Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge

Thanksgiving is full of food, family, and happiness — what’s not to like about this holiday?! Well, if pressed, we might say all the extra fat, sugar, and calories we consume every year. And that’s exactly why we created our Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge!

This year, we’re challenging you to find healthier (but still tasty!) alternatives to your favorite Thanksgiving foods. It CAN be done, and to get you started, we’ve found five amazing options below. Oh, and there’s a PRIZE involved as added incentive for you to make your holiday a little healthier this year: A $200 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week!

Here’s what to do:
1. Follow Spa Week on Pinterest (

2. Visit our Spa Week Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge board. We’ve pinned all five of the recipes below there, and we want you to create one of your own!

3. Create a new board called “Spa Week Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Challenge” and pin some of your favorite Thanksgiving foods,  table decorations, outfit ideas, whatever you like to plan out your holiday dinner this year — just be sure to re-pin at least one of the healthy recipes from our board. That’s it!

4. E-mail a link to your board to and have a VERY HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

We’ll announce the winner after the holiday. In the meantime, let’s get cooking:

Healthy Turkey Recipe

Healthy Sweet Potato Pie

Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Healthy Cranberry Sauce

Healthy Pumpkin Pie
















View official contest rules.

1 Food 3 Ways: Apples

If we’re going to talk about delicious fall foods, we have to talk about apples. Low in calories and packed with skin-benefitting antioxidants, what’s not to like about this filling, sweet fruit? You may think that recipes using apples are limited, but you might be surprised when you see the variety of ways we came up with to cook with them. Try these fall recipe ideas while apples are in peak season:

 Apple Nachos

Image Courtesy of Manifest Vegan

  • 3 crispy apples (such as honeycrisp)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips

Click here for instructions.

Chipotle Sausage Chili with Apple and Black Beans

Image Courtesy of VeganYumYum

  • 1 can mostly drained black beans
  • 1 vegan sausage link (try apple-sage)
  • 2 carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 diced plum tomatoes
  • 1 cup rehydrated TSP (textured soy protein, available at Whole Foods)
  • 1 diced apple
  • 3 Tbsp tamari
  • 3 Tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp cumin

Click here for instructions.

 Candy Apple Macaroons

Image Courtesy of Healthful Pursuit

  • 2 ½ cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 ½ granny smith apples (1 shredded, ½ blended)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter
  • 3 Tbsp almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp natural almond flavor
  • pinch of salt

Click here for instructions.

Healthy Treats to Help You Beat the Bulge

It feels like we’ve been celebrating America all summer long…Memorial Day into the Fourth of July and now we’re gearing up for Labor Day…its been fun but trust me; all those red white and blue treats aren’t doing anything for your waistline. We totally get it – we prefer to lounge poolside and indulge at barbeque after barbeque all summer long too. Unfortunately, running after the ice-cream truck doesn’t count as exercise, and come mid-July (wait, that’s now…) those little indulgences start to add up, and noticeably. That’s why on July 1st, Spa Week launched our Healthy Summer Treat Recipe Giveaway to get you back on track and focused on your personal wellness. We challenged you to share your favorite healthy recipes on our Facebook page so that we can present five winners  with a $50 Spa & Wellness Gift Card by Spa Week and a Spa Water Recipe Book, to ensure you end the summer looking and feeling just as good (or better!) as you did when it started! So many of you have shared so far, check out some of our reader’s favorites healthy treats:

Tomato & Basil Finger Sandwiches

Tomato & Basil Finger Sandwiches Recipe

Kristen R. from Michigan

To make: Spread 2 teaspoons of reduced-fat mayonnaise on whole wheat bread. Layer with a thick slice of tomato and a teaspoon of sliced fresh basil, and add salt and pepper to taste. Simply slice in half and serve!

Greek Salad

Carolyn M. from South Carolina

To make: Start with organic baby spinach in a bowl, and add in fresh tomatoes, cucumbers and feta cheese. Add in any other seasonal fruits and vegetables you have on hand. Top with walnuts and Greek olives, and serve!

Summer Granola

Kellie O. from Georgia

To make: Chop strawberries and bananas. Mix with granola and drizzle honey on top. Yum!

Fruit Kabobs

Brandy A. from Tennessee

To make: Cut up watermelon, oranges, bananas, kiwi, peaches, pineapple and strawberries. Stack on as desired and devour!

