Wellness Challenge: Healthy Thanksgiving Swaps

thanksgiving table

thanksgiving table

Who has their stretchy pants ready to go for Thanksgiving? Moi, that’s for sure! Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days – not only because of the food – but also because it’s the start of all the holiday festivities with family and friends. Last year I ate a little too much (I mean, who doesn’t?), and I felt horrible for a few days following the big feast. I’m not used to eating such heavy foods on a regular basis, so my body just wasn’t having it. To avoid the same thing happening this year, and because I want to be kind to my growing bebe, I’m going to try out some healthier alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving staples.

Here are a few things I’m planning on swapping:

Mashed potatoes – Loaded with carbs and fat, mashed potatoes are anything but healthy. I’m going to try lightening up this classic side dish by swapping it for low-carb mashed cauliflower, and using olive oil and ghee instead of butter.

Green bean casserole – Don’t let the fact that its name has a vegetable in it deceive you – the traditional green bean casserole is loaded with processed ingredients (like canned soup). This year, I’m swapping my casserole for roasted brussel sprouts and butternut squash instead. I’m even going to garnish the dish with some pomegranate seeds to make it look more festive!

Canned cranberry sauce – This one’s been a staple in my family for as long as I can remember, but there’s nothing nutritious about it. Canned cranberry might look picturesque on the thanksgiving table, but it’s filled with processed sugar and preservatives. I’m going to swap it for fresh, home-made cranberry sauce by simply simmering fresh cranberries with some raw sugar and orange juice. Delish!

Wine – A total classic on any holiday table is a good bottle (or three) of wine. This year, I’ll be skipping my usual red wine for obvious reasons (thanks to baby), but I can’t wait to try subbing for a healthy non-alcoholic drink. A great alternative is cranberry kombucha served in a wine glass and poured over ice. The probiotics and amino acids in the kombucha will be perfect for helping your body digest all of the heavier foods.

Challenge: Try a healthy swap

This week, I challenge you to make a list of the things you and your family typically make and serve for Thanksgiving. After you’re done, go through the list and pick at least one thing that you can swap for something healthier.

I realize it can be hard to switch up all of your family’s most coveted dishes, so don’t feel like you have to go overboard and make a healthy swap for every single dish on the table. Start small, and ease yourself and your family into it. Maybe you can even make it a family tradition to make one healthy swap each year, and in a few years, you’ll have a table full of healthy options (that’s my goal, at least)!

Have you come across any healthier Thanksgiving recipes that you’re excited to try out this year? I’m always looking for new ideas, so please share!

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  1. Love this post! It’s really so easy to make Thanksgiving nutritious yet still delicious. I’ve been making Honey Sweetened Cranberry Sauce and Gluten-Free Pumpkin Tarts for years along with my new favorite, Turkey and Cranberry Sweet Potato Toast. Recipes on the food section of my blog http://www.prettylitteshoppers.com. Let me know what you think if you try anything and wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!



  2. Being Chinese, my family’s never been all that into traditional western Thanksgiving dishes. For special get-together meals we do hotpot at home: Bring flavoured broth to a simmering boil and quickly cook thin slices of meat, veggies, tofu, fish, etc. in the broth. You have special dipping sauces on the side. Everyone is gathered together for a meal and you can eat as much or as little as you want, or just eat veggies and lean protein if that floats your boat. It still feels like a special occasion because it’s not something you do everyday, but it doesn’t leave you feeling greasy or sit heavy in your stomach.

  3. I have no problem indulging during the holidays, but it doesn’t hurt to make some healthy swaps! These were some great suggestions. I will also be making roasted brussel sprouts this Thanksgiving. Instead of green bean casserole, I like to sauté green beans in olive oil and garlic. Yum!

    Mia | http://www.verymuchmia.com

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