Have Your Turkey and Eat It Too: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

Have Your Turkey and Eat It Too: Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes

From topping sweet potatoes with marshmallows to that gluttonous green bean casserole, the Thanksgiving feast can really add on some pounds if you’re not careful. This year, try a healthier approach with lighter recipes that won’t compromise your traditional ingredients.

Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes

Often times on Thanksgiving we tend to load up on fattening soups or creamy dips to start off an already fattening meal. This year, try a nice light salad or a low fat soup and you’ll still have plenty of fall flavor to go around!

Honey Pumpkin Salad with Sage Croutons

This would a great starter salad for a Thanksgiving dinner.


    * 1 sugar pumpkin or butternut squash (1 1/2 lbs.), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch dice
    * 1/4 C. honey
    * 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
    * Eight 1/2inch-thick slices of country bread
    * Roasted pumpkin seed oil, for brushing
    * 5 sage leaves
    * 1/4 C. pumpkin seeds
    * 1 Granny Smith apple, halved, cored and thinly sliced
    * 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin with the honey and the melted butter. Spread the pumpkin on a rimmed baking sheet and roast for about 35 minutes, or just until tender; let cool. Arrange the bread on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven with the pumpkin for about 5 minutes, or until lightly toasted. Brush the toasts generously with pumpkin seed oil and rub with the sage leaves. Spread the pumpkin seeds in a pie plate; toast in the oven for about 3 minutes, or until fragrant. In a bowl, toss the apple with 1/2 Tbs. of the vinegar. In another bowl, toss the pumpkin with the remaining 1 1/2 Tbs. of vinegar. Season both with salt and pepper.

To Serve

Set a crouton on each plate and top with the apple slices. Spoon the pumpkin salad and chopped persimmon over the apple slices. Garnish with the toasted pumpkin seeds and serve.

Yield: 8 Servings.

More Healthy Thanksgiving Appetizer Recipes:

Caramelized Apple and Leek Soup with Cider Cream
Harvest Moon Soup
Hearty Sausage and Lentil Soup

Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes

The turkey is no-doubt the star of the Thanksgiving feast. That means, no matter how fattening it is, there’s no skipping out on the Thanksgiving turkey. The good thing is this poultry meat is actually lower in fat to begin with but here are some recipes to help you prepare a flavorful yet healthy bird.

Rosemary Roasted Turkey

Moist and flavorful, you can also use this recipe for Cornish game hens, chicken breasts or roasting chicken. Select a turkey sized according to the amount of people you will be serving.


    * 3/4 C. olive oil
    * 3 Tbs. minced garlic
    * 2 Tbs. chopped fresh rosemary
    * 1 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
    * 1 Tbs. Italian seasoning
    * 1 tsp. ground black pepper
    * Salt to taste
    * 1 12 lb. whole turkey


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, garlic, rosemary, basil, Italian seasoning, black pepper and salt. Set aside. Wash the turkey inside and out; pat dry. Remove any large fat deposits. Loosen the skin from the breast. This is done by slowly working your fingers between the breast and the skin. Work it loose to the end of the drumstick, being careful not to tear the skin.

Using your hand, spread a generous amount of the rosemary mixture under the breast skin and down the thigh and leg. Rub the remainder of the rosemary mixture over the outside of the breast. Use toothpicks to seal skin over any exposed breast meat. Place the turkey on a rack in a roasting pan. Add about 1/4 inch of water to the bottom of the pan. Roast in the preheated oven 3-4 hours, or until the internal temperature of the bird reaches 180 degrees.

More Healthy Thanksgiving Turkey Recipes:

Herb Roasted Turkey
Delicious Thanksgiving Turkey
Perfect Turkey

Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes

Side dishes are probably one of the worst parts of the meal when it comes to calories. You know what I’m talking about: buttery mashed potatoes, heavy green bean casseroles and worst of all: sweet potato casserole with marshmallows on top! Try some lighter dishes this year that will cut the calories without taking any tradition out of your Thanksgiving meal.

Sweet Potato Pie

This classic holiday side dish should definitely be a staple on your Thanksgiving table. Low fat milk and egg substitute keep the cholesterol down.


