Thanksgiving IS a food holiday. The meal is the primary event.
The good news is that turkey is a healthy, lean protein. The bad news is that the side dishes can be filled with fat, sugar, and way too many calories.
The average Thanksgiving feast clocks in at about 3,000 calories. Many of them packed in the mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing.
But, with a little planning, you can fill your table with some easy Thanksgiving side dishes. And you can turn your leftovers into more healthy meals.
Just fix these healthy Thanksgiving sides using healthy Thanksgiving recipes from the LadyBoss® Pocket Personal Trainer.
Creamy Greek Yogurt Mashed Potatoes
My secret to the creamiest no-guilt thanksgiving potatoes? Greek yogurt!
3 pounds. Yukon gold potatoes
1 cup skim milk/fat-free milk
1 1/4 cups plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt
Freshly ground black pepper
- Peel potatoes and cut into small, even-sized cubes (about 1″ each). Place them in a large saucepan and cover with water. Sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil.
- As soon as the potatoes start to boil, turn heat to low, put a lid over the saucepan, and continue cooking for 18 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.
- Drain excess water and use a potato masher to mash the potatoes. Add milk and yogurt and continue mashing, mixing to combine. Season with salt and pepper before serving.
Twice Baked Potatoes
4 large baking potatoes
8 slices turkey bacon
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup almond milk
4 tablespoon coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup fat-free cheddar shredded
8 green onions
- Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake potatoes in the oven for 1 hour. Then let them cool for 10 minutes.
- Cook bacon slices over medium heat until no longer pink and edges are crisped to your liking. Once done and cooled, break into tiny pieces and set aside.
- Microwave coconut oil until liquid.
- Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the white centers into a large bowl. Be careful not to tear the skins and work slowly in order to save their shape.
- In the bowl of potato insides, add Greek yogurt, almond milk, melted coconut oil, sea salt, pepper, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, bacon, and 4 chopped green onions. Mix ingredients or blend until it becomes an evenly-creamy substance.
- One by one, spoon the potatoes back into the skins and top with remaining cheese and green onions.
- Bake in the oven for an additional 15 minutes.
- Broil for the last 2 minutes to let the tips of the potatoes crisp (optional).
Warm Sweet Potato Salad
I love this salad warm, straight from the oven, but it’s also good at room temperature or chilled. You can bulk it up with leafy greens or quinoa, put it in a wrap, or even top it with leftover lean turkey, fresh cranberry sauce and a little gravy.
3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed (about 2 pounds)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled feta (optional)
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley (optional)
FOR THE DRESSING:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground paprika
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400°. On a large rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes and red onion in oil then season with salt and pepper.
- Distribute sweet potatoes evenly on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes then transfer to a large bowl.
- Meanwhile, make the dressing: In a small bowl or in a medium liquid measuring cup, whisk together vinegar, mustard, honey, and spices. Gradually pour in oil, whisking constantly until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss sweet potatoes with dressing, cranberries, feta, and parsley. Serve warm, at room temperature or cool.
Cranberry Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
2 small to medium sweet potatoes, previously baked and hollowed out
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cranberries
- To bake and hollow out the sweet potatoes, liberally pierce each with a fork. Place on a microwave-safe plate and microwave on HIGH for 8-10 minutes, flipping the sweet potatoes upside down halfway through, or until fork-tender. Let them rest for 5-10 minutes before scraping out the insides, leaving a 1/4-inch border.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Place the 4 sweet potato halves skin side up, and lightly coat with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle with salt. Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes.
- While the sweet potato skins bake, prepare the filling. Lightly coat a large pan with nonstick cooking spray, and briefly, preheat over medium-low heat. Add the spinach, and sauté until it has wilted. Add in the cranberries.
- Flip over the sweet potato skins and divide the filling between them.
- Bake at 375°F for 5-7 minutes. Cool on the pan for 1-2 minutes before serving.
Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
1 small sweet potato, unpeeled, diced into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil
Fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup black beans
1/4 red pepper, diced
2 cups spinach
1 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Place the sweet potatoes in a bowl, add oil, and stir to coat. Sprinkle with a touch of pepper. Spread evenly on a pan, and roast for 20 or so minutes, stirring a couple of times, until the potatoes are soft.
- Place the quinoa and half a cup of water in a covered pot on high. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the liquid is all soaked up and the quinoa is tender.
