Have a Healthy Thanksgiving

By Sarah Butler, Registered Dietitian, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center


Picture Source

Want to celebrate Thanksgiving with lots of good food but not overindulge? This year, challenge yourself to a healthy Thanksgiving Day, from sunrise to sunset.  Here are some healthy steps:

  • Don’t skip breakfast! “Saving” calories for the Thanksgiving meal by eliminating your morning can cause you to become extremely hungry and you’ll more easily overeat. Start off your Thanksgiving morning with a healthy breakfast of a yogurt parfait with a pumpkin muffin.
  • If the hunger starts kicking in before dinner try this delicious Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with cut veggies and whole wheat pita.
  • Instead of eating your Thanksgiving meal in the late afternoon or evening, try eating earlier in the day, around two o’clock. Then after dinner you’ll have time to take a refreshing walk outside before dessert is served. Alongside your main course, try the recipes below for healthy sides, salads, and soups at dinner.
  • After an early dinner and a rejuvenating walk, it’s time for everyone’s favorite course: dessert. This year, why not put a healthier option next to that pumpkin pie? Try the recipe below for Chocolate Cupcakes.

Recipe Suggestions for Thanksgiving Success:

Fruit & Yogurt Parfait

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
By Rebecca Bokat, Dietetic Intern, Sargent Choice Nutrition Center

Yield: 1 dozen (serving size: 1 muffin)

1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp salt
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup canned pumpkin
½ cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg
2 tbsp canola oil
2/3 cup dried cranberries

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.  Place 12 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups.
3.  Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
4.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt; stir well with a whisk.
5.  Combine granulated sugar, brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, and egg in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes).
6.   Add flour mixture to sugar mixture; beat at low speed just until combined.  Fold in cranberries.
7.  Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake at 375°for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center.  Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.

Serving Size: 1muffin

Calories 180 calories
Fat 3 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 39 g
Fiber 3 g
Sodium 200 mg

Spinach and Artichoke Dip served with Fresh Vegetables and Whole Wheat Pita

Sargent Choice Butternut Squash Soup
Makes 6 ¾-cup servings

¾ tsp Smart Balance
¼ cup chopped carrots
1/4 cup chopped onion
¼ cup diced celery
¾ tsp chopped fresh ginger
½ tsp low sodium vegetable base or 2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
2 cups water (omit if using stock)
2 cups cubed butternut squash
½ tsp coarse Kosher salt
¼ tsp Tabasco sauce
1/8 tsp black pepper
¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1. In a large stock pot, sauté carrots, onions, celery and ginger root in Smart Balance until tender.
2. Add water and base (or stock). Whisk until well blended. Add squash. Simmer until squash is cooked.
3. Add salt, Tabasco, pepper and nutmeg. Stir until well-blended. Puree soup using an immersion blender or a traditional blender, being careful not to burn yourself.
4. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 5-10 minutes.


  • Vegetable bases are available online, search for Minor’s Low Sodium Vegetable Base. Or, instead of water and base mix, try using 2 cups of low sodium vegetable broth.
  • Try serving with 1 tbsp of any of the following: fat free plain yogurt or sour cream, slivered almonds, or pine nuts.

Nutrition Facts (¾ cup serving)

Calories 45
Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 1 g
Carbohydrate 8 g
Fiber 1 g
Sodium 230 mg

Pear Carpaccio

Sage & Apple Seared Chicken

Even though chicken is the star of this dish, we just had to share because it makes a beautiful dinner for guests and the flavors of apple and sage would work perfectly all the way through the holiday season.

Roasted Parsnips and Sweet Potatoes
Makes 4 servings


Cooking spray

½ pound parsnips, peeled and cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ -2 cups)

1 large unpeeled sweet potato, cut into bite size cubes (about 1 ½ – 2 cups)

3 firm, sweet red delicious apples, unpeeled, cored and cut into bite size cubes (about 2 cups)

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp honey

2 Tbsp reduced sodium soy sauce

½ tsp black pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Lightly coat medium casserole dish or baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. Peel and cut parsnips into bite size cubes.  Cut sweet potato and apple into bite size cubes.
  4. Mix together in large mixing bowl.
  5. Combine honey and oil in microwave safe bowl.  Heat for 10 seconds until warm.  Mix soy sauce into the honey mixture. Pour sauce over vegetables and apples.  Toss to coat well.  Transfer mixture into prepared dish or baking sheet.  Bake for 45min-1hour, or until tender.

Serve warm.

Nutrition Facts (1 cup serving)

Calories 180calories
Fat 4 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Protein 3 g
Carbohydrate 35 g
Fiber 5 g
Sodium 250 mg

Recipe modified from: The New American Plate Cookbook; American Institute for Cancer Research

Chocolate Cupcakes


Ayfiel posted on January 31, 2012 at 1:40 am

Very nice and clear recipe for a succesful thanksgiving momment. A very complete and orderly guidance to cook. I think it is very helpful for readers who want to try making thanksgiving menu at home. thank you
Honey Joys

distillery equipment posted on July 27, 2022 at 2:22 am

Thank you for sharing

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