7 Smart Side Dishes for a Healthy Thanksgiving – MSR News Online

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Thanksgiving is one of the most widely beloved American traditions. Not only does it bring families together to be mindful of their blessings, but it allows for one of the biggest feasts of the year. From the green bean casserole to mashed potatoes to yams, cranberry sauce, deviled eggs, and turkey (of course!), this meal includes all the popular classics that are highly anticipated each year. Thanksgiving is also known for its stuffing, although that usually refers to what you put in the turkey and how you feel after your meal—all part of the experience!

However, if you’re looking for some nutritious side dishes to go hand in hand with your turkey, you’ve come to the right place. There are plenty of healthy ways to enjoy a healthy holiday, from ingredient substitutes in your favorite dishes to newly beloved meal traditions.

Mashed Cauliflower

Mashed potatoes are a must in any Thanksgiving spread. However, these starches can be high in carbs and calories. Luckily, cauliflower (when mashed) is almost indistinguishable from a classic mashed side. Not only will this save you a spike in blood sugar, but it will sneakily provide your daily serving of vegetables, all while disguised as your favorite potato. These can be dressed up to your liking, with butter and classic additions like green onions, gravy, garlic, and seasonings. This recipe takes a total of 20 minutes to make and serves about four people, though it is easily doubled.

Roasted Parmesan Zucchini


Although this summer squash may not be incredibly popular in your Thanksgiving lineup, it’s perfect for sharing, adding more vegetables into your holiday feast, and for keeping up the warm, roasted theme of other classic side dishes. This dish takes 30 minutes total for both preparation and cooking time. Additionally, the ingredients are most likely already in your pantry—so, if you need a healthy dish quickly, this is the side for you. These spear-like zucchini slices are just 77 calories with low sugar and carbs.

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Keto Cranberry Sauce

For those who are keto-friendly, this cranberry sauce is the perfect quick dish to bring to your family’s holiday celebration. Not only is this dish finished in under 15 minutes, but it is virtually identical to the regular cranberry sauce. This dish can be as tart or mild as you prefer, depending on whether or not you add teaspoons of water (as many as you would like to reach your desired flavor). It’s a perfect low-calorie, low-carb side dish to pair with your favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Patty Pan Squash

Fall is the perfect time for squash-related dishes. This patty pan recipe has a mellow flavor but allows for infinite personalization with your favorite spices. Delish recommends garlic, thyme, and other common spices to add your own personal twist. This meal takes 30 minutes to cook and prepare and yields servings for about four people. It’s easily paired with your turkey entrée and any savory side you have prepared. Plus, this dish adds valuable nutrition to your meal, all while making it look more appealing by adding more color to your plate’s spread.


Grilled Leeks with Brown Butter and Spiced Hazelnuts

Although not well known, this side dish will leave you with more room to try everything on your Thanksgiving array guilt-free. With its sweet and savory palette, you can pair it perfectly with your seasoned entrée. Featured on Healthy-ish, this recipe boasts a 4.5-star rating along with an abundance of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that will serve a total of 8-10 people.

Beet and Apple Salad

To add a bit of sweet flavoring to your plate pile-up, try beet and apple salad. Though we can’t promise bears and Battlestar Galactica, this recipe will be un-beet-able! This recipe takes a total of 2 hours and 15 minutes and has a yield of eight servings. As a sweet yet low-calorie option, this will satisfy your sugar cravings, as well as add color and variety to your plate.

Whether you’re looking for a healthy spin on a classic Thanksgiving side dish or want to try something new, one of these recipes is sure to fit the bill.


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