch here! My mindful eating tips to enjoy your Thanksgiving Feast, plus festive holiday food ideas.

Thanksgiving is almost here! I love this time of year because it’s all about gratitude – celebrating with good friends, family – and of course, FOOD, which is a meaningful part of our traditions.

Don’t waste time on thinking about “food rules” and what you can or can’t eat. It’s not fun, AND most people don’t realize, you usually end up overeating because your brain gets too tired out from resisting tempting foods! Instead, focus on savoring your food and slowing down – or Mindful eating helps you enjoy what you really want, and get satisfied without putting you into a food coma.

I’ve got some food ideas and recipes to help boost the nutrition value for your festive food choices to make your celebration healthy, happy, and memorable.

What to Serve While Everyone is Waiting on Dinner

When you’re entertaining, it’s nice to take some shortcuts. But instead of putting out potato chips, offer up satisfying snacks that won’t spoil your guests’ appetites before the big feast.pistacio

Wonderful Pistachios are just as easy to serve to your guests, plus they have three times the protein, fiber, and portion size per serving! Just put them out for crackin’ and snackin’ on and around Thanksgiving.

If you’re on the road, Wonderful Pistachios come in convenient 100 calorie packaging or you can make your own–you get 49 nuts in a serving of pistachios – more than any other nut. Try tasty varieties including the classic roasted & salted, lightly salted for just a touch of salt, and great flavors such as sweet chili and salt & pepper.

pumpkin-hummus-ck-xMany people love hummus and there are so many ways to serve it. Try an easy variation – warmed pumpkin hummus – just stir in ½ cup pumpkin puree into your hummus and warm it up for a few minutes and top with toasted pumpkin seeds.

Two heaping spoons of Sabra hummus a day will have you eating 1 ½ cups of beans in a week, increasing your fiber intake, plus boosting the veggies you eat – not to mention when you serve Sabra hummus as part of your veggie platter it can serve as your “scoop vehicle” for the hummus. It’s a win-win.

What to Serve to Drinkpom spritzer

Serve up a festive cocktails and mocktails using pomegranate juice. POM Wonderful 100% Pomegranate Juice contains the juice from two whole pomegranates, and nothing more. I love using this for holiday beverages – like Spiced POM Cider, or try mixing with sparkling wine or sparkling water at your holiday table.

 Everything but Turkey – Colorful and Creative Sides

For the holiday table – we all know we’ll be enjoying some mashed potatoes – one of my family’s favorites. Add a “secret ingredient” to your spuds by using hummus instead of butter and cream, which cuts about 15 mash spudsgrams of fat per serving and adds a zesty flavor and creamy texture that your guests will find delightful.pom brussle

As you plan your holiday menu, think color! Pomegranate arils offer a delicious flavor and a perfect festive color for your side dishes like these Roasted Pomegranate Brussels Sprouts. You can buy Wonderful Pomegranates whole, or try POM POMs, a convenient package of ready to eat arils.

What to Eat for Energy

Be the host with the most, but don’t get stuck ravenous. Stay on top of hunger and keep up your energy up between meals with nutritious snacks.Kind bar

KIND bars are smart snacks, made with real, wholesome ingredients and use 50% less sugar compared to the average snack bar, only 5-6g per bar. Pair them with yogurt or cheese for added protein to keep you powering through your to-do lists, or enjoy them with a piece of fresh fruit for some quick energy while on the go.

If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth while still snacking healthy try KIND Nuts & Spices. Nuts and Spices come in a variety of delicious flavors, including Maple Caramel Sea Salt, Madagascar Vanilla Almond, Dark Chocolate Mocha.

Hear it From You

Let us know! What festive Thanksgiving dishes will you be serving up? Please share below or tweet to @ScritchfieldRD! We’d love to hear them!

Find out more about these products and topics through Twitter at @POMWonderful, @getcrackin, @Sabra and @KINDSnacks!

Tasty and nutritious, add some of these festive ideas to your Thanksgiving menu and you’ll be sure to add some health as well!

Disclosures: I was compensated by Sabra, KIND snacks, and Wonderful (pomegranate and pistachio) for my work on the TV segment, but was not compensated to write this blog.

