Thanksgiving can be a challenge for your waistline if you let it. The average person consumes at least 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner — and most of those calories aren’t coming from turkey. Side dishes account for most of the calories consumed, so being aware of portions, as well as swapping high-calorie sides for healthier ones can make a big difference in total calories consumed.
Depending on how you want to indulge, make healthier versions of some dishes, while sticking with traditional versions of your favorites. Here are some Thanksgiving side dishes trimmed down to less than 200 calories per serving.
These Smashed Blue Cheese Potatoes are much lighter than typical butter-packed mashed potatoes but don’t sacrifice flavor. Since blue cheese has such big flavor, a little goes a long way toward bringing decadence to the dish. Tangy buttermilk adds even more flavor and a creamy texture with a fraction of the fat of heavy cream. While traditional mashed potatoes can add nearly 500 calories, a 3/4-cup serving of these creamy potatoes have just 100 calories per serving and don’t need butter or cream to be satisfying and delicious.
This Simple Sweet Potato Casserole cuts back on the sugar found in the traditional casserole and swaps toasty oats and pecans for the classic marshmallow topping. The result is a nutty, sweet and satisfying dish with just 7 grams of sugar in a 1/2-cup serving — much less than the classic marshmallow-topped sweet potato casserole, which clocks in at 36 grams of added sugar.
This Homemade Orange Cranberry Sauce uses maple syrup for natural sweetness — and it only takes 15 minutes to make. The addition of orange zest and juice brings even more flavor to the table, so you get all the satisfying sweet and tangy flavor without added sugar. A 1/4-cup of this cranberry sauce contains 14 grams less sugar than the traditional kind.
This Classic Herb Stuffing uses whole-grain bread, tons of vegetables and fresh herbs to bump up flavor without loading the dish with butter. By sauteing aromatic onions, garlic, parsley and sage, you get all the comforting aroma and flavor, but with less fat and only 340 milligrams of sodium in a 2/3-cup serving. Traditional box-style stuffing can add more than 1,000 milligrams of sodium and 17 grams of fat in one serving.
Fresh Green Bean Casserole lightens up the classic dish with fresh green beans and a homemade creamy mushroom base made with Greek yogurt. The traditional fried onions still make the cut, bringing crunch and nostalgic flavor, while keeping the 1-cup serving under 150 calories. A traditional green bean casserole made with canned green beans and mushroom soup has twice the fat of this light version and nearly 600 milligrams of sodium per cup, compared to 244 milligrams of sodium.