It is almost that time of year again for your family to gather around the table and give thanks. Whether you are the chef in the kitchen or always bring a dish to pass, you should check out these 20 healthy Thanksgiving meal ideas. From starters and side dishes to desserts and drinks, you can put a nutritious twist on all of your favorites. Not only are these options healthy, but they are delicious!
Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite. Some families use them in place of traditional mashed potatoes or enjoy a slice of sweet potato pie instead of pumpkin. However, you can feast on creamy garlic mashed potatoes, indulge in pumpkin pie and still eat sweet potatoes thanks to a delicious gingery sweet potato soup. Try serving it before the turkey as an excellent appetizer to the main course. After all, sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, which is essential for good vision. You only need one cup of ginger broth for mixing, and you can utilize the rest as a cooking liquid for grains including quinoa.
For this Thanksgiving starter, the salad itself is just as yummy as the dressing. Toss together a healthy variety of lettuces including arugula and watercress to make a mixed green salad. Use low-fat yogurt combined with figs, which are rich in vitamin K, for a nutritious yet delicious salad dressing.
Although it is easy to buy a can jellied cranberry sauce on plop it on the table, with a small amount of effort, you can make a much healthier and tastier version. Your family will love a fresh-tasting blend of chunky fruits. You can simmer the cranberries and add orange bits, too.
From the leaves of the mustard plant, mustard greens tickle your taste buds with a soulful, spunky flavor with a peppery taste. Although they are usually in season from December through April, you can cook this but tasty side dish for Thanksgiving. Mix in calabrese, a variety of broccoli, and add a splash of red wine vinegar to take it from a typical bowl of garlicky greens to everyone's new favorite.
Did you know that when you roast cauliflower, it caramelizes the florets into a super-sweet flavor? Counter that with some salty olives and toss in crunchy pine nuts for a to-die-for taste. If you are feeling brave, cut up some roasted chicken or steamed fish to add to the mixture.
Have you ever considered cooking Brussels sprouts as a Thanksgiving side dish? The healthy veggie might not be your favorite, but roasted Brussels sprouts drenched in brown butter and topped with sage are delicious. Another variety is maple roasted Brussels sprouts. Simply add pancetta and maple transfer a boring green into a tasty treat.
Even though corn is not the healthiest of vegetables, it is still a staple side dish for a Thanksgiving feast. Whether you like to mix the sweet yellow stuff with your mashed potatoes or eat it alone, you should try out a much healthier version. A vegan creamed corn uses coconut milk instead of heavy cream to create the texture; it won't taste tropical thanks to the traditional spices.
Skip the basic box stuffing this year and opt for a healthier kale and butternut squash stuffing. After all, Thanksgiving is just not the same without stuffing. However, this version is full of fresh vegetables. It can even be created as a vegetarian-friendly side dish. Don't worry – the recipe is just as quick and easy as the box meal, but much healthier.
Thanksgiving just is not the same without green bean casserole. However, a couple of quick changes will make it more nutritious. For example, instead of buying those crispy onion toppings from a can, prepare them fresh. You can also substitute the heavy cream in the sauce for a lighter, low-fat variety.
As much as you love green bean casserole, you can also throw in some roasted asparagus as a healthy Thanksgiving side dish. Not only do you need just three ingredients, but it will only take you about 20 minutes from prep to feast. Roasted asparagus is an easy way to please a hungry crowd.
If you want to stay away from a pile of carbohydrates this Thanksgiving, you can replace potatoes with healthier food. For example, you can use apples mixed with parsnips to a similar texture to mashed potatoes. Not only is the dish the same velvety mash, but it is the same color and slightly sweeter. You might even prefer this version from then on!
Even though carrots are a rich source of beta-carotene and positively healthy for you, they are pretty bland. Your taste buds will dance when they taste the refreshing blend of honey and orange on a carrot. The once-boring side dish will become an instant favorite around the table. You can roast in the flavors, which means you have little to do regarding cooking.
If you want to cook 'outside of the box,' then be brave and serve delicious cranberry pecan-stuffed pork chops for Thanksgiving. Even though you might be used to saying Turkey Day, pork is a tasty substitute. Get ready for the endless compliments from your guests when they find out you made the cranberry pecan stuffing.
There is nothing wrong with keeping the main dish traditional. However, instead of wrestling with a 20-pound turkey, you can use a smaller portion. Get a little creative and use the just the breast for smaller portions, but an equally delicious meal.
If you want to bring your bland dinner rolls to life, then try to bake some savory muffins instead. Mixing pumpkin puree and cheddar cheese is a mouth-watering combination. Your guests will adore your unique bread options. In fact, they are so delicious that you do not even need to add a slab of unhealthy butter.
Instead of feeling guilty for eating pumpkin pie, you can indulge in a healthy alternative that is just as scrumptious. Not only that, but you don't have to sweat over a hot stove thanks to this five-ingredient, no-bake dessert. It has the same great flavors without all the work.
Have you ever tried to make compote? The mixture of chunky fruits stewed in flavored juices is delicious. You will enjoy dining on an all-natural sugar treat without feeling any of the sluggish tendencies afterward. If you want to add a little extra something to your fall fruit compote, you can serve with ice cream, top it with whipped cream, or add a slice of angel food cake.
You already love the classic apple crisp, so this year you can spice things up a bit. Rather than using apples, you can impress your Thanksgiving guests with a fresh peach rosemary crisp. The juicy peaches offer a natural sweetness whereas the rosemary gives it a savory twist.
After eating those delectable side dishes and desserts, you will have to wash everything down with a refreshing glass of hot mulled wine. Although water and tea are healthy in their own right, you can celebrate the holiday with a toast. Your guests will enjoy sipping on warm fall spices.
After cooking and feasting on that once-a-year meal, you deserve to kick your feet up and pour yourself a cold drink. Have you ever tried a fall take on this traditional summer cocktail? The mixture of apple cider and margaritas will become an autumn favorite. You can also make an apple cider margarita.
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