These healthy Thanksgiving recipes have all the flavor of the originals (with room for pie!)
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Or rather dressing, since this is prepared outside of the turkey. Making a few simple swaps to any classic recipe is easier than people would imagine, and doing so reduces fat and calories, and often boosts taste! With this Healthified Thanksgiving Stuffing, we replaced meat broth with vegetable, pork sausage with turkey, dried cranberries with fresh cranberries, and store-bought white bread with baked whole-grain bread. The result: A moist, flavorful addition to the holiday spread.
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When it comes to the white meat vs. dark meat debate, eat what you want! The nutritional differences are negligible. It’s in preparation of the bird where you can be mindful and trim some calories. A deep-fried serving of turkey breast has about 25 calories more than its roasted counterpart. You’ll save 50 calories if you have that same serving of skinless roasted turkey breast instead of the fried. And if you’re going back for seconds or leftovers, those calories add up.
The Sweet Potatoes
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The sweet potato is one of the most nutritious foods on the entire table, and also the one we do the most diet-crushing damage to. Don't bury that root in butter, brown sugar, and marshmallows. Instead, simply bake the sweet potatoes and serve as is. They bake up in 45 minutes, sweet, moist, and fluffy—the perfect complement to turkey and stuffing. Traditional sweet potato casserole has 300 calories; a medium baked sweet potato has 100 calories. You just saved enough to top it with a little butter and pinch of brown sugar! (This also saves 40 calories off a serving of mashed potatoes and gravy.)
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Another super food that gets obliterated at Thanksgiving is the tart and perfect cranberry. Whether you like the gel in the can or the real deal, you’re in for a heavy dose of sugar. Make your cranberry sauce from scratch and sweeten with natural flavor agents like honey, orange zest, and apple juice, like this Sugarless Cranberry Sauce recipe.
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Speaking of pie...pumpkin pie may be more longed-for at Thanksgiving than the turkey itself. Pumpkin is an inherently healthy food with so much goodness it’s considered a super food. So stay as true to the pumpkin as you can: Go easy on added sugar and butter in homemade pie, and ditch the store-bought filling. Mini pies help manage servings for your favorite traditional recipe; and alternatives like this “creamiest ever” version use cleaner ingredients.