Give the Greater Gift of Gratitude

Disclosure: Post Foods compensated me to write this blog post. Opinions are my own.


Whom are You Grateful For?

November is a perfect time to express gratitude. It is the giving of thanks. As we enter this season of busy-ness and plans, it’s so easy to get overwhelmed like there is never enough time to get work done and family needs met, let alone fun.

But the reality is, there are many gifts all around us that we don’t stop and notice because we’re just too busy.

Push pause on your life and reflect on how much you value your relationships.Then take a moment to show someone special you care.

Simple Gifts

Giving gifts are about nurturing your most treasured relationships.We all have those people in our lives that make life so much better. Even the smallest of gestures can bring an emotional boost, giving both the giver and receiver a nice “boost” of oxytocin (a.k.a. the happy hormone, the love hormone).

It doesn’t have to be a special occasion to express words of gratitude. It’s as simple as thanking your husband for helping with the dishes or taking a minute to call your friend you’ve been thinking about, but haven’t talked to in months. A few simple words can mean so much.

Think Outside the Bowl with Great Grains Cereal handmade

Edible gifts make for heartwarming presents that won’t sit around collecting dust. Set aside an afternoon to make up a big batch of whatever you’re preparing – even get the kids involved, too.

If you have a friend who loves to be active or your mail carrier who’s always on-the-go, these Chewy Cherry-Nut Bars will win them over. Packed with nuts and flaxseeds, and sweetened with dried cherries, orange zest, and agave syrup, these bars are a wholesome, energizing snack that’s a good source of fiber. Plus they look adorable in little parchment packages.


Have a co-worker or neighbor who love their coffee or tea? Nothing beats a loaf of Banana Nut Shortbread wrapped up in a tea towel for homeyness. They’re easy to make with 5 simple ingredients including Great Grains Banana Nut Crunch, which has 40g of whole grains per serving. This is an irresistible, great-tasting gift you can feel great about giving. (Hopefully, they’ll share!)

Crafting Gratitude

I have an entire wall in my house dedicated to my girls’ toddler artistic masterpieces. When I look at the wall of art it reminds me of quiet afternoons cozied up together with a box of crayons and coloring books, seeing their personalities expressed in scribbles and squiggles of colors– a simple moment I cherish that makes my heart smile.

Imagine how surprised and delighted someone would be to receive a card in the mail amongst the pile of junk mail or find a hand written note on their desk in the mist of busy work week. (Yes, a quick gratitude on a sticky note counts.)

Or maybe it’s sending out hand-crafted holiday cards. Even if you think your crafting skills are limited, it’s your effort that is so meaningful to the receiver. Here are 49 awesome ideas for hand crafted cards courtesy of Buzzfeed.

How Do You Send Big Love?

What small gestures are you doing to swell the hearts of others? I’d love to hear by sharing a comment below. Still hungry for more ideas? Check out Post Foods for a great round-up of cereal recipes for everyday deliciousness.

Disclosure: Post Foods compensated me to write this blog post. Opinions are my own.


Stress Less on Family Dinner – A Playbook for Parents

Ahhhh… Dinner. It’s not just about eating.

A shared meal is a place to reconnect with each other after a busy day of buzzing around in opposite directions (a key ingredient for better health and happiness for everyone). 

Yet, even though we want to make the “ideal dinner” happen regularly and We know how many good things can come from enjoying a meal with our family. We cannot deny that dinner can quickly become a source of stress. Not always the good kind that energizes you, but the kind that leaves you saying “Screw it, I don’t care. Pass the cereal.” 

I’m recalling last night, for example, dining on leftover lukewarm calzone while my youngest frolicked in the tub, covered in what appeared to be a mixture of yogurt, tuna fish, and snot (she’s getting over a cold, it was a state of emergency to get her to the tub). And there I was, trying not to get my dinner wet.  

Nevertheless, there is help.

I was recently inspired by the art behind meal planning after reading DINNER – The Playbook by Jenny Rosenstrach. (Jenny, you don’t know me yet, but I heart you.)dinner_theplaybook

I discovered Jenny’s awesome books after her blog (and mine) were both recognized by Janet Helm of Nutrition Unplugged as part of the “good” (not bad or ugly) of bloggers.

Below are some of Jenny’s tips I found the most helpful and sensible for stressing less about dinner. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas below.  

