Better-For-You Thanksgiving Alternatives

If there is one thing that you can always guarantee Thanksgiving will be good for, it’ll always be one hell of a feast. But it can be hard to enjoy it to your fullest (literally) when you’re watching your weight. So we’ve taken three of the holiday’s traditional favorites – the stuffing, the cranberry sauce, and the mashed potatoes (which also happen to usually be the most calorie-heavy) and we’ve turned them out as three awesome, waistline-friendly versions.


Slimmed-Down Stuffing


  • 4 cups cubed reduced-sodium whole-wheat bread
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 4 stalks celery, minced
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen defatted chicken stock, thawed


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Coat a 12" x 8" baking dish with no-stick spray.

2. Coat a large baking sheet with no-stick spray. Place the bread on the baking sheet and mist with no-stick spray. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Coat a 10" no-stick skillet with no-stick spray and place over medium-high heat until hot. Add the oil, celery, onions, poultry seasoning, thyme, and pepper. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until the onions are soft but not browned.

4. Add the stock to the bread cubes in the bowl. Toss to mix. Add the onion mixture and mix well. Transfer to the prepared baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until golden brown.

NOTE: To freeze, cool the cooked casserole. Wrap the baking dish in freezer-quality plastic wrap, then in freezer-quality foil. To use, thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the foil and plastic wrap; discard the plastic wrap. Cover with the foil and bake at 350°F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until hot.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 93.9 calories, 1.9 g fat, .3 g sat fat, 14.9 g carbs, 4.1 g sugar, 3.7 g fiber, 4.5 g protein


Calorie-Conscious Cranberry Sauce


  • 2 cups organic fresh raw cranberries
  • 2 organic oranges or tangerines (especially important that they're organic, since you are going to use the skins)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste–depending on how tart or sweet you want it)


1. Rinse the cranberries and put them into a food processor or blender.

2. Squeeze the juice out of one of the oranges and add it to the cranberries.

3. Cut the other orange up into bits, skin and all (cut off the ends or any ugly bits), and add that in as well. Grind the mixture into rough bits (don't make it too smooth).

4. Pour the mix into a bowl, add the sugar and stir.

5. Let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours. That’s how long it takes for the sugar to do its job. So don’t taste for sweetness until then.

6. Serve it cold and in a pretty bowl.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 75.1 calories, .1 g fat, 0 g sat fat, 19.2 g carbs, 16.3 g sugar, 1.9 g fiber, .4 g protein


Marvelously Mashed Sweet Potatoes


  • 3 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into approximately 3" chunks
  • 1 C reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2/3 C fat-free milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract


1. Put potatoes and broth in large pot with tight-fitting lid and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender, about 25 minutes.

2. Add cinnamon, milk, and butter.

3. Mash in food processor or with handheld masher until smooth. Add vanilla extract and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Makes 8 servings. Per serving: 125.1 calories, 1.7 g fat, 1 g sat fat, 24.9 g carbs, 8.8 g sugar, 3.4 g fiber, 3 g protein

Tags: calories, eating, family, food, Healthy, Holiday, skinny, Thanksgiving, turkey

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