We’ve all participated in Throwback Thursday – from posting old college photos to adorable shots of the kids as babies. It’s a fun way to recall the past and remember good times (and bad hair). This month I encourage you to participate in a very special #TBT on the most celebrated Thursday of the year – Thanksgiving.

If we go back to the original Thanksgiving nearly 400 years ago, the colonist’s and Native American’s table was much different from today’s table. The first recorded Thanksgiving in 1621 was a celebration of the autumn harvest. The colonists and Native Americans came together to feast upon their crops, which included beans, berries, carrots, squash, greens, and nuts. White potatoes were absent because they hadn’t yet made their way from South America. Also, white sugar was not used because the supply sent on the Mayflower was already gone.

The original feast was made fresh without processed ingredients or packaged foods. They didn’t make casseroles with canned condensed soups and topped with crunchy fried onions or buttery crackers from a box. Cranberries weren’t plopped out from can with ridges intact. They didn’t top sweet potatoes with highly-processed sugary marshmallows. And when the meal was over, they didn’t have smart phones or the NFL for entertainment. They celebrated by dancing and playing games.

Your family likely knows the story of the first Thanksgiving and probably has (or will) participate in a school or church pageant. But do they really appreciate the origination of Thanksgiving? Challenge each member of your family to research the 1621 harvest celebration. Let them pick a #TBT dish to make an appearance on your table. I’ve helped by getting you started with my delicious and nutritious green bean recipe. You can find this, plus recipes for sweet potatoes with walnut crumble and homemade cranberry relish in my book Don’t Diet, Live It!

Thanksgiving healthy recipes

Enjoy your Thanksgiving #TBT style. And after your meal, dance and play like it’s 1621! You can always get year-round tips and inspiration on my website!

Dyan’s Green Beansthanksgiving healthy green bean casserole recipe

2 lbs frozen green beans
4 ounces pancetta (or bacon), thick-sliced
½ t salt, ¼ t pepper
¼ cup sliced almonds

Steam green beans in a microwave-safe container with about ¼ cup water. Heat on high for 4-5 minute increments until beans are softened, but still very crisp. Remove and immediately drain and allow to cool. Meanwhile, dice pancetta into ¼-inch pieces and add to a large sauté pan. Turn on medium heat and render the pancetta until just crisp. Remove pancetta from pan, leaving the grease in pan. Add the green beans to the warm pan and cook in the pancetta drippings just to warm beans. Transfer the beans to the serving bowl. Taste one bean to see if salt and pepper is needed. Since pancetta is salty and peppery, you may not need it. Top green beans with crispy pancetta and sliced almonds. Serve immediately.

Green beans are an excellent source of Vitamin K and other antioxidants, even better than green peas. Vitamin K is fat-soluble, so adding a little pancetta and almonds will only boost your body’s absorption of nutrients in this delish dish!