8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (2024)


Get this: Americans eat around 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day. Lighten up your feast with these calorie-slashed swaps! Occasionally unconventional, but always delicious...

Toasty Marshmallow Sweet Potato Skins

1/10th of recipe (1 skin): 74 calories, <0.5g total fat (0g sat. fat), 94mg sodium, 17.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 7.5g sugars, 1g protein

SmartPoints® value 3*

Move over, sweet potato pie... There's a tasty new sheriff in town! You'll save lots of calories by opting for these mallow-adorned 'taterskins. Want something a little more traditional? Try our Sans Sweet Potato Casserole, made with butternut squash!

Rockin' Lean Bean Casserole

1/8th of casserole: 95 calories, 2.5g total fat (0.5g sat. fat), 539mg sodium, 16g carbs, 3.5g fiber, 5g sugars, 3.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 2*

We all have that one relative who'll throw a huge fit if there's not a creamy green-bean dish on the table. To satisfy their need without the excess calories, try this HG classic! Onion-flavored soy crisps or popped chips are the perfect replacement for those fatty fried onions.

8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (3)

Bacon Cornbread Muffins

1/12th of recipe (1 muffin): 174 calories, 3g total fat (1.5g sat. fat), 422mg sodium, 28.5g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 11g sugars, 8.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 6*

Good news: There's no need to banish freshly baked bread from the table. Just stick with this lightened-up, flavor-packed cornbread! The best part? Built-in portion control, since it's baked up in a muffin pan. Get ready to wow the crowd with these sweet 'n savory muffins...

Holiday Stuffed Portabellas

1/6th of recipe (1 stuffed mushroom): 188 calories, 2.5g total fat (0.5g sat. fat), 449mg sodium, 38.5g carbs, 4g fiber, 14g sugars, 6.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 5*

No one is disputing that a) stuffing is great and b) Thanksgiving's not quite right without it. But stuffing is so darn calorie dense, and it's too easy to go overboard with it! Enter this recipe. Perfectly portioned, and the mushroom base makes it mega filling. Another great option is this recipe for Cornbread Stuffin' Muffins. Yes!

8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (5)

Twice-Baked Cheesy Acorn Squash

1/4th of recipe (1 stuffed squash half): 177 calories, 6g total fat (3g sat. fat), 288mg sodium, 27g carbs, 4g fiber, 0.5g sugars, 6.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 3*

Decadent stuffed squash recipes are totally in season, but they don't have to be stuffed with a silly number of calories. We adore this cheesy squash dish, and so will your family. Multiply the simple recipe to feed a crowd of any size. Acorn squash is amazing, people... Trust us!

Roasted Veggie Mac & Cheese

1/4th of recipe (about 1 1/2 cups): 217 calories, 4.5g total fat (2.5g sat. fat), 600mg sodium, 34g carbs, 5.5g fiber, 6g sugars, 11.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 6*

Mac & cheese might be the ultimate comfort food, and comfort food is the name of the game on Thanksgiving. Roasting veggies is one of the best ways to enhance their flavor, so why not bulk up your mac with roasty broccoli and cauliflower? Yum! Wanna make mac in the slow cooker? No problem...

8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (7)

Cherry Cranberry Sauce

1/12th of recipe (about 1/3 cup): 33 calories, 0g total fat (0g sat. fat), 25mg sodium, 11.5g carbs, 2g fiber, 4.5g sugars, 1.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 0*

Halloween has passed for the year, but if you want a good scare, check out how much sugar is in a 1/4-cup serving of standard cranberry sauce: 22 grams! That's more than the amount in 8 Hershey's Kisses. Would you put 8 Hershey's Kisses over your turkey? No way! This cranberry sauce recipe gets its sweetness from real fruit and natural no-calorie sweetener. A much better choice.

Perfect Pumpkin Cheesecake

1/8th of recipe (1 slice): 143 calories, 5.5g total fat (3.5g sat. fat), 299mg sodium, 18g carbs, 1.5g fiber, 5.5g sugars, 10.5g protein

SmartPoints® value 5*

Fact: We'd rather spend calories on cheese than crust, and we're pretty sure we're not the only ones. So we created this amazing pumpkin cheesecake sans crust, with a topping of crushed graham crackers to finish it off. For a more traditional pumpkin pie, check out this recipe. It also rocks the crustless, crumbs-on-top format -- just the way we like it!

Chew on this:

November is National Georgia Pecan Month. Pecan pie fans should have a batch of these babies on standby…

Quick, before your buddies spend another second in pre-holiday panic: Click "Send to a Friend" right now.

8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (9)

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8 Healthy Recipe Swaps for Thanksgiving (2024)


What is the healthiest food for Thanksgiving? ›

Go for small amounts of cooked squash, sweet potato, white potato, beans and carrots. Try to use whole-grain breads and cereals whenever possible; they are rich in fiber and the B vitamins that are not so abundant in simple carbohydrates (white and refined grains, cereals, flours and starches).

What is the healthiest meat for Thanksgiving? ›

But instead of a whole turkey, consider cooking a turkey breast. The breast contains white meat, which is lower in fat and calories than the dark meat in the thighs and legs.

