With the pandemic raging on, many of us are far from home or have loved ones scattered around the globe – but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on Thanksgiving. Why not bring together a group of friends for a festive Friendsgiving?
After all, friends are the family we choose, right? Thanksgiving is the perfect time to show our appreciation for their existence. We might think of a traditional Thanksgiving as a family affair, but we're living in unpredictable times, and there's no reason you can't have just as much of a blast with your friends – you might even find it less stressful without the usual 21 questions! But kicking the festivities off can be an intimidating job – that’s why we’re here to make it simple. Here’s your guide to pulling off a fun Friendsgiving!
Planning the event
If you’re the host, you’ll want to pre-plan the type of party you’re holding – whether you’re keen to cook the entire menu or would rather get a bit of help, there are numerous ways to celebrate this classic holiday.
- Hostess with the mostess: If you’re hosting the get-together, you may choose to create and cook the entire evening’s menu – from the starters to dessert. This is the more stressful type of party, but at least you’ll know the food’s not only delicious, but nutritious too!
- Potluck: This is where everyone brings a dish of their own to take the pressure off the host – an added benefit includes the fun variety of food you’ll have.
- Barbeque: If you’re looking for a low-key event with friends, a barbeque can be the perfect way to celebrate the festivities minus the pomp and frill.
- Picnic: If you don’t feel like messing up the kitchen and cleaning up after a bunch of guests, why not pack up and head out to your local park? Enjoy the sights and avoid the mess!
Nailing the food
One of the most important elements of your Friendsgiving party is, of course, the food! If you’ve quit sugar or are trying to keep your intake to a minimum, here are a few tips to stick to your goals, while also providing tasty dishes and ensuring everyone has a good time:
- Prioritise whole foods: If you’re the host, you’ll have a greater control over your options, and if you’re a guest, you can still bring in a number of nutritious foods. Go for baked veggies, roasts, cheese and fruit platters and salads.
- Choose your alcohol wisely: Cocktails and vodka sodas are a sure-fire way to send your blood sugars soaring. One of the more popular festive cocktails – a classic vodka and orange juice – will set you back 13 grams of sugar in just a glass. If you’re looking for a lower-alcohol drink, red wine is a good choice.
- Eat before the party: It’ll be easier to make balanced choices if you’re not starving, so eating a few satiating snacks before Friendsgiving is a good way to keep in control in the face of the sugar-laden, decadent desserts other guests may bring. Foods with healthy fats, including monounsaturated fats, which studies have found help balance blood sugars and prevent insulin resistance, are a reliable source of slow-release energy.
If you’re looking for a delicious recipe to whip up this Thanksgiving, we’ve got just the thing. Try this tasty dessert from our new Ultimate Sugar-Free Thanksgiving Cookbook.
Pumpkin Spiced Tim Tams
If you’re celebrating the classic US holiday downunder this year, what better way to converge traditions than to pair the classic Aussie bikkie with those nostalgic, autumnal flavours? Here’s our low-sugar rendition of Tim Tams, plus we’ve added the only thing that could make this chocolate indulgence better – pumpkin spice. Check out the full recipe HERE.
- 1 cup gluten-free flour + extra for dusting
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated stevia
- 2 1/2 tablespoons raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon allspice
- 1/3 cup cold butter, dice
- 1/4 cup milk
Spiced pumpkin butter filling:
- 1/2 cup Pumpkin Purée
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 5 ounces (100 grams) 85% dark chocolate, chopped into small even-sized piece
- Add all ingredients for Pumpkin Butter into a small saucepan, stir well. Bring to the boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to a simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered, stirring often, until the mixture thickens. Remove from the heat and allow to cool before placing in the fridge while you make the biscuits.
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC / 350ºF / Gas Mark 4 and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- In a food processor or a mixing bowl combine all of the ingredients for the Pumpkin-Spiced Biscuits to form a dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Roll dough out between two sheets of baking paper into a rectangle shape (about 5mm thick).
- Cut the rectangle into 16 smaller rectangles and bake in the oven 10 minutes. Once cooled, spread a thin layer of the chilled Pumpkin Pie Filling over each rectangle biscuit.
- Sandwich two biscuits on top of each other and press down lightly. Sit them in the fridge while you make the chocolate.
- Melt the chocolate over a double-boiler or in the microwave until smooth.
- Dip each biscuit sandwich in the melted chocolate and sit them on baking paper. Set in the fridge before serving.
We know how stressful surviving Thanksgiving can be when you’ve made a massive change like quitting sugar – managing everything from critical words and judgemental looks from friends and family down to the temptations of the array of sugary foods lining the table. That’s why we created our Ultimate Sugar-Free Thanksgiving Cookbook. We want to make the process just that little bit easier so you can actually enjoy the festivities, along with making sure you actually get to enjoy this iconic holiday. Our flavour-packed recipes will thrill the biggest of Thanksgiving traditionalists in your life. From roast turkey to your classic pumpkin spiced lattes, we’ve got all the crowd pleasers to make your Thanksgiving – or Friendsgiving – one to remember. In this book you’ll have access to 51 fun recipes that pack all of the taste and nutrition – minus the sugar crash, of course! Get your copy HERE.
If you’ve been having a little trouble keeping that sugar addiction at bay, we’re here to help. With all the festivities on the horizon, it can be hard to stick to your health goals – especially when you’re trying to manage it alone. Join us for the 8-Week Program where we’ll be quitting sugar and turning our health dreams into a reality. When you sign up with us, you’ll have access to clear-cut meal plans, community support and exclusive access to our sugar-free content. Here’s what’s on offer:
- 8 weeks of meal plans and shopping lists.
- 90+ member-only recipes.
- Community forums to share your journey.
- Support and guidance from the I Quit Sugar team.
- Exclusive content from our panel of experts.
So, if you’re ready to ditch sugar and the host of maladies that come with it, it’s not too late to JOIN NOW!