Where do I Start?

Start with a calendar, a strategy and a well-considered batch of recipes, and most importantly a commitment to making dinner happen. Acknowledge that there is never going to be a perfect time when you have a week without work, recitals or melt-downs. Even if such a week did exist, what would you be learning after all? The idea is to get into a rhythm where dinner no longer becomes a source of stress or dread, rather a time to reconnect and unwind. 

Share the Load

Avoid making dinner just on you, that’s when it becomes a burden. Dinner is for the whole family, therefore everyone can pitch in. Anyone can learn how to cook–start with simple easy-to-follow recipes like Quesadillas or Omelets. Kids can browse through cook books and share their preferences or simply answer the question “what do you want for dinner?” Enlist helpers in the making dinner happen tasks such as setting/clearing the table, unloading the dishwasher, placing the condiments on the table. 

Build Meals Around Familiar Ingredients

When you know everyone’s palates and taste preferences you are able to select recipes that will not be offensive. Build on foods everyone loves. An example is pasta, use it as the base and add to it with new ingredients like roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. If they don’t like the new add-ins at least they’ll have a positive outlook that it is ‘pasta’ when they sit down for dinner.  This can be a helpful strategy when introducing new recipes that involve new flavors.

Gather Your Recipes (the fun part!)

Dig out that pile of the “someday we’ll make this” recipes and add to it with new recipes. To start, you’ll probably want to pick 15 “go-to” recipes. From there, weave in recipes that involve new flavors, colors, and textures. Remember, the end goal is to put an edible dinner on the table not impress the Queen of England.

Make a Meal Plan

Find a time to round up the family before the week get started. (Ideally Saturday and on Sunday you will do your shopping). It’s helpful to have everyone bring their calendars if you are juggling multiple kids/schedules.

Suggested Formulas for Meal Planning

  • Use monikers like “Meatless Mondays” or “Taco Tuesdays”.
  • “Fish” or any seafood dish, make it happen on Sunday or Monday so it is still fresh from your weekly shop (done on Sunday).
  • “Halfway There” recipes that has a make-ahead component, ie, pasta sauce or or something that has been marinating all day. This can also be based on repurposing leftovers (steak into steak salad).
  • “Use It or Lose It” this is the last dinner of the week that takes advantage of the odds and ends in the crisper drawer, ie Baked Potato or Taco Bar and also helps you feel less guilty about going out to dinner on the weekend.
  • “Double Up” by making a double batch of spicy mayo to use on asparagus with a fish dish at the beginning of the week and then Chicken BLTs later in the week. Or make an extra batch of rice to use for a tofu bowl one night, then add to an omelet later in the week.

Shop on Sundays

To keep is reasonable on yourself do the bulk of your shopping at one store (ideally same place you can buy toilet paper and parmesan cheese). Make Sunday your day to do your big shop. Take your kids with you, have them help make the grocery list/clip coupons. This will also help them learn practical life skills, like sticking to a budget, selecting the best produce and bagging groceries.

Build up your pantry with flavorful staples like canned chipoltes in adobo sauce, anchovies, rice wine vinegar and dijon mustard. Overtime you’ll have a nice collection of these ingredients that add flavor to dishes and  you’ll be more willing to try new recipes.

Prep Ahead

Is there anything you can do before you leave the house for the day that you haven’t already done on the weekend? This can simply be setting a pot of water on the stove so it’s ready for boil when you walk in the door. Or washing and chopping the veggies for the recipe the night before. You will appreciate this small task at the end of the day. 

Keep Notes

After you’ve finished your meal take a few moments to reflect on it. What grade would you give it? What did they kids think about it? Did it require too much prep? Was the clean up brutal? Most important, is it a keeper? Taking these few extra minutes before you go to bed with will help make future meal planning a breeze. 

Let’s Hear it From You

What are your meal planning secrets to serving up nutritious meals and keeping everyone happy? I’d love to hear your tips! Feel free to share by leaving a comment below.

