Protein Packed Mac and Cheese

4 Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives You’ll Want to Make Year After Year

Nov 21, 2022Ricky Shah

Healthy Thanksgiving alternatives don’t have the best reputation.

From tofu turkeys to bland, steamed veggies, trying to stay on track during the holiday season often means sacrificing your favorite foods for flavorless “diet” food.

But that’s not the case with the four healthy Thanksgiving alternatives we’re sharing today.

Each recipe contains seasonal whole foods packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats. They ditch all the junk typically responsible for your Thanksgiving food coma, so you can actually enjoy the festivities.

And if that wasn’t enough, each recipe is easy to make, absolutely delicious, and impressive enough for company. 

So now that your mouth is watering, let’s get to the good stuff!

4 Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives You Have To Try This Holiday Season

These four healthy Thanksgiving alternatives combine all the flavors of fall with nutritious ingredients that won’t wreck your hard work.

Whether you’re making progress on your own health journey or preparing food for someone who is, you have to try this:

1. Homemade Spinach and Artichoke Dip

rise bar

For a healthy Thanksgiving alternative you can serve while your guests arrive and before the main staples are ready, try this homemade spinach and artichoke dip.

It’s as simple as dumping frozen (yes, frozen!) artichoke hearts, spinach (also frozen!), cream cheese, and a few more easy-to-find ingredients into a baking dish. Then you just bake the mixture in the oven until it gets nice and golden.

Voila! You’ll have an easy, yummy dip loaded with fiber from the artichokes and spinach. 

Eating fiber before your main meal can help you feel fuller sooner, so you resist the temptation to overeat. It can also lessen potential blood sugar spikes from carbs and sugar later.

Plus, this homemade dip is way better than store-bought ones laden with preservatives and empty calories.

This recipe also works well when figuring out how to handle game days and stay on track. It’s a crowd-pleaser to bring over or serve guests that unites everyone around the chip bowl.

2. Protein-Packed Mac and Cheese

[Image Source]

When you want a close-to-the-real-thing macaroni and cheese and not a cauliflower substitute, reach for this protein-packed recipe from Lorie at lemons + zest.

Using chickpea pasta instead of traditional wheat-based pasta adds protein and fiber to the classic recipe. This swap can help you feel full and satisfied with less (rather than ravenous for more).

Adding Greek yogurt to the recipe also ups the protein and healthy fats in this dish. Whereas most recipes call for heavy cream and more cheese, Lorie uses Greek yogurt to add that signature creaminess you’re craving (without any of the guilt).

Just keep in mind that gluten-free pastas like chickpea are usually slightly different in texture and cooking instructions. Try to test your recipe before Thanksgiving, so you can get it right on the big day.

3. Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Cinnamon Butternut Squash with Pecans and Cranberries

[Image Source]

This drool-worthy, picture-perfect roasted brussel sprouts, pecans, and butternut squash recipe is the best fall vegetable dish for your Thanksgiving table.

Seasonal butternut squash takes on those sweet, autumn flavors when roasted with spicy cinnamon and real maple syrup. Toss the squash with crispy roasted brussel sprouts and warm, toasted pecans, and you'll have a colorful fall side everyone will want to dig into.

This dish delivers the health benefits of cruciferous veggies (from the brussel sprouts), antioxidants from the butternut squash and cranberries, and healthy fats and fiber from the pecans.

It’s an easy recipe to bring to a gathering or Friendsgiving that’s sure to impress and delight.

4. Almond-Flour Apple Pie

[Image Source]

If you or someone spending Thanksgiving with you is gluten-free, you have to try this grain and gluten-free almond flour apple pie recipe.

The crust is made with an almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca blend. Unlike the refined carbs and sugar in traditional crusts, this one contains more healthy fats and fiber (and zero gluten).

The warm, gooey pie filling contains beautifully laid out apples coated in maple syrup and cinnamon (talk about yum!).

This seasonal, gluten-free apple pie is bursting with fall flavors and so satisfying that one slice will feel like plenty. So feel free to tuck in without worrying about stalling your progress.

🍎 Psst! Use our Ultimate In-Season Food Guide to find the best local apples in your area.

So Which Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives Will Make It To Your Table This Year?

You don’t have to miss out on all the Thanksgiving foods you look forward to just because you’re trying to eat clean and stay on track during the holidays.

These healthy Thanksgiving alternatives check all the right boxes: they’re nutritious and filling, made from whole food ingredients, and full of fall flavors.

We hope you enjoy these recipes and have a Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃

Want more healthy fall foods?  🍂 Check out the top 5 autumn food trends to try next!

Author: Devan Ciccarelli 

Instagram/Facebook Group: @behappynothangry/Be Happy Not Hangry

More articles