Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the whole year! I love the traditional meal that typically features an overabundance of mouthwatering, delectable dishes! However, I don’t love the way it makes me feel. This year, I set out to find light and healthy Thanksgiving sides and desserts that don’t sacrifice on flavor despite having fewer calories.

Homemade Thanksgiving Turkey on a Plate with Stuffing and Potatoes
Photo Courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

If you think about it, the Thanksgiving table features autumn’s best harvest- sweet fruits and flavorful vegetables- so we decided that there’s no reason you can’t have healthier alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving accompaniments. They’re still delicious, but you can put away the stretchy pants and feel good about enjoying your Thanksgiving feast.

Healthy-ish Thanksgiving Sides

mashed potatoes
Photo and recipe courtesy of Skinnytaste

Skinny Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Every Thanksgiving table needs mashed potatoes. But my waistline doesn’t need all that cream and butter. Thankfully, these spuds are loaded with garlic and light sour cream, but still creamy and delicious.

Pro Tip: Use a potato ricer for perfectly fluffy mashed potatoes every time.

Recipe and photo courtesy of AllRecipes

Turkey Sausage, Apple and Cranberry Bread Stuffing

In this classic recipe from All Recipes, turkey sausage and whole grain bread are used to lighten up the typical stuffing recipe and definitely enhance this Thanksgiving staple.

Green Beans | Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides
Recipe and photo courtesy of Damn Delicious

Lemon Parmesan Green Beans

Green bean casserole has always been one of my favorite Thanksgiving accompaniments. I just can’t resist those crunchy, fried onions! But, it was love at first bite when I tasted these lemony, garlicky green beans and I may never go back.

roasted root vegetables
Recipe and photo courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Herb Roasted Root Vegetables

Carrots, turnips, and parsnips shine is this bright and colorful dish. Prep your veggies the day before Thanksgiving. Then, just before your meal, quickly season the veggies and roast them.

Pro Tip: Line your baking sheet with parchment paper (instead of foil) and your vegetables will slide right off making cleanup a breeze!

Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts | Autumn Kales Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli
Recipe and photo courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Autumn Kale Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

When I think of Thanksgiving, I don’t think of salad, but since we’re trying to be health conscious this year, I thought I should include some leafy greens. This sweet and savory salad can be prepped up to three days ahead of time and mixed up right before the feast. The bright colors will add a nice pop to your table!

fresh cranberry, apple & orange relish
Recipe and photo courtesy of Veggies Save the Day

Fresh Cranberry, Apple & Orange Relish

Cranberries, apples, and oranges come together in a fresh, new twist on the canned classic. By using your food processer, this tasty relish can come together in minutes. It can also be made 1 day ahead of time and refrigerated until Thanksgiving dinner. Easy peasy!

Lighter Thanksgiving Desserts

Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts | Easy Mini Pecan Tarts
Recipe and photo courtesy of Gimme Some Oven

Easy Mini Pecan Tarts

Coming in around 500 calories per slice, pecan pie is the biggest diet destroyer. (Not to mention it’s chock-full of corn syrup and sugar!) These bite-sized tarts are lightly sweetened with honey and brown sugar, but still oh-so-yummy!

Pro Tip: These tiny tart shells make this dessert super simple to put together!

apple crisp
Recipe and photo courtesy of My Recipes

Maple-Walnut Apple Crisp

The double crust on an apple pie is really what gets you in trouble. In this lighter version, the crust is replaced with a crunchy, sweet oat and walnut topping. And you won’t have to mess with a (sometimes difficult) pie crust- just mix up the ingredients then and bake!

Pro Tip: Upgrade your crisp by using your favorite oven-to-table baking dish for a pretty presentation.

Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts | Skinny Pumpkin Pie
Recipe and photo courtesy of Skinnytaste

Skinny Pumpkin Pie

There really isn’t too much you can do to make a pumpkin pie healthier. I mean, you’re practically eating a vegetable for dessert. If you haven’t made pie crust before, make sure you’re prepared with a pie dish, rolling pin and silicone baking mat! (My mom always uses a silicone mat for rolling out a piecrust, so I do too.)

Pro Tip: The secret to a lighter pie is super simple- just roll your crust a bit thinner. Trust me, you won’t miss it!

Light and Healthy Thanksgiving Sides and Desserts | Maple Vanilla Baked Pears
Recipe and photos courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction

Maple Vanilla Baked Pears

These beauties are topped with cinnamon, maple syrup, vanilla and your favorite granola for a simple and wholesome dessert.

Pro Tip: Use a melon baller or cookie scoop to core out the seeds!

Just Add Turkey

Don’t gobble ‘til you wobble…enjoy the feast without feeling overstuffed. Just add a turkey to this menu and you’ll have a delicious, light and healthy Thanksgiving meal. You’ll thank me later!

Pin now and save these light and healthy recipes for later!

Light & Healthy Thanksgiving Recipies |

This post contains affiliate links. The ideas are ours, but we may be compensated if you make a purchase by clicking on one of the links. Thanks for your support!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.