7 Easy Tricks to Make Thanksgiving Dishes Healthier

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Healthy Thanksgiving food recipes and hacks

Thanksgiving dinner tends to leave you in a food coma due to heaping helpings of heavy foods. 

As those extra (dare we say, unnecessary) calories sap you of your energy, you end up bailing on family and friends (who, let's be honest, you never see enough) for a nap or for the night. 

This year, imagine a delicious Thanksgiving dinner that leaves you feeling energetic enough to toss the pigskin, give your loved ones more of your time, and of course, help your host with clean-up (c'mon, be a gracious guest this year!). 

Ditch the guilt and fatigue that comes from overindulging with these easy ingredient swaps. 

2 Tweaks to Stuffing 

Imagine Thanksgiving dinner without stuffing. Wait, no...that's an awful thing to think about. 

Instead, add fiber and by trading the white bread for 100% whole-wheat bread (or our secret weapon, Ezekiel bread) and decrease saturated fat by trading the butter for olive oil. 

More Mash & Fewer Calories 

Some people love mashed potatoes more than Thanksgiving. 

Rather than remove the delicious dish (not happening), trade the potatoes for cauliflower. It will look, feel, and taste like mashed potatoes, but with way fewer carbs and calories. 

DIY Cranberry Sauce 

Berries are healthy, but canned cranberries tend to have added sugar, which you need to sidestep. 

Do a quick Google search to find a low sugar cranberry sauce recipe with a simple base of cranberries, water, and your favorite sugar substitute.  

Green Beans Gone Right 

Everyone assumes the nostalgia-inducing casserole is uber-healthy, but the sodium and fat in the additions like fried onion, canned soup, and cream are a problem. 

Your best bet is to strip it down to just the veggies. If you're no minimalist, opt for all-natural soup and trade whole milk or cream for skim milk. 

Sneaky Sour Cream


This one's as easy as they come. Swap the sour cream for greek yogurt. 

It's still sour (and creamy), but it packs a punch of protein that sour cream doesn't have. Plus, it has far less fat than low-fat sour cream. 

Sweet As Pie 

Apple, pumpkin, pecan, oh my. Raise your hand if you can never get enough pie. 

I'm simply going to ask you to ditch the standard pie crust (simple carbs) for whole wheat pie crust (complex carbs). Pie not give it a try? :) 

Turkey Tips 

For starters, frying should be considered sacrilegious. Your best bet is to roast that sucker. And if you want to give it a little rub beforehand, use herbs and lemons for added flavor. 

Bonus Tips

Not cooking but still want to be a bit health-conscious? Fill up fast on calories that have some nutritional value. 

  • Start with lean protein like turkey to start feeling full without empty calories and sugar. 
  • Add a side of veggies to get some fiber to aid in filling your stomach. 
  • Pound water every chance you get to stay hydrated.
  • Do your best to limit portion sizes on the stuff you know can't be good for you.

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