3 Healthier Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Thanksgiving is almost upon us, and most of us are gearing up by buying ingredients to make our favorite holiday dishes.

But while gathering around the table and feasting on goodies is a tradition in many of our families, Thanksgiving recipes are often loaded with butter, added sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients.

But never fear, turkey lovers – there are ways to swap out your favorite Thanksgiving side dishes for healthier alternatives.

Here are some simple Thanksgiving recipes for you to enjoy with your loved ones this year!

Instead of: Mashed Potatoes

Try: Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

 

Ah, yes. Mashed potatoes are a delicious and traditional accompaniment to a Thanksgiving feast, but they’re often loaded with butter, heavy cream, whole milk, and gravy – which all contain saturated fat and sodium.[1] [2]

Instead of piling the mashed potatoes on your plate, try roasted rosemary potatoes instead!

 

      1. Slice potatoes into small chunks.
      2. Toss them with a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of salt, pepper, and dried rosemary.
      3. Bake on a sheet pan in the oven at 400 F until golden brown, and enjoy!

 

Potatoes are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals, especially fiber when you leave the skin on! Plus, they’re rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic acid.[3]

Swapping out ingredients loaded with unhealthy fats for olive oil and fresh seasonings, you’ll enjoy a healthier alternative with your turkey – just remember to watch your portions!

Instead of: Sweet Potato Casserole

Try: Mashed Sweet Potatoes

 

Sweet potato casserole is the star of many Thanksgiving plates, but with lots of added brown sugar, gooey marshmallows, and butter, it’s also loaded with extra calories.[4]

According to Nutritionix, a ½ cup serving has 6.6g of saturated fat and 314 calories!

Plus, all of those simple sugars can spike your blood glucose levels! Higher blood sugar can mean a higher risk of developing chronic diseases, like type 2 diabetes.[5]

Swap this for mashed sweet potatoes instead!

 

      1. Place sweet potatoes in boiling water and cook on medium heat until tender.
      2. Mash the potatoes with a splash of fat-free milk, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and nutmeg to taste, and plain Greek yogurt.
      3. Top with toasted pecans for a bit of crunch, and if you’re looking for more sweetness, add a small amount of pure maple syrup.

 

Sweet potatoes are delicious and nutritious all on their own – they’re great sources of vitamins B and C, antioxidants, and fiber![6]

By swapping out cream and butter for fat-free milk and yogurt, you keep the creaminess without the extra fat. Plus, spices and vanilla add natural sweetness without the sugar!

Instead of: Green Bean Casserole

Try: Lemon Garlic Green Beans

 

Hey, we all know that getting our greens is important! But the way we usually go about it on Thanksgiving can use a bit of work.

Green bean casserole is topped with fried onions and mixed with heavy cream of mushroom soup.

According to Nutritionix, one cup of green bean casserole can contain 39% of our daily value of sodium![7]

Let’s elevate this dish by making lemon garlic green beans instead!

 

      1. Clean and chop your green beans and blanch them in boiling water until bright green.
      2. Heat a skillet with a small amount of olive oil and sauté minced garlic until fragrant.
      3. Add the green beans and cook until hot.
      4. Top with lemon zest and pepper to taste, and add a small amount of salt if desired.

 

Green beans are very low in calories, and are a great source of vitamin C, folic acid, and vitamin K.[8]

Fresh ingredients, quick prep, and crisp, fragrant beans – delicious!

We hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that these healthy recipes help you prepare a smarter meal for your loved ones!

Remember to watch your portions – but if you indulge a little, we won’t tell.

 

References:

[1] https://www.nutritionix.com/food/mashed-potatoes

[2] https://www.nutritionix.com/food/beef-gravy

[3] https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF02853654

[4] https://www.nutritionix.com/food/sweet-potato-casserole

[5] https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/type-2-diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20351193

[6] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20509611

[7] https://www.nutritionix.com/food/green-bean-casserole

[8] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/285753.php