DIY Freezer Smoothie Bags + Recipe




DIY Smoothie Bag

I make smoothies almost every day, for breakfast, exercise pre- or post-fuel, or as an after-school snack for my kids. But when I’m trying to juggle work, being a mom, and all the craziness life throws my way, even the simple task of throwing together a quick smoothie can seem overwhelming. So, what’s a busy mom to do? Prep ahead of time, of course! Prepping and assembling smoothie ingredients in smoothie bags ahead of time can make all the difference in the world between getting a nourishing, frosty smoothie in your belly STAT versus ravenously grabbing whatever food you can get your hands on.

In just about ten minutes, you can get smoothies for an entire week prepped and ready to go! Assemble them ahead of time and then keep in the fridge or freezer to pull out whenever you want them. Prepare them just like you would if you were making the smoothie right then and there. Here’s how to make it happen:

Chop and Prep Fruits and Veggies

  • Use whatever you like/have on hand. I like bananas, kiwifruit, blueberries, tart cherries, cranberries, kale, spinach, avocado, etc. Seriously, pretty much anything goes. Chop into small pieces, if necessary, and place in small, sealable plastic bags.
  • If you have any fruits or veggies that are about to turn, these smoothie bags are a perfect way to reduce food waste! Just be sure you freeze these ones when they’re assembled!

Add Extras

  • Toss whatever add-ins you like into bag with your produce. Nut butter, Greek yogurt, and protein powder are all good options. I also like cinnamon, vanilla, and other spices to enhance the flavor.

Seal and store

  • Roll up the bag to squeeze all the air out, and then create a tight seal to keep ingredients fresh. If you’re freezing your bags, use a freezer bag for optimal freshness.
  • If you prefer reusable containers, fill these up as much as possible to reduce amount of air in the container
  • Store in fridge or freeze them. The freezer will definitely keep everything fresh for a longer time, but be sure to pull them out the night before you want to use them to keep your blender happy.

Blend and Enjoy

  • Pop the contents of the bag in your blender. Add liquid to make it smooth (your preferred milk, water, coconut water, etc.) and ice to get it nice and cold, and blend as usual

Like I said, these are no-brainers that you really cannot mess up. Just about anything can go in a smoothie. Below is one of my tried and true recipes, but feel free to play around with it and find your own personal faves!

Banana Split Smoothie
Prep time
Total time
It's dessert in a cup! This creamy blend of cool sweetness delivers a heap of nutrition and fiber, making it a perfect option to satisfy that sweet tooth or refuel after a workout.
Recipe type: Smoothie
Serves: 3
  • ½ cup pineapple (fresh, frozen, or canned)
  • ½ cup of strawberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 ripe banana, sliced
  • 1 cup plain or Greek-style yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sauce
  • ⅓ cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup ice
  • ½ cup your favorite milk
  • 1 T peanuts, crushed, for garnish (optional)
  1. Place all ingredients except ice, milk and peanuts, in bag and freeze or refrigerate until ready to use. Place bag contents in blender, add milk and ice, and blend until desired consistency is reached. Top each with crushed peanuts, if desired.
  2. *Add spinach, kale, or avocado to “green” up this recipe


Try This: “I had a long day” Recipe Stuffed Sweet Potato


This sweet potato recipe is easy to make after a long day where all you want to do is sit down and relax. This spin on a favorite comfort food could be the main course of your dinner or split between the family for a tasty side dish.

When I eat this as a meal, I add chopped chicken or beef for a boost of protein and satisfaction. Anything goes – Use what works for you.

Stuffed Sweet Potato
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves 1
Serves: 25 min
  • 1 Sweet potato
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • ¼ cup of dark greens (spinach, kale, chard etc. )
  • ⅛ cup finely chopped carrots
  • ½ chicken breast, cooked and chopped (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese (I love cheddar!)
  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Scrub sweet potato and cut a ½ inch deep line around the middle.
  3. Microwave for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
  4. Scoop out flesh, and leave the skins to the side (don’t throw them away!).
  5. Mash the sweet potato in a bowl with milk and butter.
  6. Stir in greens, carrots, chicken, and half of the shredded cheese.
  7. Put the filling back into the sweet potato skins, and put on a tray or in tinfoil (I find it is more stable if I make a boat out of tinfoil for the sweet potato!).
  8. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top, and bake until the cheese on top is golden, which takes about 8-12 minutes!
  9. Enjoy!


What are your favorite foods to make after a long day? Share below in the comments.