Thanksgiving Made Easy: Healthy Recipe Ideas

Our favorites dishes to create a healthy Thanksgiving meal, from appetizers to entrées to delicious leftovers

Congratulations, you’re cooking Thanksgiving dinner! Not only must you juggle a platter of appetizers, four pots on the stove and three dishes in the oven, you also have to remember that Grandpa likes his mashed potatoes extra creamy, Mom refuses to eat pie on her new diet and Aunt Marge needs a cocktail ASAP.

Luckily, we’ve compiled a menu from our favorite fall recipes that’s sure to please every palate. Plus, our dishes are easy to whip up and will keep holiday weight gain at bay. You’re so very welcome.


Pumpkin Seed Sweet Potato Fries
Loaded with spices but short on fat and calories, these bright and crunchy fries are a great precursor to the feast ahead that won’t stuff your dinner guests too soon. You can prepare the complementary sage dipping sauce up to three days in advance to ease up Turkey Day crunch time.

Artichoke and Mushroom Bruschetta
You’ll get a good dose of veggies plus ample serving sizes (three pieces!) out of this dish. The leftover topping mixture can be used atop chicken or tossed with pasta, too.

Main Dish

Roasted Turkey Breast with Grilled Apples
If you’re having a small gathering (or just don’t want to roast a whole bird), try making these pan-seared turkey cutlets topped with apples, walnuts, maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. It’s a Thanksgiving staple with a sweet twist.


Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Lighten up this traditional side dish by nixing the butter and using one-percent milk and light sour cream instead of their full-fat cousins. Adding garlic and chives ensures it still delivers on flavor. Or, to pack in even more healthy nutrients, try…

Roasted, Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Roast the potatoes, peel off the skin, and mash ’em up with maple syrup. It’s that simple.

Roasted Fall Veggies
This colorful, flavor-packed dish offers a fun alternative to plain old corn or even green bean casserole, with way more vitamins and a lot less fat. The mix of orange and purple veggies topped with fresh green spices makes it as appealing to the eye as it is to the taste buds.

Curried Quinoa with Roasted Chickpeas and Butternut Squash
To add some grains to your smorgasbord, try this spicy quinoa salad. Considered a superfood, quinoa boasts plenty of fiber and protein to satisfy your hungriest relatives. Plus, the kick will add some fun to the plate.


Pumpkin Pudding
Topped with pecans, cinnamon and nutmeg, this treat has all the flavor of pumpkin pie without the fat and calories hiding in the crust. And because it’s made with soy, it boasts some added protein, too.


Spiced Skinny Cocktail
The blend of citrus and spice in this cocktail complements the seasonal spices of your Thanksgiving meal. Using club soda and coconut water, it weighs in at only 120 calories per serving, so you can knock one back relatively guilt-free.


Butternut Squash Soup with Honey and Sage
Cook up this low-calorie soup to complement your leftover turkey sandwich for Friday’s lunch. Fresh sage, lemon juice and honey make for a crisp yet smooth blend of flavors.

Sweet Potato Frico
With only two ingredients, this dish is an easy way to use up any left over potatoes that didn’t make the meal. It’s also touted by all-star chef Marc Vetri as a cancer-fighting entrée with tons of antioxidants.

Light-and-Easy Pumpkin Butter
Take the extra pumpkin from that pudding and make this light and tasty butter. Spread it over toast or a whole-grain bagel for a post-Thanksgiving breakfast.

>> See also: Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trots and Six Pumpkin Recipes