HOLIDAY HELP: Three Smart Ways to Lighten Up Turkey Day

Health and fitness editor Jenna Bergen is contemplating what to bring to Thanksgiving dinner. Here, the healthy Philly chefs who are gonna help her out

The countdown to T-day is on, and I cannot wait. It’s the Big Holiday for my family, and every year a huge, loud, boisterous group of us converge at my aunt’s house completely uninvited, each one of us carrying some sort of yummy food offering. And although I can’t get enough of my garlic whipped cauliflower (it’s sooo good and so much better than mashed potatoes, I don’t care what anybody thinks), I’ve decided that it might be time to bring a new healthier option to the table. And now, thanks to the cool area chefs below who are making holidays not just happy but healthy, I have more than enough options that even the junk-food junkies in my life won’t be able to knock.

Whether you need a little help or a lot, or just want to shake things up without dousing everything in butter and gravy, there’s something for everyone. Dig in!

You need help with … sides
Liz at Sweetpea Nourishment

You bake the bird, Sweetpea Nourishment will do the rest. Choose from garlic mashed potatoes with olive oil and a splash of farm fresh cream; sweet potato and banana puree with maple syrup, braised kale with raisins and red onion; and brussel sprouts with walnuts and dried cranberries in a sherry vinaigrette.

Details: All ingredients are local and organic whenever possible, and will cost you $17 for a quart, and $30 for two. All orders must be placed by November 10th by emailing or calling 267-455-925. Pick up November 24th, from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., at 421 South Iseminger Street (Near 13th and Lombard.)

You need help with …. dessert
Essene Market and Café’s
bakery takes orders for organic and vegan apple, pumpkin, and pecan pies. These goodies are a little more guiltless because they aren’t sweetened with processed sugar; unrefined brown rice or maple syrup, which contain unaltered fibers the body must break down, take its place. This will help keep blood sugar levels more stable. The spelt crusts are low in gluten, but if you’re looking to cut carbs, you can pick up a crustless apple crisp from the bakery case instead.

Details: Pies, $26. The last day to order is Sunday, November 22nd, with pickup Wednesday, November 25th. You must make orders 48 hours in advance of desired pickup. Call 215-922-1146,

You need help with … everything
Katie Cavuto of Healthy Bites

She’ll do everything from a “trial run” of your T-Day meal (she’ll come to you and do an in-home cooking lesson so you have a chance to get everything down before the big day), holiday-meal delivery (from the whole feast to just some side items or whatever you might need) to in-home meal prep (she’ll come over the night before or the day of and brine, season, and roast your turkey, prepare sides … and then sneak away so you can take the credit when your guests arrive).

Details: Prices vary. Orders can be placed up to one week prior to desired delivery date. In-home holiday prep spots fill fast, so schedule asap. Call 877-667-6495,