Planning a healthy Thanksgiving meal just doesn’t sound tasty, right? I mean, what about the pumpkin pies, candied yams, mashed potatoes, & stuffing! S T U F F I N G. *I just drooled a little*
I know Thanksgiving is more than just food…but is it though? Just kidding.
Here’s the thing, I’ve been doing really good with cutting the sugar & limiting my carbs. I feel great & I’m seeing positive results. I don’t want to throw that away on a weekend of binging–because let’s be honest, it doesn’t end with Thanksgiving dinner. Which is how I’ve found myself in this predicament: planning a healthy, almost sugar-free Thanksgiving dinner. It’s easier to accomplish because Andrew & I are staying home this year–just the two of us. So I control what goes on the table–controlling what cheats end up on my plate.
And there will be cheats. The point is to not go overboard & eat all the cheats–just a few because it is Thanksgiving, after all.
With that said, I won’t be making every single recipe below. But I did want to include all my favorite, healthy recipes to inspire you with your own meal planning–if you are in fact, wanting to dabble in some lighter options this week. If you like a recipe, simply click on the photo to open up the recipe page in another tab.
Paleo Pumpkin Coffee Cake by Jay’s Baking Me Crazy
Um, yes! So much yes. This is the perfect way to satisfy that sweet tooth & kick off your “Turkey Day.”
Aromatic Lemon, Apple, & Herb Turkey by Tangled with Taste
This is a perfect blend of citrus & herb for a truly savory turkey. *Tip* I always skip the brining unless you’re cooking a wild turkey, brining can make a store bought turkey too salty annnnnnd salt & sugar ain’t that good for you anyway.
Whole 30 Turkey Breast & Gravy by 40 Aprons
I love that this recipe is extremely simple, the only “unique” ingredients are located in the gravy–which bonus, is completely optional. This recipe is technically based on using turkey breast, so you can either modify or make a perfect 2-4 person meal.
Citrus Herb Roasted Turkey by Publix
A lot of herbs & fruit = perfection. I like that this recipe use chicken broth & minimal butter. I’m not opposed to using small amounts of butter but you can easily substitute ghee if you prefer.
Cornbread Dressing/Thanksgiving Stuffing by Cook Eat Paleo
This is about as close as you’ll get to the real thing on the healthy side. This is the only recipe that I’ve found to actually incorporate bread–so I’m going on record to say this is pure genius. *Side Note* Another way to reach a happy compromise on your stuffing is to utilize sprouted bread (Aldi’s Brand or Ezekiel Bread) instead of say, Texas Toast.
Sweet Potato Unstuffing by the Real Food Dietitians
I think that this is such a creative spin on traditional stuffing, chock full of great ingredients for your body. Do I think that it takes the place of traditional stuffing, probably not. But it does fulfill that craving.
Best Paleo Stuffing by 40 Aprons
IMO, this stuff actually looks more like stuffing and what I love about it is that they play up on the ingredients that are already in stuffing like celery & onion. Coating the mixture in almond flour to provide a “bready taste” is so smart!
Best Ever Paleo Stuffing by Zen Belly
You know, everybody claims to be the best but I think it’s up to personal preference. This recipe actually uses ground pork to provide that savory, filling taste. Plus it’s pretty! You eat first with the eyes, right?
Whole 30 Mashed Potatoes by Perchance to Cook
This is an excellent recipe for “real” mashed potatoes, only making substitutes for the less healthy items that go in them. The ingredients are simple & easy to find. *Side Note* I plan to make real mashed potatoes similar to this recipe, but adding in a KitchenAid mixer for a really smooth finish & whole milk (supposed to be edible for those with lactose intolerance–we’re giving it a whirl) instead of almond milk. I never eat mashed potatoes, so this is one of my middle of the road healthy items.
Instant Pot Garlic Rosemary Cauliflower Potato Hash by Little Bits Of Real Food & Real Talk
This is such an awesome recipe–going halfsies with cauliflower & potatoes. It’s super simple, instant pot ready–so you can mix it up & forget about it. It’s a perfect middle ground for mashed potatoes.
Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan-Date Topping by 40 Aprons
OK, this just looks like everything that I want to eat on Thanksgiving. Healthy pantry wise, the ingredients aren’t abnormal to have on hand. I’m fairly certain that this will cure your Candied Yam woes.
Whole 30 Green Bean Casserole by 40 Aprons
This is about as close as you’ll get to an authentic Green Bean Casserole. Included in the recipe, you make your own Cream of Mushroom soup so you know that it’s not processed & you can skip the mushrooms if you’re like me, hating mushrooms.
Roasted Carrots by the Pioneer Woman
Made these for Thanksgiving last year–and yes. So much yes. It’s so simple & tasty–a pure, unadulterated carrot recipe. Consider it an herb version of your traditional glazed carrots.
Stuffed Squash with Sausage & Apple by A Calculated Whisk
In recent years, squash has gone from “ew” to “pantry staple.” This is such a tasty, healthy, filling side for your Thanksgiving dinner. Perhaps you could even go so far as to nix the stuffing and serve this instead? Daring, I know.
Roasted Butternut Squash with Pine Nuts & Parmesan by The Pioneer Woman
What would Thanksgiving be without a Pioneer Woman recipe? Ree Drummond is my spirit animal…other than Joanna Gaines of course. This is one of her lighter recipes than can be enjoyed on a healthified Thanksgiving.
GRAVY & SAUCE
Easy Paleo Gravy by Cook Eat Paleo
It’s so dang hard to find a decent & delicious gravy that doesn’t contain all the unhealthy things. I think it’s so creative to use diced cauliflower to thicken the gravy. *Side Note* I think that you could easily make your own gravy from drippings by simply substituting your flours–use that Gluten Free All-Purpose, no better time than the present!
Three Ingredient Cranberry Sauce by Cook Eat Paleo
Personally, I’m not a huge Cranberry Sauce fan but for those who HAVE TO HAVE IT, this is a perfect & easy solution.
Paleo Pumpkin Pie by Cook Eat Paleo
What Thanksgiving table would be complete without Pumpkin Pie? Always my personal favorite. This is such a tasty spin on a traditional dish–with very high standards. Be sure to make the Whipped Coconut Cream to top it off. Yum!
Turkey Pot Pie Soup by Ancestral Nutrition
What a tasty way to use up those leftovers! Especially in such a comfort-food-friendly recipe.
Of course, these are only a few recipes in the great abyss of the internet, so do your own research if you have a minute.
Here are a few other links to get you started.
Well, that’s the bottom of my “healthy Thanksgiving tricks” bag.
Now to get to the store before the insanity starts!
What are you meal plans? Healthy? Not so much? In between?
Thanks for stopping by the blog today–hope you found one new, healthy recipe to try! xx