Tips for hosting a healthy, fun and memorable Thanksgiving & Giveaway

Written by: Artizone Artizone

The countdown to Thanksgiving dinner is officially on!  At Centered Chef, we want our clients to know that it is possible to make food that is both healthy and delicious. Thanksgiving dinner is the perfect opportunity to put our philosophy to the test. Traditional Thanksgiving menus can be loaded with fat, sugar and artificial flavor enhancers. Our challenge is to create solutions (for Thanksgiving and every other day) that satisfy while remaining healthy. 

We've created a Thanksgiving menu this year that offers flavorful, yet mindful takes on some of your traditional favorites. I’ve also come up with some tips to make this year’s meal one to remember (for guests both big and small).  Plus GIVEAWAY NEWS >>> Leave a comment below to get entered to win $50 from! (1) winner will be randomly selected Nov. 11, 2012.

Showcase those veggies!

When prepared properly, veggies can be the real rock star of the meal. Brussel sprouts, we are talking about YOU! Consider these simple but healthy updates on traditional favorites.

  • Skip the can-shaped cranberry sauce! My all-natural version, infused with lemongrass, adds a vibrant flavor of to the dish. Finished with fresh basil, it’s sophisticated enough for adults and sweet enough for the little ones. 
  • Now to those Brussels sprouts! Long feared as the gross vegetable parents force on their kids each fall, fresh Brussels sprouts are still amazingly underappreciated! prepare my Brussels sprouts with caramelized shallot and garnish with dehyderated lemon peel to accent the delicious nutty flavor of this roasted seasonal beauty.
  • Next up -- mashed potatoes (the classic comfort food)! What about an alternative to this "stick to your ribs" fare? Instead of a traditional preparation laden with butter and cream, try sweet potatoes with candied orange peel added to the mash. No need to add marshmallows or butter to something that is already perfectly paired! 

Activities for the table

Now for making the most out of table time with family and friends! Since I am a kid at heart, I like to make the table fun and interactive (for kiddos and adults). Take what can be a long meal and make it fun and personalized. Add some elements of fun to break up all of that eating!

  • Add something fun, personalized and interactive at each table setting. For example, provide pears or gourds, a blank tag, crayons and push pins so everyone at the table can create their own customized place setting. You'd be surprised at who's actually too cool for this little project as it brings out the kid in most everyone!
  • At the root of this festive occasion is the "thanks" part of the day. Encourage your guests to share what they are thankful for. Cut up pieces of paper in advance and have guests write down their note before you start dinner. While everyone is eating, take turns sharing all of the contributions. Whether it is sentimental or comedic, this exercise creates a lasting impression and affirmation of what we care about most. 

Don’t be afraid to rely on the experts for help! 

Now, if you're seeking balance between kitchen time and family conversation, let local experts do some of the heavy lifting for you! Are you an pro at cooking the bird, but pies aren't your thing? Leave it to the professionals! This holiday, can help provide individual components of your Thanksgiving meal so you can focus on the areas where you really excel. Try an Apple Crumble Pie from Bang Bang Pie Shop or let the bakers at Hendrickx take care of the bread for the meal. Artizone also offers a huge selection of gluten-free items from Sweet Ali’s Bakery. Don't forget to leave a comment below to enter to win a $50 Gift Card!

Want to sample some of the delicious Thanksgiving eats mentioned here? Join us for an afternoon for food and fun at the Flavors of Fall Event co-hosted by and Guests will enjoy samples from the Thanksgiving Menu and several other vendors. Other highlights include complimentary beer and wine, music, raffles and plenty of activities for the kids. And it is all free! We'd love to have you join us on Sunday Nov. 11 from 3-7pm. You can get all of the details and RSVP here:

Written by Chef Ryan Hutmacher of Centered Chef Studios on behalf of  Chef Ryan Hutmacher is the founder of Centered Chef Studios in the West Loop. He sees himself as an ambassador of wellness, where he advocates culinary arts and nutrition fusion.  In finding inspiration for his “clean comfort” style of cooking, he draws inspiration from worldly cuisines that embrace his theme of “clean, simple and sexy”.risen Hutmacher has become a notable leader in the nutrition community and contributes often to publications like USA Triathlon, Competitor Magazine, Chicago Athlete and Diabetes Forecast Magazines.

Posted on November 05, 2012 at 12:30 PM