Healthy Thanksgiving Dishes

By Ruby Cemental

Gather all your friends and family around the table this Thanksgiving! As you're preparing your mouth-watering feast, make sure to add healthy food options that everyone can enjoy. Here are some ideas for healthy recipes to add to your table.

Turkey and Au Jus

This simple turkey and au jus recipe is a much healthier option than the traditional method of drenching it in brown gravy. This way, everyone can enjoy it—even the diabetic in the family. And don't worry. This luscious bird is going to turn out so juicy and brown, you'll wonder why you ever baked one any other way. 

Ingredients for Turkey

  • One tablespoon fresh thyme
  • One teaspoon oregano
  • One teaspoon of fresh sage
  • One tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • One cup water
  • One 12 to 15 pound bird, thawed
  • One tablespoon kosher salt

Ingredients for Au Jus

  • One tablespoon of fresh thyme
  • One tablespoon oregano
  • One tablespoon fresh sage
  • One cup defatted pan drippings


  1. Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Mix the herbs evenly.
  3. Rinse the bird with the water, then gently remove the neck and giblets. Discard. Loosen the skin around the neck of the turkey. Rub in some of the herb mixture.
  4. Coat the turkey with olive oil  and kosher salt. Rub the remainder of the herb mixture under the breast of the turkey. 
  5. Tie the legs of the bird, place it in a pan, and cover it with aluminum foil. Place in the center of the oven. 
  6. When the bird has been baking for about 3 hours, begin checking to see if it is done. It will be finished when the juices run clear and the breast has reached an internal temperature of 175 degrees.
  7. Rinse down the sides of the pan and capture the drippings. Strain them and place them in a pot. 
  8. Allow pot to simmer on medium, add the remainder of the herbs, and reduce. 
  9. Now carve the turkey and serve it immediately! 

Parmesan Spinach Scalloped Potatoes

The popular scalloped potato dish served on Thanksgiving is often loaded with heavy cheese and tons of calories. By swapping it out for this healthier scalloped potato recipe, you'll save calories, while incorporating a lighter cheese and leafy greens! Seniors will love all the health benefits including its high-fiber, low-calorie, vegetarian, and high-calcium aspects.


  • 2.5 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (cut up into 1/4 inch slices), 8 cups total
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped into tiny pieces)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 1/2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 pound frozen spinach (thawed)


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F. In a large bowl, toss potatoes with 1 tbsp oil. (They should be coated evenly in oil).
  2. Spread out between 2 baking sheets. Roast potatoes for 25 minutes until brown - Rotate pans from top-level of oven to bottom level about midway through cooking time.
  3. In a medium saucepan, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and cook until it turns brown and is soft. (Roughly 5 to 8 minutes).
  4. Add garlic. Cook for 1 minute. Add salt, pepper, flour, cook for 1 more minute while stirring together.
  5. Add milk, don't forget to keep stirring! Increase heat to medium high. Continue until sauce starts to bubble. (About 3-5 minutes). Remove from the heat.
  6. Squeeze spinach with paper towel to soak up any moisture. Stir into sauce. Remove potatoes from oven when completed. Preheat the broiler. Transfer potatoes to broiler safe dish.
  7. Spread half the sauce over the potatoes and top with 1/2 cup cheese. Add the rest of the potatoes and top with the rest of the sauce and cheese creating layers.
  8. Broil but watch very carefully! It will only take 1-5 minutes until the sauce bubbles and cheese turns a nice light brown color.
  9. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Find the recipe hereThis recipe packs 10 grams of protein and come in at only 212 calories per serving! Now that's a side dish you can feel good about serving. 

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Maple Syrup

Thanksgiving Day feast isn't complete without a generous helping of some hearty Brussels sprouts. Being low in calories, high in fiber, and great for your heart, you can't go wrong with these powerful veggies! 


