5 Ideas for Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Holidays like Thanksgiving can be tough to navigate when you’re dieting or following one of our easy weight loss programs. The good news is, there are always tips and tricks for enjoying holiday meals without derailing your weight loss results. If you incorporate a lighter take on traditional sides, you can indulge with less guilt and still enjoy your holiday meal. By providing healthy options at Thanksgiving dinner, you can cut down calories and give nutrients greater focus.

Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner or bringing a dish as a guest, these ideas for healthy sides can make a big difference. Stay on track by serving one or more!

1. Switch up the Greens

Antioxidant-rich roasted Brussels sprouts are a perfect alternative to the more fattening green bean casserole many serve. Roast them simply with olive oil and herbs and you’ll have a zesty side loaded with fiber to fill you up. Steamed spinach with garlic is another good way to get wide-ranging antioxidants into your Thanksgiving meal. 

2. Mix Up the Mash

Mashed cauliflower contains significantly less fat and calories than potatoes. Califlower is an excellent source of fiber, choline and important vitamins like C and K. Add garlic and herbs while you mash it to boost flavor and antioxidant content. 

3. Make Grain-Based Stuffing

A popular take on stuffing that contains less simple carbs is a version made with quinoa. There are many recipes that blend items like butternut squash and apple for a sweet version, while other add mushrooms, kale and nuts for savory flavor. Quinoa stuffing provides an excellent source of plant-based protein, while traditional versions are based on bread with a high carb content. Quinoa is also rich in fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese and lysine.

4. Swap Yams for Squash

A great way to cut down on fat and sugar at Thanksgiving is to serve butternut squash instead of candied yams or a sweet potato casserole.  Butternut squash is low fat yet loaded with fiber, potassium and antioxidants like beta-carotene. Mash it with cinnamon and extra virgin olive oil or drizzle aged balsamic vinegar over roasted squash.

5. Serve Salad

An excellent way to curb hunger so you don't overeat is to serve a fiber-rich salad to start the meal. Go with an autumn-theme to fit the meal. 

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