This healthy sweet potato casserole with a crunchy pecan topping is the perfect Thanksgiving or holiday side dish. It’s refined sugar, dairy and gluten-free and absolutely delicious! Skip to the recipe.

Thanksgiving is around the corner and the kick off to the holiday season has begun.

It is a holiday to rest. It is a holiday to enjoy a house filled with family, friends, the aroma of a home cooked meal and a table filled with recipes as well as stories passed down from generations.

Yet for too many of us, difficult feelings about family and food fear block us from truly being present and enjoying this once a year tradition.

There is the fear of being weak and overdoing. There is the fear of emotionally eating and drinking to numb strained relationships. There is the fear of the accompanying guilt and what seems like the inevitable uncomfortable boating that simply comes from participating in Thanksgiving. The fear of gaining weight can be paralyzing.

It’s ok to enjoy your favorite foods.
It’s ok to eat dessert.

Use these mindful tips below to tune into your mental and physical needs throughout the day. Learn how to consciously choose how you would like to enjoy the holiday and what you would like to eat, rather than letting your emotions takeover.

Set the Tone for the Day

How you spend your morning sets the tone for your entire day. If you start your day rushing around, catering to someone else’s needs and being filled with anxiety, chances are you are going to be on unstable ground with your emotions later in the day. Cue emotional eating.

Plan in advance to carve out at least 30-minutes for yourself in the morning to journal and do some simple breathing to relax your nervous system. Let your family, or your partner know that you need this time in the morning to yourself. Have the conversation now and don’t wait until Thanksgiving morning so you can set appropriate expectations.

Try this alternate nostril breathing technique to help reduce anxiety.

Bring a Healthy Side- Try This Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Having healthy food on the table is one of the easiest ways to make more conscious choices about what you would like to enjoy during the Thanksgiving holiday.

If you’re going to dinner at a family of friend’s house and you’re not sure what options will be available, empower yourself by bringing a healthy side. Pair this healthy sweet potato casserole made with Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oil with turkey and green vegetables such as sautéed spinach or kale, Brussels sprouts or salad for a well-rounded, blood sugar stabilizing meal.

Enjoy a healthy meal that stabilizes your blood sugar and then you can make a more conscious choice if you would like to eat dessert. If dessert is your thing, go for it, and enjoy every moment of it!

Practice Gratitude

This sounds simple, but how many times before Thanksgiving dinner do we actually take time to acknowledge what we are grateful for. I know it doesn’t happen in my family. Practicing gratitude before a meal increases your positive emotions (negative emotions are most associated with emotional eating) and will make you stop, pause, tune in and be more present before you begin to eat.

Invite others around the table to join you or if that feels like too much, take a few minutes to say to yourself silently three things you are grateful for. No one will notice. I promise. They’ll be too busy eating!

If you make this healthy sweet potato casserole be sure to leave a comment below letting me know how it turned out. Your feedback will be very helpful for me and other readers!

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole recipe. 
2 large sweet potatoes
3 tbls Filippo Berio Organic Olive Oil
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp sea salt (or more to taste)
Pinch of ground nutmeg and ground cloves 

Pecan Oat Topping:
3/4 cups old-fashioned gluten free rolled oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup almond meal
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 tbls Filippo Berio Organic Olive Oil 
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tbls pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Wrap sweet potatoes in aluminum foil and bake for 1.5 hrs or until soft; for faster baking remove sweet potatoes halfway through cut into smaller pieces
Remove from oven, cut in section if you have not already and let cool
Remove skins and set sweet potatoes aside
Reduce oven to 375 degrees F.
Add apple sauce and sweet potatoes to a high speed blender (I use a Vitamix) and blend until smooth
Add olive oil, cinnamon, vanilla, salt, nutmeg and ground cloves and blend until combined.
Transfer to a 9 x 13 baking dish

In a separate bowl, combine the topping ingredients—oats, pecans, almond meal, cinnamon, salt, olive oil, vanilla and maple syrup—until moist and evenly mixed
Sprinkle topping over the sweet potatoes
Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until potatoes begin to slightly bubble and toping is lightly browned; Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: To save time, you can make the sweet potato mixture ahead of time and do not add the toppings. Place it in your baking dish tightly covered in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve, then make topping mixture and place into the oven.

Thank You Filippo Berio for sponsoring this post and thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible. As always, opinions are my own. 

Patrick Sporleder Photography

Recipe inspired by