  • 2 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 lbs. Brussels sprouts
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons maple syrup
  • fresh pepper ground to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups pancetta, diced


  1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Trim and stem the sprouts, then remove any yellow or discolored leaves.
  3. Cut the sprouts in half.
  4. Mix them, the EVOO, salt and pepper in a bowl, then give them a good toss to coat them well. Afterward, spread them evenly on one large baking sheet and put them in the oven.
  5. Bake for about 15 minutes, then stir them with a wooden spoon.
  6. Bake them for an additional 15 minutes.
  7. Spread the maple syrup over the sprouts and stir them well to coat them.
  8. Bake for 10 more minutes. 
  9. During the baking, cook the pancetta in a large saute pan over medium-low heat until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside.
  10. Remove the sprouts from the oven, mix with the pancetta, and serve immediately! 

The family will love this unique take on a Thanksgiving favorite. 

Sugar-Free, Gluten-Free Yeast Rolls

One of the tastiest parts of any good holiday meal is those warm, delicious yeast rolls. It's sad that not everyone can enjoy a traditional yeast roll though. The sugar can send a diabetic's blood-glucose levels soaring. That's why we're providing you with this delicious recipe for a sugar-free, gluten-free yeast roll! 


  • 3 cups almond blend flour
  • 1 1/3 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 2 teaspoon SAF instant yeast
  • 1/4 cup stevia
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons dairy-free margarine, melted
  • 1 room temperature egg
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Make it! 

  1. Mix together flour, xanthan gum, sugar, and instant yeast in large bowl
  2. With mixer running on low speed, add the water, butter substitute, egg, and apple cider vinegar
  3. Mix on medium speed for about 3 minutes
  4. Spray a 9 inch round cake pan with cooking spray
  5. Scoop nine scoops of dough into the pan, using a 1/3 cup measuring cup. Place one in the middle and eight around it. 
  6. Dip your fingers in the water and use them to smooth out the tops of the rolls. 
  7. Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place for one hour. 
  8. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 
  9. Bake for 26 to 28 minutes. Tops should be golden. 
  10. Brush with the additional butter substitute. 

Your family will never know the difference if you don't tell them. It'll be our little secret. 

Homemade Cranberry Sauce for Diabetics

One of the most time-honored and traditional holiday side dishes is also typically loaded down with the most sugar. A healthy cranberry sauce is hard to find in a store, but you can make one yourself from home, and easily. 


  • About 24 ounces of fresh cranberries
  • 3/4 cup of pineapple and orange juice mixed
  • 1/2 no-sugar added applesauce
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • the juice and zest of one large orange
  • (optional) 4 tablespoons of honey to taste


  1. Place cranberries, pineapple and orange juice, the applesauce and water in a pan and bring to a boil. 
  2. Use medium heat, and stir constantly until the cranberries start to explode. This should take about 15 minutes. 
  3. Reduce it to a simmer and pour the zest and the juice over the mixture. 
  4. Simmer another 15 minutes and remove from heat. 
  5. Cool completely and store in the fridge overnight. 
  6. Add honey if needed. 

This isn't as sweet as what you find in the stores, but it packs a whole lot of flavor. Everyone around the table this year is going to be shocked at the beautiful side dish you have to garnish that healthy turkey! 

Sugar-Free Apple Pie

There is nothing like ending a great Thanksgiving meal with a slice of warm apple pie. And this recipe is one that everyone can enjoy.  


  • 12 ounces thawed apple juice concentrate (unsweetened)
  • 3 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups tart apples (sliced)
  • 2 9-inch pie shell pastries


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Whisk the cinnamon, cornstarch and 1/3 cup of the apple juice concentrate in a small bowl. Once mixed, set aside. 
  3. Take the sliced apples and the remaining amounts of apple concentrate and combine them in a large saucepan. Over a medium heat, bring the pan to a simmer until the apples are tender (not mushy). This should take about 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in the cornstarch and apple juice concentrate mixture and cook for an additional five minutes. Remove from heat.    
  5. Carefully place one of the pastries into your pie dish, then, with a spoon, add in the apple mixture.
  6. Gently cover the top of the pie with the remaining pastry (rolled out). Seal and Flute the edges.
  7. In the top of the crust, cut a few steam vents.
  8.  Place the pie in the oven for 45 minutes or until you achieve a golden brown crust.

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Tags: Healthy Recipes