You might be a great cook but if you serve the same Thanksgiving fare year after year, your guests are bound to start going home hungry.
Whether you’re preparing a meal from start to finish in your own kitchen or toting a side dish and dessert to a nearby gathering, it’s easy to refresh your favorite classic dishes without piling on fat and calories.
It’s tempting to snack on rich cheeses and sodium-packed crackers while you’re waiting for the turkey to finish cooking. This year, skip the mindless snacking by presenting your guests with a cheese ball flavored with herbs and spices so tasty you’ll never know that you’re eating reduced-fat cheese.
Herb & Garlic Roasted Potatoes
Many of us love mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving, but a lot of recipes call for butter, cream and sometimes even cheese. Herbs and a touch of olive oil make these potatoes heart-healthier and lower-calorie than the average starchy side.
Herbed Cornbread Stuffing
If you can’t picture Turkey Day without bread stuffing, we love this cornbread version with a spicy kick from Jalapeno peppers. With less than 200 calories in a half-cup serving, you can go ahead and have seconds on the turkey.
Low-Sugar Cranberry Apple Sauce
If you or someone at your dinner table is watching their sugar intake, spike the annual cranberry sauce with a sugar substitute and fresh apples for natural sweetness.
Turkey Waldorf Salad
Don’t get so wrapped up in planning your meal that you forget what to do with your leftovers. Use untouched turkey breast to create a creamy, yet virtuous Waldorf salad for a Black Friday lunch to remember.
Curried Baby Carrots
On holidays, we tend to lose sight of nutrition and reach straight for the carbs. This year, pile your plate with Jillian Michaels‘ recipe for kicked-up carrots. Even the kids will want to eat their vegetables!
Almond-Green Bean Salad
Instead of a creamy, fat-laden green bean casserole, eat your greens without a side of saturated fat this Thanksgiving. This salad, atop butter lettuce, is light, refreshing and doesn’t come with a side of guilt.
Cider Baked Sweet Potatoes
Instead of topping your yams with marshmallows, brown sugar or maple syrup, toss a variety of ruby red and yellow sweet potatoes with apple cider. Flavored with apple pie spice instead of sugar, a serving has only 90 calories.
Cranberry Orange Muffins
Start Thanksgiving off right with a baked treat that uses white whole-wheat flour for a fiber boost. It makes lighter-colored, milder-tasting baked goods that most whole grain flours.
Pecan Rice Stuffing
Between mushrooms packed with Vitamin D and fiber-rich brown rice, Thanksgiving stuffing doesn’t get much healthier than this dish.
Thanksgiving side dishes usually tend to be savory, but the average Thanksgiving dinner packs in way more sugar than one might think. If you have dinner guests that are diabetic or simply just cutting back, look to a biscuit recipe like this one that calls for a sugar substitute.
Pumpkin pie might be tempting but at only 80 calories per piece, these twice-baked cookies will be hard to pass up. Serve with coffee, hot tea or cocoa and you could even freeze the leftovers – but we doubt there will be any left by the next morning.