Guilt-Free Recipes for Thanksgiving

Sarah Cook
November 12, 2020

If there’s one holiday that threatens our fitness goals the most, it’s Thanksgiving. Casseroles, pies and of course—the turkey— can be pretty hard to limit to just one serving. If you’re fretting about what to make this year, try one of the below recipes. All are delicious and won’t jeopardize all the progress you’ve made in the gym! 

Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili

Black Bean Chili


4 tsp olive oil
1 1⁄2 pounds of ground turkey
1 small or 1⁄2 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 can of black beans
1 14.5 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes
2 cups of kale, chopped into small pieces
2 med/large sweet potatoes, diced (measure about 4 cups) 2+ cups of chicken stock
3 T salt free taco seasoning
up to 1 T chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne (optional)
salt and pepper
optional – maple syrup
toppings: cheddar cheese, cilantro, chives, avocado


  1. Stovetop: In a large pot, heat 2 tsp of olive oil over medium heat. Add turkey to pan, along with 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of the Salt Free Taco Seasoning and cook through; then add onions and kale and cook until soft.
  2. Season turkey and veggies with salt and pepper, then remove from pot. Add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil to pan and saute sweet potatoes just until they start to brown.
  3. Add the garlic, 1 1⁄2 tablespoons of the Salt Free Taco Seasoning, a sprinkle of salt, a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and 2 cups of chicken stock to the pot. Bring to a low boil and simmer for 10 minutes or so, until the sweet potatoes are very soft.
  4. Add turkey mixture back to pot and stir in black beans. Add additional stock to reach desired thickness, as the chili will continue to thicken up as it cooks. Season with chili powder to taste, starting 1 teaspoon at a time so you don’t overdo it. And, if you want to bring out the flavor of the sweet potato a little more, you can add a spoon of maple syrup. If you want a little more spice, add the cayenne.

Immune-Boosting Beef Stew

Immune Boosting Beef Stew


500g diced beef
1 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
1 large tin of plum tomatoes (approx 400ml)
3 pequilo peppers (approx 150g – they are skinned and jarred) sliced
1 large garlic clove, crushed or pasted
1 tsp turmeric
250ml chicken stock, fresh or homemade
1 tsp oregano
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 whole star anise
Rapeseed oil for frying


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Start by browning the beef in a casserole dish or saucepan. It is easiest to do this in batches to make sure you don’t over- crowd the pan. Remove
  3. the beef from the pan and if the pan is dirty add a little water to the pan and scrub off with your wooden spoon.
  4. Place the casserole dish or saucepan back on to a low heat and begin by sweating your onion in a little rapeseed oil. When soft, add the carrots and celery and cook out for a few minutes.
  5. Add the beef back into the pan.
  6. Next, add the garlic and turmeric and cook out on a gentle heat for up to a minute, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the tomato puree and stir.
  7. Next, carefully pour in the chicken stock. Sprinkle in the oregano and add the star anise, stir the beef back into the dish.
  8. Bring up to the boil and then down to a gentle simmer and place the lid back on.
  9. Place in the oven and leave to simmer gently for up to 2 hours or until the meat is tender. If it is not soft enough simply place back in the oven for longer.

Savory Turkey Bake

Savory turkey bake


3 oz cooked ground turkey

3 egg whites

1 cup finely chopped cauliflower /broccoli

1⁄2 cup oats

Garlic salt


  1. Combine all ingredients in medium mixing bowl and whisk using a single serving size oven friendly dish (or two muffin tins) pour the mixture in and place in oven preheated to 350.
  2. Bake for 8-10 minutes, remove and serve with your choice of hot sauce or seasoning

White Bean and Kale Soup

White Bean and Kale Sou[


1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, chopped
1 rib of celery, chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves finely minced
2 15-oz cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 bunch Lacinto (black) kale, thick center ribs removed and discarded, leaves chopped
4 cups vegetable broth
dried red pepper flakes, to taste
juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 stick Huang Qi/Astragalus (optional)


  1. In a large soup pot, heat the oil over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion, carrot, and celery.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring until the veggies soften a bit, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic, rosemary, beans, and broth. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  5. Ladle 2⁄3 of the contents of the pot into a blender and blend until smooth, then stir this smooth mixture back into the pot with the rest.
  6. Stir in the kale. Cover the pot and cook for 20 minutes.
  7. Remove from heat and stir in the lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Chocolate Protein Pumpkin Pie

chocolate protein pie

Ingredients: Pumpkin Pie

1 reduced fat graham cracker crust

2 cups pumpkin puree

2 whole eggs

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 scoop Ascent native fuel whey (vanilla or chocolate)

1 scoop Ascent native fuel casein (vanilla or chocolate)

1/3 cup granulated Stevia/erythritol

1/2 tbsp. cinnamon

4 chopped up Reese’s pumpkins for topping (optional but delicious)

Chocolate Ganache

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips, melted

1/4 cup heavy cream


  1. Mix pumpkin puree, eggs, heavy cream and vanilla extract. Add protein powder, stevia, and cinnamon. Mix until a smooth mixture forms.
  2. Spoon into a prepared, reduced fact graham cracker crust. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes. It will seem slightly under done, but will set up once chilled.
  3. To make chocolate ganache, heat chocolate chips in microwave until melted. Head heavy cream in microwave for about 30 seconds. Combine cream and melted chocolate. Mix until a smooth ganache forms.
  4. Top chilled pumpkin pie with chocolate ganache and chopped Reese’s pumpkins if desired. Cut into 8 slices and enjoy!

(Recipe Developed by MacroChef) 

Pumpkin Protein Bars

Pumpkin Protein Bars


¾ cup (90g) self rising flour*

1 ½ scoops (46g) Ascent Vanilla Protein Powder

2 tbsp. (20g) sugar free vanilla pudding mix

½ tsp. Cinnamon

¼ tsp. Pumpkin pie spice

2-3 tbsp. Sugar free sweetener (granular stevia / erythritol)**

2 whole eggs

2 cups (480g) canned pumpkin puree

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup (85g) whipped cream cheese

¾ cup (170g) plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

2 tbsp. (20g) sugar free vanilla pudding mix


*If using regular flour, also add ¼ tsp. Salt and 1 tsp. Baking powder

**Add sweetener to taste. I added a couple tablespoons to make it a bit sweeter. You can add more or less depending on your preference.


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Add dry ingredients (flour, protein powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and sweetener) to a large bowl. Mix.
  2. In a separate bowl add all wet ingredients. Whisk together. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Gently stir together until a smooth batter is formed.
  3. Spray a 5×9 glass loaf / baking dish with nonstick spray. Pour batter into the dish and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean. Edges should be done and center still slightly gooey.
  4. Once baked, let it completely cool. Mix all cream cheese frosting ingredients in a bowl. Whisk well until smooth and creamy. Spread over cooled cake. Cut into 8 slices and enjoy!
  5. Optional, drizzle with some melted butterscotch chips! Adds a few extra colors but super delicious to go with the cinnamon / pumpkin cream cheese flavors.

Sarah Cook

Sarah oversees social media and internal communication for Iron Tribe Fitness. Her goal is to share the mission of Iron Tribe so others can be transformed by the program, and ultimately become the healthiest version of themselves.