8 Smart Swaps for a Guilt-Free Thanksgiving Feast

by | Updated: December 3rd, 2016 | Read time: 2 minutes

Thanksgiving is a challenging holiday for calorie counters and clean eaters. Sure, a little splurge every now and then doesn’t hurt. But when you’re faced with platters and trays of rich, carb-heavy, sugar-loaded dishes – and the entire day is centered around a feast – it’s especially hard not to cave and give in to cravings. What’s a dieter to do? Make smart swaps for traditionally decadent dishes and you’ll feel satisfied instead of stuffed (and guilty!).

Guilt-Free Thanksgiving Tips

Instead of sour cream-based spinach dip:

Greek Yogurt Spinach Dip

2 11-oz. pkgs. fresh spinach
1-1/2 cups plain low-fat greek yogurt
3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
½ cup finely chopped cilantro
Kosher salt, to taste

In skillet, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. Add one package of spinach and saute until wilted. Transfer to colander and let cool. Meanwhile, repeat with remaining spinach. When cool, press liquid from spinach and chop coarsely. Combine spinach with remaining ingredients, cover and chill for at least 1 hour.

Instead of marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole:

Honey-Cinnamon Sweet Potato Casserole

5 sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 pounds)
1/4 cup honey
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. coconut oil
2/3 cup apricot nectar
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In large pot, boil potatoes for 20-25 minutes, until fork-tender; drain and let cool. Peel and slice potatoes (1/2” thickness), then add to baking dish coated with non-stick spray. In saucepan, combine remaining ingredients (except nuts) and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring until thickened. Pour mixture over sweet potatoes and top with nuts. Bake for 30 minutes.

Instead of sugary, canned cranberry sauce:

Fresh Cranberry Sauce With Coconut Oil & Honey

1 ½ c fresh cranberries
3 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
¼ tsp. coarse sea salt
½ cup water
Optional: fresh rosemary (optional)

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine all ingredients and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until cranberries pop open and mixture becomes saucy.

More smart swaps:

  • Instead of wine, enjoy a wine spritzer (half wine, half club soda).
  • Instead of French fried onions on your green bean casserole, top with slivered almonds. Replace regular canned cream of mushroom soup with a low-fat version.
  • Instead of traditional white bread based stuffing, serve wheat or whole-grain versions prepared with low-sodium broth.
  • Instead of white dinner rolls, serve whole-grain flax rolls or whole wheat rolls.
  • Instead of traditional pie, serve a raw food cheesecake, cacao truffles or clean-eating cupcakes.