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.
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 fiancé will totally appreciate.
Try one of these tasty recipes for a fresh, healthy menu this year. Thanksgiving side dishes, reimagined:
Butternut squash offers all the fall flavor of sweet potatoes, but with none of the peeling and chopping. Just cut in half, throw in the oven, and—voila!—a healthy Thanksgiving side dish.
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 vitamin C is a natural stress-fighter, which will help when Uncle Joe starts talking politics. You’re welcome.
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 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.
Garbanzo bean flour, coconut oil, and unsweetened almond milk make these corn muffins the healthiest you’ve ever had. And they take less than half an hour to make.
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.
Spices (cardamom and nutmeg) plus a dash of honey pretty much guarantee that these vegetables won’t get lost in the crowd. Carrots and parsnips never shined so brightly.
Green bean casserole is one of the highest-calorie side dishes at any holiday feast. Instead of smothering the crispy, vitamin-rich veggies with cream of mushroom soup, add immune-boosting garlic, lemon, and sea salt.
Okay, this one isn’t exactly a side dish, but these treats are the perfect bite-sized addition to your dessert table. Flax seeds and chia seeds help stabilize your blood sugar, and Greek yogurt offers a hit of protein you won’t find in other sweets.
The Nutritious Life Editors are a team of healthy lifestyle enthusiasts who not only subscribe to — and live! — the 8 Pillars of a Nutritious Life, but also have access to some of the savviest thought leaders in the health and wellness space — including our founder and resident dietitian, Keri Glassman. From the hottest trends in wellness to the latest medical science, we stay on top of it all in order to deliver the info YOU need to live your most nutritious life.
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