    * 3/4 C. all-purpose flour
    * 1/3 C. whole wheat flour
    * 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
    * 1/2 tsp. salt
    * 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
    * 1/4 C. peanut oil
    * 3 Tbs. water ice
    * 27 oz. sweet potatoes peeled and mashed
    * 1 1/2 C. low-fat milk (1%)
    * 1/2 C. fat-free egg substitute
    * 1/4 C. granulated sugar
    * 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    * 1/2 tsp. brandy
    * 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
    * 1 dash mace


To prepare crust, in small bowl, whisk together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add oil; work in with fingers, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in ice water, 1 Tbs. at a time, until mixture forms soft dough. Gather dough into a ball; wrap in

plastic wrap. Refrigerate 1 hour, until chilled. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Roll dough between 2 sheets of wax paper into a 9" circle. Fit dough into an 8" deep-dish pie plate, pressing to form a stand-up rim. Refrigerate while making filling.

To prepare filling, in large bowl, combine sweet potatoes, milk, egg substitute, sugar, vanilla, brandy, pumpkin pie spice and mace. Spoon filling into crust; bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 degrees.; bake until filling is firm, 80-90 minutes. Cool completely on wire rack 1 hour before cutting into 12 wedges.

Yield: 12 servings

Per Serving: 194.0 Calories, 5.5 g Total Fat, 1.1 g Saturated Fat, 1.3 mg Cholesterol, 139.7 mg Sodium, 31.8 g Total Carbohydrate, 2.6 g Dietary Fiber, 4.6 g Protein, 61.3 mg Calcium.

From: "The Lazy Gourmet Fights the Battle of the Bulge" by Suzi Ashby

More Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish Recipes:
Vibrant Green Beans
Baked Acorn Squash with Caramelized Apples, Pecans and Onions
Sweet Potato and Apple Bake
Native American Cranberry Sauce
Vegetarian Turkey Stuffing

Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes

Ah, dessert: another belly buster at holiday meals. Instead of the traditional pumpkin or apple pie, try some lighter fall favorites like apple crisp, pear strudel or pumpkin muffins! These seasonal ingredients are still making their way to the Thanksgiving table, just in lower calorie fashion!

Low Fat Pumpkin Muffins

This is a festive fall favorite, and with so little fat, there's no reason not to eat 'em up!


    * 1 1/4 C. old-fashioned (or quick) oatmeal
    * 1 C. whole wheat flour (or white)
    * 1 tsp. baking powder
    * 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    * 1/3 C. milk (1% or skim)
    * 1 C. canned pumpkin
    * 1/2 C. honey or 3/4 C. brown sugar
    * 1 tsp. vanilla
    * 1/2 tsp. salt (optional)
    * 1/4 C. egg replacer (or 1 egg)
    * 1 tsp. cinnamon
    * 1/2 tsp. mace
    * 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
    * 1/4 tsp. allspice or 1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice


Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, wet ingredients in another. Combine both, stir. Place in muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Makes 12 muffins, can be doubled.

More Healthy Thanksgiving Dessert Recipes:
Fat-Free Apple Crisp
Pear Strudel
Pumpkin Bars

Healthy Thanksgiving Drink Recipes

A homemade Thanksgiving beverage is quite a treat. Use these sugar or fat free recipes as guidelines to make sure you’re not sacrificing major weight gain in your drinks!

Pumpkin Smoothie

When the leaves start changing colors and air begins to cool, this a festive fall drink that will really get you in a seasonal mood.


    * 1 15 oz. can Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin, chilled
    * 1 12 oz. can Carnation Evaporated Low fat 2% Milk, chilled
    * 1 1/2 C. orange juice
    * 1 small sliced banana
    * 1/3 C. packed light brown sugar
    * 2 dozen ice cubes (optional)
    * 2 tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)


Place pumpkin, evaporated milk, orange juice, banana and sugar in blender; cover. Blend until smooth. Pour over ice. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

More Healthy Thanksgiving Drink Recipes:
Fat-Free Iced Apple Tea
Sugar-Free Hot Cocoa Mix
Fresh Ginger Tea

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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