Whole Food Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

If you still need some more inspiration, Functional Medicine Los Angeles is glad to introduce to you all that there are quite a few ways to turn the old unhealthy Thanksgiving favorites into cuisine you can have for your Whole30 holiday dinner. We aren’t going to talk about turkey, since you already know you can have as much turkey as you want on a whole foods diet! The following dinner ideas include the side dishes for your main meal.


Functional Medicine Burbank highly recommends this popular side to have with Thanksgiving dinner is stuffing. Since you can’t have bread or grains on a whole foods diet, traditional stuffing is out of the question. However, you can make an alternative version by using ingredients than you are allowed to have. This stuffing isn’t actually made from any bread crumbs, but instead uses a combination of ground beef and ground walnut pieces that are soaked overnight to make them a bit softer. The taste is delicious and the look is very similar to a real Thanksgiving stuffing.

You should also add some fresh herbs, such as sage, thyme, and rosemary. Seasonings you can have with this stuffing include sea salt and garlic powder. If you like your stuffing with onions and celery, go ahead and add in those as well.

Cranberry Sauce

Another good side dish to have with your whole foods thanksgiving feast is cranberry sauce. Luckily, you can have fruit with a whole foods lifestyle, so the main component is going to be allowed. The thing you don’t want to add is sugar, since this is a big no-no for Whole30 and any type of paleo or whole foods diet. You should use bags of fresh cranberries that are available in the produce section of your local supermarket, not any frozen or canned cranberries. These are usually very easy to find during the holidays.

If you can make your own apple and orange juice with a juicer, that is definitely recommended. Otherwise, you can add the juice to your cranberries, but make sure it is pure with no added sugar or preservatives. That is really all you need for a simple cranberry sauce, though you can add in some other seasonings if you like.

Cauliflower Mashed ‘Potatoes’

Cauliflower is perfect when you want mashed potatoes, but you are trying to stay away from white potatoes. While potatoes are technically allowed with a whole foods diet, many people like to avoid white potatoes while on Whole30. Cauliflower is an ideal consistency to turn into mashed potatoes with a food processor. You can puree your chopped cauliflower until it looks like potatoes, then mix in your other ingredients. The other difference to regular mashed potatoes is that you are not going to add in milk and butter.

Instead of dairy products, you are going to make it creamier by adding in some coconut milk and clarified butter or ghee. Olive oil can also be used if you can’t find ghee. For seasoning, salt and pepper, truffle salt, and most herbs are also allowed on the whole foods diet.

Whole Food Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

When it comes to dessert, it can be a little more difficult to put together desserts that are approved under this diet. For the most part, your regular desserts when it isn’t a special occasion consists of fruit, since you can’t have ice cream, frozen yogurt, cake or pie. On Thanksgiving, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and other similar desserts are often served. Since these aren’t going to be an option, you will need to get creative. But don’t worry; there are plenty of delicious desserts the family will enjoy that taste just like fall. Here are a few ideas recommended by Functional Medicine Studio City to get you started:

Seasoned Apples

Apples are one of the most popular fruits for fall, so it makes sense that you would want to use them in your Thanksgiving dessert. Apples are nutritious, low in fat, and really easy to incorporate into a whole foods dessert option. This will also take a lot less time than trying to bake a pie from scratch. Seasoned apples can be made any way you like, but using seasonings often used for similar fall desserts is recommended, such as with cinnamon and nutmeg. A pinch of sea salt adds a nice flavor as well. You can saute sliced apples in coconut oil on a skillet, then transfer them to a plate and coat with your cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other spices you intend to use.

Pumpkin Bars

Instead of making pumpkin pie, experts from Functional Medicine Toluca Lake advise to use this yummy vegetable to create whole food-approved pumpkin bars. These pumpkin bars don’t have any ingredients that aren’t approved for the Whole30 diet, plus are paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free. You really can’t go wrong with these. To make pumpkin bars, you typically start with some pumpkin puree, preferably puree you have made yourself. Add in some pumpkin pie spice, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and some flour. Coconut flour is usually allowed, along with baking soda and raw walnuts on top.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Another type of pumpkin dessert you can make for Thanksgiving are pumpkin pie cupcakes. These use a lot of ingredients found in pumpkin pie without the crust, which is not allowed when you are on a whole foods diet. You will also want to use pumpkin puree for these cupcakes, along with ripe bananas to make them a little thicker and add some flavor at the same time. While you can’t use regular table sugar for the cupcakes, you can still use coconut sugar, since it is more natural. Add some nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon to that as well.

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