5 Healthy Side Dishes to Add to your Thanksgiving Plate

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! While this holiday is a day to feel grateful and happy for friends and family, it may cause stress in the kitchen. Many Thanksgiving dishes can be high in fat, sugar, and sodium. It is important to enjoy your meal on Thanksgiving, however, here are healthy side dish options to balance out your plate on Thanksgiving! This will help you be full and satisfied while also staying on track with your goals.

  1. Roasted Delicata Squash Half Moons
    1. Delicata squash is fresh and in season in the fall and is the perfect side dish to go with the turkey! Delicata squash has a good amount of fiber to aid with smooth digestion. It is also a great source of micronutrients including: iron, vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium.
    2. Delicata has a sweet, buttery flavor that caramelizes well when roasted in the oven!
      1. Ingredients: Delicata squash, salt, pepper, olive oil or canola oil, and cayenne powder if you like a little heat!
      2. Instructions:
        1. Wash your delicata squash with water and dry
        2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
        3. Prep your squash by cutting ends off to create two flat edges. Cut in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds in the middle with a spoon.
        4. Cut into ¼ to ½ inch slices (should resemble half moons). Rub with olive oil or spray with canola oil. Ensure that both sides are coated.
        5. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and cayenne.
        6. Place parchment paper onto baking sheet. Add squash in a single layer.
        7. Roast for 15 minutes and flip each slice over. Roast for another 15 minutes or until golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  2. Roasted Carrots with Lemon & Rosemary
    1. My family makes this recipe every year for Thanksgiving. It is warm, flavorful, and adds nutrients to the plate. The best part is that this dish is very simple to make. That way you can focus on other my time-consuming parts of the Thanksgiving meal!
    2. Carrots are naturally lower in calories but loaded with micronutrients. These include vitamin A, vitamin K, and fiber.
      1. Ingredients: 1 ½ pound medium size carrots, 2 TB of olive oil, 1 lemon (halved and sliced), 3 to 4 sprigs of fresh rosemary (dried is okay in a pinch), salt and pepper
      2. Instructions:
        1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F
        2. Half each carrot lengthwise
        3. Toss on rimmed baking sheet with olive oil drizzled on top. Add lemon slices and rosemary springs.
        4. Roast for 25 minutes. Be sure to stir carrots and lemons on pan a couple times while baking.
        5. This recipe also works well with thyme sprigs and seasoning instead of rosemary!
  3. Fall Fresh Pear Salad
    1. A variety of pears are in season during the fall! Pears can be used in desserts, appetizers, or in side dishes.
    2. Pears are low in calories, high in water, and packed with fiber, making pears a great snack for weight loss or for weight maintenance. Pears are also high in antioxidants, folate, and potassium.
    3. This recipe can be tailored to your personal taste preferences! Pears make a great topper to a variety of salad options. Here is my personal favorite:
      1. Ingredients: massaged kale (wash and rinse kale, massage it softly with your hands), feta crumbles, dried cranberries, walnuts, pear slices, balsamic vinaigrette
      2. Instructions:
        1. Massage your kale and add salt and pepper to taste if going light on the salad dressing
        2. Add toppings to preference
  4. Balsamic Brussel Sprouts
    1. Brussel Sprouts add some green to your Thanksgiving plate! They are a great source of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K.
    2. Roasting brussels sprouts allows them to get a crunchy texture with a rich flavor.
      1. Ingredients: 1 ½ pounds of fresh brussels sprouts (trimmed and cut in half), ¼ cup of olive oil, 1 TB balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste
      2. Instructions:
        1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
        2. Place brussels sprouts on baking sheet
        3. Add olive oil, salt, and pepper, shake around tray and mix, spread sprouts around tray
        4. Roast the sprouts in the oven 20 to 30 minutes. Toss once during roasting.
        5. Remove from oven and immediately drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
        6. Serve hot.
  5. Healthier Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes
    1. If you are interested in making a classic side dish, but want a healthier version, this recipe is for you! Indulge in mashed potatoes with less guilt.
      1. Ingredients: 3 pounds Yukon potatoes (cut into cubes), 4 TB of butter (cut in pieces), ½ cup low-fat buttermilk, salt and pepper to taste
      2. Instructions:
        1. Pour in 1 cup of water and add potatoes into a multicooker. Close and lock the lid.
        2. Cook at high pressure for 10 minutes. Release the pressure and carefully remove the trivet.
        3. Return the potatoes to the multicooker and add butter, salt and pepper.
        4. Mash with a potato masher until the butter is melted. Add buttermilk and continue mashing until desired consistency.

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