Eat Empowered, Healthy Recipes

5 Healthy Ways to Makeover Classic Thanksgiving Side Dishes

By Nutritious Life

Prepping your Thanksgiving side dishes to complement that big, juicy turkey?

Before you add that heaping cup of sugar to the cranberries the way you do every November, consider this: We believe in enjoying the happy indulgences holidays present (like eating every bite of that slice of creamy, delicious pumpkin pie), but that doesn’t mean your meal always has to result in a paralyzing food coma or instant weight gain.

Tweaking classic sides is one easy way to make the feast healthier without sacrificing traditional flavors or dishes altogether. It’ll also add creativity and excitement to your table, which your little brother’s foodie fiance will totally appreciate.

Try one of these tasty recipes for a fresh, healthy menu this year.

5 Thanksgiving side dishes, reimagined


Spiced Cranberry Relish

Instead of a sugar bomb, this twist on cranberry sauce is light and tart, providing a counterbalance to the many heavy, warming foods on the table. It’s packed with antioxidants from the cranberries, and the vitamin C is a natural stress-fighter, which will help when Uncle Joe starts talking politics.


Sweet Potato Latkes

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, beta-carotene, and vitamin C no matter how you make them, but these (baked!) latkes are especially unexpected and delicious, with cinnamon and nutmeg for a flavor- and antioxidant-boost.

Butternut Squash Soup

Ginger Carrot Squash Soup

Butternut squash soup is generally as nutritious as it is delicious, but add in ginger and you’re serving guests an immune-system strengthener that will help them get through cold and flu season without sniffling.

bulgur crop

Wild Rice and Bulgur Stuffing

This recipe trades the refined carbs that usually dominate stuffing for healthier grains like wild rice and bulgur, and the pecans provide some healthy fat and protein to prevent overeating other dishes.

green beans garlic

Garlic and Lemon Haricot Verts

Green bean casserole is one of the worst caloric offenders at any holiday feast. So, instead of smothering the crispy, vitamin-rich veggies with cream of mushroom soup, add immune-boosting garlic, lemon, and sea salt. This is also one of the easiest side dishes you’ll ever make.