Chicken Broccoli Pasta

Julie A. from Virginia

To make: Cook whole wheat pasta and set aside. Chop two cups broccoli, one red pepper, one green pepper and one onion. Then cook chicken (cut into one inch cubes). Mix chicken and vegetables with the pasta, add three-quarters of a cup light Italian dressing and top with one-third of a cup grated Parmesan cheese. Refrigerate for two hours and then serve!

Thanks for sharing these delectable treats! Don’t forget, the contest is open until July 31st, so there’s still time for you to share your favorite healthy summer recipe and win! Visit our Facebook page to get the details and send over your favorite recipe!

Spa Foodie: Gluten-Free Cranberry Coconut Avocado Smoothie

By Amie Valpone

There’s nothing like a chilled summertime smoothie. It is just simply fun to slurp n’ sip on when the summer heat is getting to you. Instead of the traditional smoothie, I decided to get a lil’ bit creative. You will LOVE this recipe. Refreshing is an understatement – it’s flavorful, smooth, sweet n’ fun to sip. I added a fresh and ripe avocado just because, then a few raw cashews, chia seeds and flax seeds to add a nice balance of protein and healthy fats. You can add in or substitute the cashews for another nut but I just love the creaminess in raw cashews.  This succulent smoothie is hands down one of my top 5 favorites. I may just have to make it again tomorrow. I simply can’t resist the coolness this brings to my mouth and I know it will do the same for yours…


Serves 1

  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 10 fresh cherries
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1 large, ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 cup Greek plain yogurt (or dairy-free yogurt)
  • 2 fresh Basil leaves
  • 1 tsp. chia seeds
  • 2 Tbsp. coconut flakes
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 5 raw cashews
  • Dash of cinnamon


  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender; pulse until smooth
  2. Pour into serving glass; serve chilled
  3. Enjoy!

Amie Valpone is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free “Clean” recipes for the home cook. She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Healthy Apple and the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats. See more of her posts on Spa Week Daily, here.

Spa Foodie: A Journey to “Clean Living” + Vegan, Gluten-Free Summer Potato Salad

What would you do if you struggled with chronic leg swelling, stomach problems and colitis? See a doctor, right? What if every doctor you visited, including those at the Mayo Clinic, told you nothing was wrong with you? Would you continue to let your health deteriorate or do something about it?

Do something about it.

After spending several years dealing with severe digestive issues, Amie Valpone, an aspiring marketing and advertising exec at the time, decided to take her health into her own hands and seek some alternative options. It wasn’t until she began working with an Integrative Medical Doctor that Amie learned she was suffering from heavy metal accumulation and was born without the gene to absorb folate, key in detoxification. Amie is unable to digest gluten, grains, sugar, oils, fruits and dairy. In the past few years, Amie has also discovered she is allergic to sulfates and cannot digest packaged foods. She can’t even go to the corner store and pick up a pack of pretzels or chips without getting sick. This made Amie realize that medicine can only do so much – it wasn’t offering her body what it needed to heal. This realization lead Amie on a “Clean Living” journey and now, using acupuncture, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, and fresh, whole, unprocessed foods, Amie is healed and remains 100% symptom free nearly five years later.

Now, Amie is a Manhattan based Personal Chef, Culinary Nutritionist, Professional Recipe Developer and Food Writer specializing in simple Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free “Clean” recipes for the home cook.  She is the Editor-in-Chief of The Healthy Apple and the Publisher and Marketing Director of the online gluten-free magazine, Easy Eats.

Over at The Healthy Apple, Amie offers delectable, inspiring and easy recipes that are vegan, dairy and gluten free. One of my favorite recipes is her Gluten-Free Vegan Potato Salad, this mayo-free creation is healthy, delicious and perfect for a hot summer day.

Positively The Best Potato Salad with Parsley Pesto

By Amie Valpone


(Serves 4)

  • 2 lbs. small red new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 1/2 cup fresh curly parsley, finely chopped plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp white balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 tsp curry
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; cook potatoes until soft but not falling apart, approximately 25 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine parsley, mint, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, vinegar, sea salt and pepper; pulse until well combined. Transfer to a large bowl.
  3. Drain potatoes; slice in half as soon as they’re cool enough to handle.
  4. Gently toss potatoes with parsley pesto mixture; season with curry and chili powder.
  5. Garnish with additional parsley; serve chilled
  6. Enjoy!