Healthy Alternatives To Thanksgiving Staples

Sunrise Senior Living  |  November 25, 2015
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Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, often involving family recipes and special twists. However, some staple dishes may come with hidden calories. Slight changes can make your favorite foods a little healthier and possibly a bit tastier as well.

Everyone has their favorite Thanksgiving traditions, often involving family recipes and special twists. However, some staple dishes may come with hidden calories. Making slight changes to your favorite recipes can make them a little healthier and possibly a bit tastier as well.

Here are some twists on Thanksgiving mainstays that can help make your meal more healthy.

Glazed Sweet Potatoes
This delicious alternative to traditional candied yams will add an element of sweetness to your Thanksgiving without over-doing it on the sugar.

Ingredients

  • 5 sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. butter spread
  • 2/3 cup apricot nectar

Directions

First, preheat the oven to 350 F.  Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water so that they are submerged by 2 inches. Boil the water and cook potatoes until tender, usually 20-25 minutes. Next, cover an appropriately sized baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Once the potatoes have cooled, peel and cut into 1/2 inch slices before placing in baking dish.

Combine the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat for one minute. Stir mixture so that it thickens and pour over sweet potatoes once finished. Then bake the entire dish for 30 minutes. You may consider topping your sweet potatoes with walnuts or brown sugar!

Low-fat Turkey Gravy
Gravy is a Thanksgiving tradition, but try this recipe to make it a little more healthy.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups unsalted turkey stock, divided
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • A dash of salt

Directions

Place the turkey roasting pan over medium heat. Add 2 cups of turkey stock and stir until droppings and browned bits dissolve, usually about 5 minutes. Over a fat cup, pour pan drippings through a strainer. Add the remaining turkey stock.

Return the saucepan to the stove and bring contents to a simmer. Add the chopped sage and thyme. Keep pan over medium heat until about three cups of stock remain. 

Add milk and cornstarch to a small bowl and mix evenly. Slowly pour the mixture into the simmering stock while stirring. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir until stock has thickened. This usually takes three to five minutes, or until the contents have a nice shine. Pour your gravy into a gravy boat and enjoy!

High Fiber Apple Pie
No Thanksgiving dinner would be complete without a homemade dessert. Yet your favorite pies, cakes and other treats, can be trouble for anyone on a diet. For an option that is a little healthier but still a crowd-pleaser, here's a new take on a classic.

Ingredients

Pie crust

  • 1 cup dry rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 Tbsp. water
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds

Filling

  • 4 large apples sliced and peeled (about 6 cups)
  • 1/3 cup frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 Tbsp. quick-cook tapioca

Directions

Preheat oven to 425 F. Mix dry pie crust ingredients in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, stir oil and water with a whisk. Combine and mix until dough stays together, adding water as needed. Press dough into a 9 inch pie plate and set aside.

Combine filling ingredients in a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir and spoon the mixture into the pie crust. Bake for 15 minutes, reduce heat to 350 F and bake for an additional 40 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

With this recipe, one serving of pie has four grams of dietary fiber as well as four grams of protein. And one serving will have just three grams of sugar and only 204 calories. If you can manage to resist the whipped cream, this apple pie recipe is the perfect solution to keeping your Thanksgiving dessert healthier.