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Healthy Alternatives For Thanksgiving Staples

Thanksgiving is all about comfort food. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes… this meal is easily one of the most coveted meals of the year for most Americans. Just because T-day is chock full of starchy favorites does not mean that it has to be unhealthy. Consider including these delicious- and healthy- recipes on your family’s table this turkey day.


Mashed Potatoes Alternative: Slow Cooker Spiced Sweet Potato & Carrot Mash


Why we love it: Admittedly, this isn’t 100% guilt free. However, you can’t beat the benefits of sweet potatoes and carrots! Sweet Potatoes are fat-free; low in sodium; and high in vitamins, thiamin, niacin, riboflavin, and carotenoids. Add carrots and you’re packing in the beta-carotene, fiber, and a host of other vitamins and minerals. Plus, making use of your slow-cooker will free up much needed space in your kitchen!

Ingredients (6 servings)

  • 6 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into cubes
  • Maple sugar or agave to taste
  • 1/8 cup heavy cream (add more if needed)
  • 3/4 cup Flax Milk, plus more as needed
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Kosher salt to taste


  1. Combine milk, cream, sweetner of choice, cinnamon, and butter in slow cooker bowl. Stir in cut potatoes and carrots, plus a dash of salt.
  2. Cover and cook on lowest setting that your time permits (at least 6 hours), until potatoes are tender.
  3. Use a hand mixer on medium speed to begin whipping potatoes and adjust milk/cream and sweeter/salt to taste. Mix to a creamy texture, but be careful not to over mix.

Recipe modified from Serious Eats; image courtesy of Serious Eats.


Cranberry Sauce Alternative: Basil Cranberry Sauce 


Why we love it: This recipe is a twist on sweet traditional cranberry sauce, without added sugar (or gelatin…)! Plus, cranberries are a superfood filled with antioxidants, vitamin C, and fiber.

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 2 12 oz bag of cranberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 12 oz frozen apple juice concentrate
  • 4 teaspoons roughly chopped fresh basil


  1. Combine the apple juice concentrate and cranberries in a pot and turn the stove on medium-high heat.
  2. When the mixture begins to boil, turn the heat down slightly and add the basil
  3. Stir frequently as the cranberries begin to pop and the mixture reduces. After about 5 minutes, turn the heat to low and simmer until a thick, sauce-like consistency has formed.

Recipe/image courtesy of Greatest.


Stuffing Alternative: Squash & Celeriac Quinoa Stuffing 


Why we love it: This recipe is a real crowdpleaser, offering the hearty flavors of fall we love, without the calories of traditional stuffing. Quinoa is packed with fiber, protein, iron, manganese, and Riboflavin, and butternut squash adds dietary fiber, potassium, and vitamin B6.

Ingredients (6-8 servings)

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • ¾ cup diced celeriac (celery root)
  • ¾ cup diced butternut squash
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley
  • ¼ cup hazelnuts, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Rinse quinoa, pour in a saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Avoid stirring and let boil until the quinoa absorbs all the remaining water, about 10 to 15 minutes. Set aside in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add the garlic, onions, butternut squash and celeriac to the oil. Cook on medium, stirring frequently, until veggies are fork tender, about 20 minutes. Once the veggies are softened, add the thyme, sage, salt and pepper and stir coat evenly.
  3. Add the veggies to the quinoa in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine. Mix in chopped parsley, hazelnuts and olive oil and toss until everything is evenly distributed.

Recipe/image courtesy of New York Times Cooking.