Last Updated on May 11, 2020 by Corinne Schmitt
Did you think it would be impossible to find healthy Thanksgiving side dishes that your kids will actually eat? I’m here to help!
My mission is to help you have a happy, healthy family. So, I’ve rounded up my favorite healthy Thanksgiving side dish recipes to share with you.
What makes them healthy? We each have our own notion about “healthy” eating. For me, it means:
- No processed foods (refined flour, refined sugar, canned foods)
- No saturated or trans fats (butter, margarine, animal fat)
If you have really picky eaters, I can’t promise your kids will love all of these dishes. However, since you bothered to search for and click through to this post, I’m going to assume your kids don’t survive on potato chips and pizza. They’ll likely be open to trying new things and they will certainly love at least a few of the side dishes below.
Kale and Broccoli Slaw Salad
I’ve found that my kids are more enthusiastic about healthy dishes when they look good. This kale and broccoli salad from Grounded and Surrounded is colorful and eye-catching (and also happens to be chock full of nutrients).
Roasted Green Beans with Almonds and Thyme
Replace traditional green bean casserole made with processed soup and deep fried onions with these fresh and flavorful roasted green beans from Healthy Seasonal Recipes. A few simple ingredients elevate ordinary green beans (and they smell AMAZING while they’re baking!).
Honey Glazed Oven Roasted Carrots
Carrots is one of the vegetables I don’t get any complaints from my kids about. Add some honey and cinnamon, and this side dish can almost double as a dessert! You’ll love how easy these honey glazed oven roasted carrots (courtesy of Thinking Outside the Sandbox Family) are to prepare.
Cranberry Sauce with Apples and Oranges
Because cranberries are so tart, it can be hard to find a recipe for them that doesn’t call for adding a cup of sugar. Thankfully, Healthy Seasonal Recipes came up with this cranberry sauce that incorporates apples and oranges to add natural sweetness, cutting the sugar in the recipe in half. So yes, this recipe does call for 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I know I said I would leave out recipes that incorporate processed foods, but this is the best I could find when it came to cranberries!
If sweet potatoes are a regular part of your Thanksgiving celebration, consider swapping out the fat and sugar-laden sweet potato casserole for one of these healthier options instead.
Cast Iron Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet so they don’t need a bunch of extra sugar to taste good. This recipe from Savory Experiments calls for a little honey and cinnamon (and just a couple of other ingredients) to enhance the natural sweetness of the sweet potatoes.
Skinny Smashed Sweet Potatoes
If you really miss the texture of traditional sweet potato casserole, you might prefer this recipe from Old House to New Home for skinny smashed sweet potatoes. She uses some clever, healthy swaps to eliminate fat and sugar without sacrificing the creaminess you’re looking for.
Gluten-Free Walnut and Kale Quinoa Stuffing
I know I bent my no processed food rule for the cranberries, but that’s because the added sugar was just a small part of the recipe. To break the rule for stuffing, I’d have to ignore that the processed food is the main ingredient! Thankfully, Healthy Seasonal Recipes has created this amazing healthy alternative. This walnut and kale quinoa stuffing is packed with super foods and absolutely no bread.
Potatoes are my downfall. I don’t care that their glycemic index is through the roof. My Thanksgiving feast isn’t complete without them. Now, I can do without all the butter and cream that traditional mashed potatoes contain. Here are two of my favorite alternatives.
Oven Roasted Potatoes
I love oven roasted potatoes. Not only do they have a nice crunchy crust, they’re sooooo easy to make. This recipe for oven roasted potatoes from Simply the Best is identical to the way I make them at home.
My kids won’t let me swap out roasted potatoes for mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. So, I’m following this recipe for healthy mashed potatoes from Ahead of Thyme. She replaces most of the butter with broth (genius!). She also swaps out the cream for skim milk. If you follow a clean eating diet plan, use whole milk instead. I’ve also used Greek yogurt before.