- Allow the roasted potatoes and quinoa to cool to room temperature.
- Start layering the salad with quinoa, spinach, diced red pepper, greens, roasted sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and sunflower seeds.
- Mix salad and enjoy!
Rainbow Quinoa Salad
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups of water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shelled frozen edamame
3 medium carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
1/2 red pepper, diced
2 tablespoons Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- Place the quinoa and water in a covered pot. Heat on high until it boils. Lower the heat to low and cook for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa is soft and the water absorbed.
- Pour the quinoa into a medium-sized bowl, and mix in the frozen edamame, carrots, and peppers.
- Pour the Bragg’s Liquid Aminos over the quinoa and veggies and mix thoroughly.
- Enjoy immediately, or store in a covered container for later.
Healthy Green Vegetables
Including a green vegetable or two as one of your healthy Thanksgiving sides is a great option. Many people inadvertently wreck the health benefits of green vegetables by covering them in butter, cheese, or a creamy sauce.
Instead, sautée or roast your favorites — green beans, asparagus, spinach, zucchini, or brussels sprouts using olive oil or coconut oil using these healthy Thanksgiving recipes.
Smoky Pan-Roasted Green Beans with Crisp Almonds
This simple almond-shallot topping goes well with classic green beans. Pan-roast beans until they char slightly.
8 ounces green and/or wax beans, trimmed
¼ cup blanched whole almonds, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
1 large shallot or ¼ small onion, minced
1 tablespoon fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, thinly sliced or 1 teaspoon dried
Freshly ground black pepper
- Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and add salt (a teaspoon or so, or to taste). Fill a large bowl with ice and water. Add the green beans to the boiling water and cook until bright green but still firm, about 2 minutes. Drain and transfer to the ice water. When cool, drain again. Pat dry with paper towels until completely dry.
- Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the almonds and the oil, adding more oil if needed to just cover the almonds. Cook over medium heat until the almonds are golden, about 6 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the shallot. It will cook in the residual heat.
- Coat a large skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking. Add the beans and season with salt. Cook, tossing frequently, until charred dark brown in spots and tender-crisp, about 7 minutes.
- Top with the almond mixture, then the parsley. Grate the zest from a quarter of the lemon directly over the beans, then cut the lemon into wedges for serving. Season with pepper and serve.
1 pound asparagus
11/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
- Preheat oven to 425 F. Cut off the woody bottom part of the spears and throw away.
- Place asparagus on a foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil and Bragg’s. Sprinkle with ground pepper. Roll the asparagus around on the baking sheet until coated with oil and pepper.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how tender you want them.
2-4 cups of baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat skillet to medium heat. Add coconut oil. Once melted, add spinach.
- Cook uncovered, turning over until spinach has softened and is tender. Topping with ground pepper is optional.
Sautéed Zucchini Squash
2 pounds zucchini
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove
Fresh ground pepper
- Trim the stem ends of each zucchini. Cut in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into slices about 1/2 inch thick.
- In a large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and golden, about 2 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 5 minutes.
- Season with ground pepper.
Fill Up On The Good Stuff
Load up your plate with turkey and these healthy Thanksgiving sides. Then you won’t have to feel guilty if you decide to indulge in a piece of your favorite pie.
Or, better still, whip up this healthy pumpkin pie cheesecake.
Kaelin’s No-Bake LadyBoss® LEAN Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
A simple, high protein pumpkin pie cheesecake filling inside a reduced-fat, ready-made graham cracker crust. This no-bake pumpkin pie cheesecake recipe combines 6 simple ingredients to create a super creamy filling that’s high protein, low fat, and delicious. Seriously, you’ll never believe a cheesecake this creamy has just 5 grams of fat per slice!
15 ounce can pumpkin
8 ounces fat-free or reduced-fat cream cheese (room temperature or softened)
3 scoops LadyBoss® LEAN vanilla protein powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar substitute
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 cup fat-free Cool Whip
1 9-inch reduced-fat graham cracker crust
- Mix the protein powder, sugar substitute, and pumpkin pie spice together in a large bowl before adding the pumpkin and cream cheese. Mix until smooth.
- Fold in Cool Whip and pour into the pie crust. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the top to the edges. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, ideally overnight.
If you’re joining family or friends for the feast, you can bring one or two of these easy, stress-free, Thanksgiving side dishes.
Who knows you may even win over a few new converts to the LadyBoss® Lifestyle.
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