Home » Diet and Nutrition News & Advice » 6 Thanksgiving Food Alternatives That are Hearty and Healthy

6 Thanksgiving Food Alternatives That are Hearty and Healthy

Thanksgiving is fast approaching on Nov. 23, and you probably already have visions of turkeys, stuffing and gravy dancing through your head. Maybe you’re also thinking about how many calories are involved in such a feast, or how bloated you might feel after (remember to take your time with each bite to savor the flavor, and don’t overdo portions).

It’s still possible to eat like a king on Thanksgiving, while shedding some calories, fat and salt from the menu. In many cases, you can keep the staples in there (like the turkey) and just add a healthier twist. Here are six healthy Thanksgiving food ideas that will have your guests rubbing their tummies in anticipation…

1. Hop Off the Gravy Train

This doesn’t mean you have to avoid gravy – we’re not crazy – but there may be a healthier way to get your fill without all of the bad stuff, suggests AllRecipes.com. ” “Gravy is one of the biggest calorie culprits on the table,” notes the source.

Instead of using turkey drippings, try using vegetable oil instead, it says. “It’s still fat, but oil is lower in saturated fat and is cholesterol-free,” it adds. If you insist on using turkey drippings for more flavor, you should use a fat separator – pour the gravy into the separator, allowing a few minutes for the fat to rise to the surface. Then you can easily skim it off.

2. Skin Your Turkey Breast

RealSimple.com explains that turkey itself is relatively low in calories, but only if you stick with skinless white meat (consider buying turkey breast only, rather than a whole bird with dark meat).

While a regular recommended serving of turkey is about 3-ounces, it’s okay to push this boundary a bit with the skinless turkey, it adds. Instead of eating the equivalent of a deck of cards in turkey, go for closer to 2-decks, it suggests.

3. Stuff the Stuffing

Stuffing is the stuff of nice dreams, and it’s a mainstay on most people’s Thanksgiving plates. However, there are alternatives to the traditional bread stuffing that will leave you feeling stuffed and your taste buds satisfied, explains TheKitchn.com.

These 5-gluten free alternatives from the source include wild rice (which goes well with dried fruits), sticky rice, quinoa, oatmeal, or a gluten-free cornbread version of stuffing. It even shares a recipe from Silvana Nardone for a gluten-free apple-pecan cornbread stuffing that looks devine.

4. Give Butter a Day Off

AllRecipes.com said you could shave some carbs from your mashed potatoes by using the starchy water left over from boiling potatoes, instead of loading them up with butter and cream. “The starchy water will give the potatoes a creamier texture than plain water would,” it notes.

It notes you can also add turkey or chicken broth, evaporated skim milk, or fat-free sour cream, and you can stir in roasted garlic and herbs for an extra flavor boost. Consider adding pureed cauliflower (or parsnips or turnips) into the potatoes for a nutritional gain, it adds.

5. Try Non-Alcoholic Beverages

Sure, most people like some wine with their dinner, as well as maybe some cocktails and beer before and after. But we probably don’t have to tell you how much sugar comes from alcohol, as well as carbs (hint: it’s a lot).

Luckily, SeriousEats.com has 7-non alcoholic drink recipes just in time for Thanksgiving. Samples include sparkling sumac lemonade, mulled cider shrub, orange and mint sparkler, fizzy pear ginger punch, and even a blueberry lime Rickey. These all promise to be fun and delicious. Also, avoiding alcohol means you don’t have to arrange alternate transportation home.

6. Say Goodbye to Pie

What? No pumpkin pie, you ask? It’s going to be okay. That’s because EveryDayHealth.com lists 9-alternatives to Thanksgiving pie that might have you begging for seconds.

Examples include gingered cranberry-pear cobbler (so you get your extra dose of cranberries), oatmeal-nut crunch apple pie, country pear tarts, and even double-chocolate brownies using fat-free cocoa powder. Oh, and if you refuse to give up your pumpkin pie, you can choose a pumpkin-maple pie that “takes advantage of the natural sweetness of maple syrup and adds fat-free evaporated milk for richness.” It has 100-less calories and 8-less grams of fat per serving than traditional pumpkin pie, it adds.


We Recommend

More on ActiveBeat
  • Eyeing the 12 Early Warning Signs of Glaucoma
    Glaucoma is a degenerative eye disease (of which there are several different forms) that can completely rob you of your vision.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Important Medical Facts to Know About Liver Cirrhosis
    Liver cirrhosis is a serious condition in which healthy liver cells are replaced by scar tissue. According to MedicalNewsToday.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Foods That Can Cause Blood Sugar Levels to Spike
    Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can present an individual with a number of significant health challenges that require substantial lifestyle changes.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Top 15 Inflammatory Foods
    Inflammation is the body's natural response to safeguard against foreign bacteria, viruses, and infection.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Don't Be Shortsighted With These 12 Facts About Children's Vision
    We tend to worry more about eye problems and deteriorating vision as we age, but the truth is that children can have a variety of eye ailments that can threaten their eyesight as...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Reasons to Try Bodyweight Exercises
    Many people looking to lose weight, gain muscle strength, or simply feel better physically and mentally through physical exercise make the decision to join a gym.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Concussion Symptoms: How Do I Know If I Have a Concussion?
    Most often, it’s athletes that are considered most prone to concussions, a brain injury that is either caused when the head suffers a severe blow or when the body is shaken and...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 15 Foods That Can Help with Constipation
    There’s nothing comfortable about constipation, which can leave sufferers in pain and without the ability to move easily.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 15 Warning Signs of Ovarian Cancer
    Ovarian cancer is known as the "silent killer" because symptoms are often so subtle; they just seem like routine or common annoyances.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 15 Symptoms of a Gallbladder Attack
    Gallbladder attacks are downright scary! Often mistaken for a heart attack, when the gallbladder is unhealthy, this small digestive organ is unable to properly aid the digestive...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 15 Warning Signs of Magnesium Deficiency
    The signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency are vast. Some are subtle, while others can cause serious health problems.
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Man Up For These 12 Essential Screening Tests
    There are some health screening tests every man should do – because there's nothing manly about developing diseases, especially if you have risk factors based on lifestyle or...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Probiotic Foods That Can Help with Digestion
    The idea that you have live microorganisms called "probiotics" living in your stomach and intestines might sound a little creepy at first, until you understand that these organisms...
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • 12 Health Facts to Know About Blood Clots
    Blood clots – they could be hiding in your body and lead to serious complications and even death, but how would you know if you have one?
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice
  • Absorb These 14 Health Benefits of Vitamin C
    You've been told many times by parents and doctors to get your Vitamin C... but why, exactly?
    Diet and Nutrition News & Advice