Why You Should *Not* Skip Breakfast on Thanksgiving—And 4 Healthy Recipes To Make in the Morning

Photo: Stocksy / Nataša Mandić
It’s tough to remember what you’re grateful for when you’re lightheaded and your blood sugar is dropping as you cook up a feast, so the last thing you want to do is skip breakfast on Thanksgiving morning.

The best way to prepare your body for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner is to eat a nutrient-rich breakfast loaded with protein, healthy fats, and fiber. You really don't want to skip breakfast—or any meal—in order to "save room" for dinner. “Fasting is not a smart option, since it translates into chemical changes, including an increase in cortisol levels, a subsequent increase in blood sugar levels, and muscle wasting,” says integrative nutrition health coach Kristen Tinker. “Instead, deliberate eating throughout the day is critical, and it starts with breakfast.”

"Deliberate eating throughout the day is critical, and it starts with breakfast."

Tinker also says staying hydrated all day long is non-negotiable. “Juice, alcohol, champagne, and flavored coffees increase blood sugar levels and start the cascade of cravings and poor choices,” says Tinker. “Instead, aim for consuming 50 to 70 percent of your body weight in fluid ounces of lemon water to alkalize your body, especially with all the holiday foods.”

Breakfast, however, is your most important ally. (And starting your day with some exercise is a good move, too.) Eat a morning meal that includes healthy proteins, fats, and fiber to stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you on your toes as you prepare the food for the main event.

Here are the 4 best thanksgiving breakfast recipes to keep your hunger at bay as you build up to the main meal of the day—okay, fine, of the year!

The 4 best thanksgiving breakfast recipes

1. Strawberry and quinoa shortcake parfait

This strawberry shortcake parfait recipe from wellness and compassion activist Haile Thomas tastes like dessert, but it’s low in sugar and full of nutritious ingredients. Between the quinoa and strawberries in this dish, you’ll be loading up on fiber while pistachios offer protein and when topped with hemp seeds, you’ll round out your meal with healthy fats.


For the strawberry sauce:
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 Tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp lemon zest

For the quinoa parfait:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup raw pistachios
½ cup golden raisins
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp cardamom
2 cups coconut yogurt

Hemp Hearts
Strawberry Slices

1. For the strawberry sauce: place the chopped strawberries, maple syrup, and lemon zest in a bowl and mix to combine. Set aside for parfait assembly.

2. For quinoa: In a food processor, combine the quinoa, pistachios, raisins, maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, and cardamom and pulse 3 to 5 times, until the pistachios are slightly crushed, and the ingredients are lightly incorporated. The quinoa should still retain most of its texture.

3. In four jars or bowls, layer a total of ½ cup yogurt, ½ cup quinoa, and ½ cup strawberries. If desired, top with hemp seeds and additional strawberry slices.

2. Cozy chai oatmeal

Embrace the coziness of the season with this chai oatmeal recipe. Fiber-rich oatmeal is combined with warming spices—cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg—to add character, plus goji berries and bananas to increase the fiber-content. Add a healthy dollop of almond butter for your dose of protein and healthy fats.

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of cinnamon
Pinch of cardamom
Pinch of nutmeg
½ tsp vanilla
Pinch of goji berries
1 ½ cups of mashed bananas
2 cups almond or cashew milk
Fruit to decorate
Sprinkle of almond butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

2. Mix oats, baking powder, cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg, vanilla, goji berries, bananas, and milk into a bowl.

3. Garnish mixture with chosen fruit.

4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Sprinkle almond butter over baked oatmeal.

3. Green goddess quinoa breakfast bowl

Greens are the star of this recipe. It’s served on a base of quinoa, and topped with a sauce that’s made of a blend of avocado and flaxseed oil—two sources of healthy fats— plus herbs and lemon juice to brighten it up. While there’s plenty of ingredients that make its way into the dish, it’s surprisingly easy to make and well worth the extra time spent in the kitchen.


For the base:
2 cups broccoli floret
1 medium zucchini sliced
3-4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups chopped Swiss chard leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 avocado pitted and peeled
1 cup packed mixed parsley and basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup flaxseed oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sea salt

To assemble:
1/2 cup shelled edamame steamed
1 avocado peeled, pitted, sliced
4 large eggs cooked to your liking (optional)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro

1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.

2. Arrange the broccoli florets and sliced zucchini on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, until the broccoli is browning around the edges and the zucchini is crispy.

3. In a medium pot, combine the quinoa and broth, cover, and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, or until all the broth has been absorbed.

4. Meanwhile, place the chard in a large pot. Add ¼ cup water and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chard has wilted, about 4 minutes.

5. Make the green goddess sauce. In a food processor or blender, combine the avocado, herbs, garlic, olive oil, flaxseed oil, lemon juice, and salt. Process until smooth.

6. Assemble the bowls. Divide the quinoa between two shallow bowls. Add the roasted broccoli, zucchini, chard, and edamame, arranging them in separate piles. Fan the avocado slices over the veggies. Top each bowl with two cooked eggs, if desired. Spoon the green goddess sauce over the top and garnish with the cilantro before serving.

7. Store any leftover sauce refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

4. Pantry granola

This granola recipe from nutritionist Mia Rigden comes together with the various nuts and seeds you have in your pantry, which is then tossed in honey, olive oil, and a sprinkling of cinnamon and flaky sea salt. In the recipe, she uses a mixture of puffed rice and coconut flakes as the base, but you can mix it up and opt to use oats. However you spin it, you’ll get protein, fiber, and healthy fats in this dish. It's the perfect topping for greek yogurt, too.

3 cups of base
1-1/2 cups of add-ins (like nuts, seeds, coconut, dried fruit, or chocolate nibs)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup honey
Flaky sea salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Add your base and add-ins into a bowl, and sprinkle with the salt and cinnamon. Mix together, ensuring that ingredients are evenly dispersed.

2. Add the honey and olive oil, and stir to combine.

3. Once all the ingredients have evenly mixed in the bowl, spread the granola out evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown, crispy, and fragrant.

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