Thanksgiving isn't a holiday known for moderation. To the contrary, research from the Calorie Control Council shows that the average American could consume in excess of 4,500 calories and a staggering 229 grams of fat over the course of the food-filled day. Before you jump on the bandwagon and join the artery-clogging madness, consider trying some lighter, healthier versions of classic Thanksgiving fare. After all, a calorie saved is a calorie you don’t have to worry about tomorrow.
These dishes allow you to indulge your fall cravings without sending calorie counts through the roof, and will have you giving thanks when it’s time to put on those New Year’s jeans.
- Healthy Roasted Turkey: Cut the calories, not the tradition. The herb mixture creates a mouth-watering medley of flavors.
- Baked Chicken Breasts: When you want to include an alternative to turkey, these brined chicken breasts serve as a savory stand-in.
- Grilled Veggie Salad: This seasonal medley is just as stunning to behold as it is scrumptious to eat.
- Homemade Cranberry Sauce: You'll never even want to look at the canned version again after tasting this healthier homemade sauce.
- Green Beans with Shallots and Pine Nuts: This vegan, gluten-free side dish gets plenty of flavor from garlic, pine nuts and shallots.
- Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Soup: Sprinkled with toasted almonds and fresh rosemary, this simple, yet satisfying soup is ready in less than 30 minutes.
- Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash: This savory, gluten-free side dish serves as a delicious alternative to traditional stuffing.
- Hummus Mashed Potatoes: No need to feel guilty about enjoying this classic, creamy Thanksgiving staple because, well, HUMMUS.
- Cinnamon Brûléed Sweet Potato Purée: Looking for an alternative to traditional mashed potatoes? This smooth, creamy dish tastes and looks much more complex than it is to prepare.
- Slow Cooker Creamed Corn: Free up a spot on the stovetop and prepare this delicious veggie side dish in your slow cooker. It's as easy as tossing in a few ingredients and letting it simmer.
- Whole-Grain Skillet Cornbread: This whole-food recipe is sweetened with coconut sugar and honey, with no oils or refined sugar in sight.
- Pork, Butternut and Mushroom Stuffing: You won't believe this hearty, flavorful stuffing is both gluten- and grain-free.
- Maple-Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts: Two bites in, they'll forget they ever had anything but love for sprouts.
- Whole Food Apple Sausage Stuffing: This healthy stuffing swaps out traditional breads for wheat varieties and incorporates Italian chicken sausage and Granny Smith apples. You're welcome!
- Healthy Mashed Carrots: Who says potatoes get to have all the fun? This creamy alternative to mashed spuds is full of flavor and low in calories.
- Roasted Yams with Honey Walnuts and Raisins: If they weren't packed with vitamins and sweetened with all things natural and wholesome, these succulent yams would seem downright sinful.
- Clean Skinny Pumpkin Spice Latte: Relax after the big dinner with this wholesome, homemade version of your favorite coffee-shop indulgence.
- Easy Apple Crisp: It doesn't get much more comforting than this cinnamon-spiced appetizer/snack/dessert.
- Pumpkin Pie Snickerdoodles: These delicious, guilt-free pumpkin and cinnamon cookies are far healthier than they taste.
Hopefully these options have taken a little of the anxiety out of your pre-holiday prep. What are your favorite healthy Thanksgiving recipes?
- Paleo Pumpkin Pie: It's true: Even pumpkin pie can be healthy! This gluten-free, dairy-free version is packed with all of the good stuff and none of the bad.
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