Texas Living

Smart Switches for Traditional T-Day Dishes

By M. Elise Giller 11.16.15

Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season, but if you’re not careful, it can also mean an expanding waistline. That’s because the holidays have become synonymous with heavy, carbohydrate-laden foods as much as celebrating with family. But giving thanks doesn’t have to mean feeling weighed down. Here are a few tasty yet healthy variations on the classic American meal.

Instead of green bean casserole, try … sautéing fresh green beans and cremini mushrooms in olive oil with chopped garlic and shallots. Then top with toasted panko breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan for a lightened-up yet still savory version of this staple side dish.

Instead of bread stuffing, try … roasting root vegetables like potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, and onions with celery, apples, dried cranberries, and fresh sage in the oven at a high temperature. Or use whole grains like quinoa, farro, or brown rice instead of breadcrumbs to make a delightful grain salad to complement the roasted turkey. Add dried cranberries, oranges, and fresh herbs to brighten things up too.

Instead of traditional sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, try … using coconut oil instead of butter and topping it with a mixture of brown sugar, pecans, and oats for a crunchy crust. Or replace the sugar with honey, maple syrup, or another natural sweetener for a healthier treat.

Instead of pumpkin pie, try … making a pumpkin custard with milk, eggs, agave syrup or maple syrup, pumpkin pie spice, and pumpkin puree. It’s so delicious you won’t miss the crust! Alternatively, try making lightened-up pumpkin-banana bars (flour, pumpkin puree, mashed bananas, pumpkin pie spice, eggs, and baking powder) with cream cheese frosting.

Prep for your next shindig with tips from our Secrets of a Great Hostess Pinterest board.