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Thanksgiving Food Swaps For A Healthy Meal

If you are hosting Thanksgiving this year, you can not only make your life easier and stay on your fitness plan but you can also help out some family members too.

These swap ideas are for great for buffet style Thanksgiving but even if you are doing family style there are definitely some tips for you to use.

Dinner Rolls

You can skip them all together or get really tiny ones, so the portion size is smaller.

Vegetable Dips

Make with hummus or blended cauliflower for your dips. The secret is in the spices you use.

Cranberry Sauce

Go for the real stuff! Add smidge of honey and a couple drops of orange juice to balance out the acidity.

Make Soups!

You can serve the soup bowls in small single-serving size bowls or have the small bowls ready for whoever wants to ladle their own soup.

Mashed Potatoes

Swap out half of the potatoes for mashed cauliflower. Make sure you drain cauliflower well so your potatoes aren’t watery. You can go full tilt with just cauliflower…just don’t tell them… see if they notice.

Sweet Potato Casserole

Still add marshmallows but use half the amount. Then sprinkle crushed pecans or walnuts on top.


Ditch the box or bagged stuffing. It’s simple to make your own. Start 2-3 days before Thanksgiving and air out the bread (leave it in the bag but just open the end of the bag). You don’t want the bread to be a brick but you want to dry it out for a day or two. Make ahead of time: cut the bread into cubes and spread on baking sheet. Spritz with little bit of olive oil and bake in the oven to crisp. The night before Thanksgiving, you can prep the stuffing. You can also swap stuffing for wild rice with cranberries.

Green Bean Casserole

Use lower sodium cream of mushroom soup. Add sautéed portabella mushroom to give it more texture. Instead of canned fried onion rings, air fry onions for healthier crisp version or pan fry them for more caramelization (bringing out the sweetness in the onion).

Experiment with different vegetables like Brussel sprouts and squash.

Pumpkin Pie

My favorite part is the inside and the whipped cream on top. So, I make just the inside of the “pie”. If you are set on having the crust lighten it up with using less sugar and making the crust thinner.

With any pies you can make them into serving size portions using ramekins or similar versions of pie cupcakes.


I say go for it with the turkey! My favorite part is the dark meat and the skin!

With all these swap ideas keep in mind it is all about your stomach and your goals. I know that I will eat more than I do on a typical day. I pick my favorite foods and I enjoy them without guilt. If you are only eating like this a handful times per year it isn’t a big deal. If you are overconsuming food on a regular basis this is when the holiday pounds will start packing on.

The key is to have your head in the right head space so you can enjoy Thanksgiving. If you want help with this click here.

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