What is a good alternative to turkey for Thanksgiving? ›

So go ahead and shake things up this Thanksgiving with one of these flavorful alternatives to cooking up a whole bird this year, like mushroom, Gruyère, & spinach-stuffed pork tenderloin, vegan mushroom pot pie, or a juicy prime rib.

What is a healthy food than turkey? ›

Lean cuts of beef: Opt for lean cuts like sirloin, tenderloin, or eye of round. These cuts have less fat compared to fattier cuts like ribeye or T-bone. Pork tenderloin: Pork tenderloin is a lean cut of meat that is low in fat and calories. It can be a good alternative to chicken and turkey.

What can I eat instead of Thanksgiving food? ›

Alternatives could be:
  • Baked Stuffed Shrimp dinner or any seafood, saffron herbed rice, seasonal vegetables.
  • Beef Crown Rib Roast dinner with Potatoes Gratin Dauphinoise and asparagus.
  • Roast Leg of Lamb with wine, lemon, garlic, and rosemary, Brussel sprouts, wild rice.
Nov 5, 2023

What is the unhealthiest Thanksgiving food? ›

Unhealthy: Stuffing

“Bacon, sausage, mince meat, giblets, and a variety of similar ingredients find their way into many a stuffing, which takes an already unhealthy dish — often topping 500 calories per serving, depending on the recipe — to an entirely new level of unhealthy,” she said.

Is Peanut Butter good or bad for you? ›

Eating peanut butter alongside other nutritious foods is perfectly healthy — as long as you don't exceed your calorie needs. Peanut butter is high in calories and could lead to excess calorie intake if not consumed in moderation. However, it is still a high-quality food that provides numerous nutrients.

What can I cook instead of turkey? ›

16 Festive Main Dishes That Are So Much Better Than Turkey
  • Roast Duck with Plums. ...
  • Garlic Rosemary Prime Rib Roast with Horseradish Cream. ...
  • Roasted Capon with Sage Stuffing. ...
  • Jamie Oliver's Best Roast Leg Of Lamb. ...
  • Roasted Pork Belly with Crushed Butternut Squash and Apple and Walnut Salsa.
Nov 17, 2016

What is healthier than turkey for Thanksgiving? ›

Try it out on Thanksgiving by substituting tofu for your turkey. Tofu can be cooked in a variety of flavorful ways and comes with a ton of nutritional benefits including a lot of calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B, and protein.

What other meat is good for Thanksgiving? ›

Cornish game hen, goose, duck, ham, beef, salmon, and mushroom recipes make worthy centerpieces for holiday meals.

What is cheaper than turkey for Thanksgiving? ›

Roast chicken is less expensive, easy to roast, delicious, and has less portions than a large turkey, so it is perfect for a single, couple, or small family celebration. A simple chicken stuffed with mirepoix, lemons, fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, sage) and roasted whole is a great alternative to a large turkey."

What do vegans eat instead of turkey on Thanksgiving? ›

by Gardein

Other protein-filled vegan options that could replace turkey in your vegan Thanksgiving table are tempeh, tofu and seitan.

What is the healthiest meat for humans? ›

Healthiest: Skinless Turkey Meat

An excellent source of niacin and vitamin B6, skinless turkey, is one of the best lean proteins to add to your meals. The nutrients found in skinless turkey meat can help support heart health, energy levels, brain function, digestion, and other bodily processes.

What is an alternative to chicken or turkey? ›

Meat alternatives for chicken:
  • Ground turkey.
  • Beef.
  • Pork.
  • Lamb.
  • Processed meat.
  • Seitan.
  • Tofu.
  • Tempeh.
Jul 30, 2020

Is mashed potatoes good for you? ›

Vitamins and Minerals: Potatoes contain important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium, and dietary fiber. Moderate in Calories: While mashed potatoes can be calorie-dense, especially when loaded with butter and cream, they can still fit into a balanced diet if portion sizes are controlled.

How to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner? ›

Lighten Your Recipes
  1. Skip the cream. Use Greek yogurt or whole milk instead in mashed potatoes, creamy soups, and creamed onion or spinach recipes.
  2. Reduce the sugar. Cut it back by 10 to 25 percent in baking recipes. ...
  3. Add some fiber. ...
  4. Upgrade the stuffing. ...
  5. Be sodium savvy. ...
  6. Boost nutrition.
Nov 22, 2021

What should I eat on Thanksgiving to not gain weight? ›

Try these healthy options for Thanksgiving dinner:
  • Beets. These sweet and savory vegetables are an excellent source of essential nutrients, including iron and magnesium.
  • Brussel sprouts. ...
  • Butternut squash soup. ...
  • Roasted Sweet Potatoes. ...
  • White Turkey Meat.

What is the healthiest way to cook a Thanksgiving turkey? ›

Rustveld suggests air frying your turkey as a healthier alternative to deep frying. It takes less time at 400 degrees, and the end product contains less fat since you do not need to add oil. “Deep frying is not as healthy as air frying, roasting or grilling,” he said.


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