10 Wholesome Twists on Traditional Thanksgiving Recipes, Based on Dietitians — Eat This Not That


Thanksgiving is a home cooking time that we’ve enjoyed since we were little on the last Thursday in November. From pumpkin pie to mac and cheese, the menu doesn’t vary from year to year and we can always rely on our classic favorites.

Trying to eat healthily over the holidays will still allow you to enjoy your favorite dishes and keep up your efforts. You don’t have to skip your favorite pages or go for fat-free and tasteless alternatives. By incorporating some dietitian-recognized healthy twists in the preparation of your dishes, you can reduce calories and add nutritional value to your favorite foods without compromising the taste.

So, put on your best cooking apron, preheat your oven, and try some of these healthy twists on classic Thanksgiving recipes that taste just as good as what your grandma used to make. Read on, and for more on how to eat healthily, don’t miss out on 10 Ways to Stay Healthy on Thanksgiving, according to nutritionists.


We all know that adding ingredients like sausage or oysters can take a filling recipe to the next level. But a lesser-known filling ingredient, the humble plum, can add satisfying flavor to the classic side dish, as well as offering some nutritional benefits.

Also known as “the feel-good fruit,” plums contain a combination of fiber and phenolic compounds that aid digestive health. And prunes are a natural source of potassium, a nutrient that many Americans don’t eat enough of.

Just add your prunes to your filling mixture before baking. (I’m a fan of Sunsweet Amaz! N plums.) The end result will be a completely satisfying and surprising side dish that will be devoured in no time.

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No, we’re not taking away your beloved candied sweet potatoes. But we suggest that you add a not-so-secret ingredient to your traditional side that is a typical fall food that has a host of health benefits: cranberries.

Simply sprinkling cranberries on your candied yams dish before baking it can add satisfactory acidity to the dish, along with some important health benefits.

In fact, a naturally occurring component in cranberries called proanthocyanidins (or PACs) can play a role in supporting intestinal health. In a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, the results found that consuming cranberry juice containing 44 milligrams of PAC per 240 milliliters twice a day for eight weeks resulted in a 20 percent reduction in H. pylori infection rate in Chinese adults compared to those who consumed less juice and a placebo. H. pylori infection is the primary identified cause of gastric cancer while other major risk factors include chronic gastritis, high-salt diets, and chemical carcinogens.


From cakes to biscuits to cakes, the sweet treats are the perfect way to end any Thanksgiving dinner. To add a little sweetness to your dishes without adding extra calories or a possible spike in blood sugar, use allulose instead of your regular household sugar when preparing your classic recipes. Not only do you get a similarly sweet taste to sugar, but you also get much fewer calories (0.4 calories per gram vs. 4 calories per gram) and no risk of high blood sugar after consuming it, thanks for the body does not recognize it as sugar.

Allulose is 70% as sweet as table sugar, so people are often content with trading 1 1/3 cup of allulose for their 1 cup of sugar. Of course, you can also try other non-nutritious sweeteners depending on your taste.


Skipping dessert over Thanksgiving is and shouldn’t be an option for many people. Between the must-have pumpkin pie and the cozy apple delicacies, something sweet cannot be missing after a meal.

Classic pie crusts, while tasty, can be loaded with saturated fats and calories, but they don’t offer many nutritional benefits. For easy swapping without sacrificing taste, make a nut-based pie crust out of crushed walnuts, pecans, or pistachios, butter, and a hint of sugar (if desired). Chop all ingredients in a food processor, press into a cake tin and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. From there, you can fill yourself up with any cake your heart desires, and you can feel good knowing that your dessert now has a boost of healthy fats and vegetable proteins that the classic version can’t match.

TIED TOGETHER: Secret Side Effects of Eating Walnuts, Says Dietitian

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Adding a can of drained white kidney beans to mashed potatoes is one trick that does Brynn McDowell, RDN, registered dieter, includes in her Thanksgiving preparation. She explains that this addition “adds a little extra protein and fiber to her dish and no one ever notices the addition”.

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Did you know that removing the peel of your potato also removes 50% of the fiber these super spuds can provide?

Chrissy Badaracco, MPH, RD, LD, Registered Dietitian, recommends leaving the skin on the potatoes before mashing them for an easy way to preserve this important nutrient in this classic dish.

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Using silken tofu in a pumpkin pie recipe is one tip that Jinan Banna, PhD, RD, registered nutritionist, loves to recommend. “This is a great way to add fiber, vitamins and minerals, and protein to your dessert.”

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Green bean casserole and fried onions go hand in hand. But would you believe that topping your classic casserole with whole wheat bread crumbs can result in a super-filling dish that is far fewer calories and fat than the OG version.

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“One easy way to reduce saturated fat in cakes is to choose an open cake instead of a double crust. Most of the fats in fruit-filled cakes are in the crust, not the filling,” says Bri Bell, RD, a registered nutritionist at Frugalminimalistkitchen.com.

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100% pure maple syrup gives many dishes a classic autumn flavor. And if you rely on it instead of table sugar in recipes like cranberry sauce, you get some antioxidants and micronutrients that classic recipes don’t. Usually people use a 1: 1 ratio swap when using 100% pure maple syrup instead of table sugar.

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