Thanksgiving Made Healthy

thanksgiving-dinnerI’m sure you know all about holiday weight gain. Don’t we all? It’s the dreaded, seemingly inevitable extra pounds that pack on from Thanksgiving until New Year’s Day. But why indulge in high fat foods and gain extra pounds when you can instead consume those same holiday favorites, but made with a healthy twist? Here are two of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes that have been reinvented to include healthier ingredients. Rest assured, the taste has not been compromised.


This is one of my favorite Thanksgiving side dishes. This year, I’m excited to trick everyone at the table with this healthier version.

From skinnytaste.com

Servings: 15


•    8.5 oz corn muffin mix

•    15.25 oz can sweet yellow corn, drained

•    14.75 oz can sweet corn cream style

•    16 oz fat free Greek yogurt

•    1/4 cup melted light butter (Land O Lakes Whipped)

•    1/2 cup egg whites

•    cooking spray (I used Smart Balance)

1.    Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray.

2.    In a large bowl combine all the ingredients and mix with a spoon. It will be fluffy and you may think you did something wrong, but don’t worry. Pour into baking dish and bake 55-60 minutes, or until the edges are golden. Let it cool a few minutes before cutting.

Nutritional information per serving: 211 calories; 3.6 g fat; 2 mg cholesterol; 42 g carbohydrate; 8.6 g sugar; 6.8 g protein; 2.1 g fiber; 636 g sodium.


From lowfatcooking.about.com/od/sidedishes/r/Healthy-Green-Bean-Casserole.htm

Here’s an old favorite made lighter.

Serves: 6


•    2 tsp olive oil

•    1 medium onion, thinly sliced

•    1/4 cup finely chopped onion

•    1 pound fresh green beans, trimmed and sliced into 1 ½-inch pieces.

•    1 clove garlic, finely chopped

•    1 1/2 cups sliced cremini mushrooms

•    3 tbsp flour

•    1/2 tsp dried thyme

•    1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

•    1/3 cup fresh whole-grain bread crumb

1. Heat oil on low heat in large skillet. Gently cook onion slices for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently, until onions are golden. Remove onions from skillet and transfer to a plate.

2. Meanwhile, steam or boil green beans in for five to sixminutes, then plunge in a bowl of cold water to keep the vibrant green color and stop the cooking process. Drain and set aside.

3. Add finely chopped onion, garlic to skillet, cook for two to three minutes. Add mushrooms and cook for five minutes, until they release their juices. Sprinkle flour and thyme over vegetables. Gradually stir in nonfat milk. Increase heat to medium and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Season with a teaspoon of salt, if desired, and some freshly ground black pepper.

4. Spread green beans in a 1 ½-2 quart casserole dish. Pour mushroom sauce over green beans. Top with onions and breadcrumbs.

5. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, until golden.

Nutritional information per serving: 125 calories; 2.2 g fat; 1 mg cholesterol; 20.9 g carbohydrate; 8.6 g sugar;  4.2 g fiber; 92 g sodium.


Jennifer Adams is a nationally certified personal trainer and exercise instructor who has been in the fitness industry for more than 20 years. She is the owner of Sand N Sea Fitness in Santa Cruz and is a practicing attorney. Contact her at [email protected]


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