4 Healthy Holiday Side Dish Swaps

healthy thanksgiving
Written by Ron Martin
clock-line icon
3 minutes

The holiday season is filled with abundance — family, friends, and food. Indulgence is part of these celebrations, which means we’re often reminded to watch our waistlines and limit our portions. However, in keeping with the holiday spirit, these healthy swaps for Thanksgiving side dishes allow you to enjoy your overflowing plate rather than dampen the mood with plain turkey and steamed, undressed vegetables.

Greens Don’t Need Cream To Taste Great

Green bean casserole is a staple on countless Thanksgiving tables, and for good reason. The subtle sweetness of the beans, the crunch of fried onions, and smooth tang of cream of mushroom soup mix into a delectable combination. While delicious, it’s also a heavy dish that leaves little room in your stomach for other sides. Instead, a broccoli-bacon salad hits the same marks with less bulk. Dried cranberries introduce some sweet to the bacon’s savory, a creamy dressing of reduced-fat mayonnaise and sour cream replaces mushroom soup, and broccoli maintains the crunch you love in your casserole.

Sweet Potatoes Are Already Sweet

Side dishes that fit nicely into baking dishes are popular Thanksgiving add-ons. They require less prep and even fewer dishes, and sweet potato casserole and pie is one of them. But this recipe often adds brown sugar and marshmallows to a vegetable that already tastes like candy. Roasting these orange spuds requires less work than a casserole — cut them into wedges and toss with a capful of oil. And if your sweet tooth can’t wait for dessert, the balsamic-drizzle on this dish is as satisfying as a cup of brown sugar.

Don’t Stuff Yourself

Stuffing, made with cubes of bread saturated with stock, oil, and add-ons like sausage and apples, is the unsung hero for the Thanksgiving table, but it’s also the most likely to cause your buttons to pop off. To avoid embarrassing yourself in front of the family you only see once a year, these tomato-and-olive stuffed portobello mushroom caps offer the same texture and mix of flavors as stuffing without the pants-busting side effect.

“Just A Sliver” Of Pie Always Leaves You Wanting More

If you’ve found yourself replying, “just a sliver,” in response to an offer of pecan or apple pie, you’re not alone. However, when you have room, and a craving, for a full slice, depriving yourself of what you want can lead to a late-night cookie jar binge. Instead of teasing your tastebuds with a miniature portion of rich, buttery pie, enjoy a full serving of this old-fashioned fruit crumble, the younger cousin of pie. The recipe uses less oil to achieve a similarly buttery “crust” from rolled oats and finds most of its sugar from a mix of berries instead of sugar or maple syrup.

Holidays don’t need to be a lesson in self-control. By swapping some of your richer side dishes for healthier options, you can spend less time counting how many forkfuls of casserole you took and focus on the abundance of riches sitting at your dinner table.

Want even more healthy recipes? Download our cookbook today!
Written by:

Ron Martin

Director of Marketing

Ron Martin is the Director of Marketing at Kaneka Ubiquinol. Ron’s dedication to lifelong learning and belief that “one cannot know too much” inspired a decades-long career centered around educating the public about health.

As seen in:

  • ABC Logo
  • The Dr. OZ Show Logo
  • Fox Logo
  • Whole Foods Magazine Logo
  • CBS Logo