Healthy (and Delicious) Thanksgiving Dishes for Every Course
Pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, slow-cooked turkey, and all your favorites are soon going to be placed on the table with your loved ones sitting around it expressing gratitude towards on another and blessing the meal in front of you. Your hearts and stomaches will be warm and full and you'll be complimenting one another on the dishes everyone made and brought over.
Although Thanksgiving isn't meant to be solely about the food, we all know that it's definitely something majority of our guests will look forward to. One concern I have about Thanksgiving is that it seems as though that's the occasion that most people begin throwing their healthy habits out the window completely for the holiday season. In fact, recently I read that the average person consumes more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving. Yeah. That's a lot.
After reading that little fact, I decided that it would be fun to share some healthier alternatives with you all to bring to your Thanksgiving parties. Of course not every dish for Thanksgiving needs to be healthy (I'm all for indulging a little bit during the holidays), but it doesn't hurt to have some good options. I know that a lot of families will tell members to bring a dish, side, or dessert, so I found dishes for every course that are delicious, healthier, and perfect for sharing with your loved ones.
I'll have these recipes and a few other favorites on my Pinterest board titled "Healthier Thanksgiving Options" if you want to take a peek!
This Pumpkin Sage Hummus recipe from Two Healthy Kitchens sounds too yummy and quick not to whip up for Thanksgiving. It's perfect for any vegan or vegetarian guests and claims to only take five minutes to make. It gets better too; it only requires five ingredients (and you probably already have two of them).
The only things you need to pick up for this recipe are:
Fresh Sage Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
P.S. Don't forget some pita chips, pita bread, or even fresh cucumber slices to go along with your hummus.
For any other vegetarians out there, finding a main dish for Thanksgiving can be a bit of a challenge, but this recipe that I found from Let the Baking Begin is sure to have everyone at the table groaning "mmm" when they take a bite. It's sweet, clean, and beautifully textured...it's Acorn Squash with Walnuts & Cranberry.
This dish is going to be ideal for those who want to create a delicious dish, but don't have time to be checking on it constantly. All you need is 5 minutes to prepare everything, and then you literally put it in the oven for a little over an hour, giving you time to get ready, finish up cleaning, and relax for a bit.
Tip: If you need to make this recipe vegan, it's really easy to swap out the butter for vegan butter (my favorite is "I Can't Believe It's Not Butter! It's Vegan" which you can get at just about any grocery store).
Side dishes are so easy to swap out for healthier options. Most Thanksgiving side dishes are already kind of healthy (minus all of the salt and butter probably used), so finding alternatives won't be very difficult. You can probably even alter your favorite family recipes a bit if you wanted too.
JoyFoodSunshine's Sautéed Green Beans with Apple Cider is a dish that once again, you probably already own most of the ingredients for. Personally, the only thing I know that I'd need to pick up are the green beans. It's really that simple. Again, this recipe only calls for 5 ingredients, so if you're on a budget and cooking for a lot of people, this one is a great bet.
Preparation time does take a bit longer than the main dish I recommended, but I'm sure it'll be worth it in the long run. After reading through this recipe again, I think that it's one that I'm going to want to try on a regular basis, not just for Thanksgiving.
For a dessert option, I wanted to share something that isn't so typical. While apple pie and pumpkin pie are staples, sometimes making a lighter version of those can taste a bit weird to people who don't typically like "health foods" and lighter dishes. That being said, this Easy Spiced Hot Fruit Bake from Cotter Crunch seems to be a great option that might even be able to trick those family members who say they "don't like weird healthy stuff."
It's sweet, gluten-free, and even has a vegan option to choose from. This dish is one that I'm most excited to make. I love fruit and anything hot. From some reason this dish reminds me of a deconstructed apple pie, but I can't wait to try it out.
This recipe is one that I feel like will be very difficult to mess up. If you're a beginner at cooking or baking, this one will be ideal. You can even cheat and used canned pears and pineapple if you don't feel like cutting those up!
I hope this post helped you figure out what you're going to be bringing to Thanksgiving this year. As I mentioned before, Thanksgiving isn't about the food. It's about remembering what you're thankful for and spending time with loved ones. Please always remember to be gracious and help spread positively and love, especially during the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving!