9 Healthiest Side Dishes For Your Thanksgiving Feast

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year. It’s basically the ultimate excuse to sit around and watch football, drink craft beer and stuff your face with turkey. This time of year, most people tend to become a bit more relaxed when it comes to sticking to their strict diet plans, and with all of the delicious foods and desserts available, coupled with the cold outdoor weather, who can really blame anyone else for putting on a few extra pounds of comfort weight. Thanksgiving, however, does not mean having to ditch your hard earned figure or physical health just for the sake of a high calorie meal. There are plenty of ways for you to get a healthy and balanced meal out of your Thanksgiving celebration.

Here are 9 healthy side dishes for you to compliment your turkey feast this Thanksgiving:

1. Mashed Potatoes

No Thanksgiving dinner is complete without a serving of mashed potatoes and gravy. Although it might not be the healthiest option on the list (owing to the fact that you have to add milk, butter, and salt), you simply cannot go without mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving. You still get the benefits of a raw potato, like potassium, magnesium, and zinc, but with the sweet addition of butter and milk and warm, running gravy that also helps liven your turkey serving. Even if there were no health benefits to eating mashed potatoes, it would still be a sin to go a Thanksgiving without them, at least in one writer’s opinion.

2. Sweet Potatoes

The sweet, delicious taste of sweet potatoes is good enough to qualify as a healthy appetizer and (when stuffed into a pie) an excellent dessert. Sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, particularly Vitamins A, B5, and B6, and contain no fat and a very low amount of sodium. They also contain a high concentration of niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin, all which help control your blood sugar level, maintain your energy level, strengthen your immune system, and reduces your stress level. Plus, the high concentration of Vitamin A helps to promote healthier skin and hair. Basically it’s a healthy, all-around win.

3. Stuffing

I mean legitimate stuffing, not some cheap, breadcrumb dressing-in-a-box that you just add water and milk to before cooking. All you have to do is leave out a loaf of bread to dry for a couple of days before, then break the bread into thumb-like sizes and add milk, butter, sage, brown sugar, and salt and pepper to the mix. After that you just stuff that bird and wait for heaven to finish baking!

4. Green Beans

No doubt your grandmother has an old recipe for a green-bean casserole in one of her old cookbooks. If that doesn’t really tickle your fancy, though, there are plenty of other delicious ways for you to enjoy green beans with your Thanksgiving dinner. Adding a splash of vinaigrette with an assortment of toppings like pecans, bacon, cranberries, or almonds is another great way for you to enjoy your turkey dinner while still getting your fix of vitamins B2, K, and C for immune system strength, dietary fiber to support your digestive health, and folate, which acts as a cofactor in several biological processes, including cell growth, cell repair, and anemia prevention.

6. Brussels sprouts

Like green beans, Brussels sprouts are high in B vitamins, folate, and vitamins C and K. They are great for supporting your immune system health and also contain a higher concentration of magnesium, potassium, and omega-3-fatty acids, which promote a health blood pressure level, strengthen your bones, and promotes a happy healthy heart. Brussels sprouts are great for roasting in the oven, and you can add other tasty delicacies to the mix like grapes, raisins, pecans, and even bacon! Honestly, what is an American meal without bacon these days?

5. Carrots 

Carrots make a great addition to any meal, whether they are steamed, grilled, or baked in a pot roast. Along with a high concentration of antioxidants, carrots are loaded with potassium, iron, manganese, and vitamins A and C. They help keep your vision sharp and are also known to reduce the risk of developing cancer and/or cardiovascular diseases. Even if you only go so far as to dip cold raw carrots in some dip for an appetizer, having carrots as a part of your diet is an excellent way to maintain your healthy diet.

7. Broccoli/cauliflower

Another vegetable that most people tend to stay away from is broccoli and/or cauliflower. Like carrots, broccoli is great for promoting good vision, and also helps you maintain a healthy cholesterol level. High levels of fiber and vitamins A, D, and K also help to promote a healthy digestive tract and promote your body’s metabolic processes. Although they may not be the most enjoyable dish on the table, throwing some gravy or cheese on top can make all the difference as far as taste goes, so if you’re really trying to keep your healthy streak up, it might be time to man-up and throw a few on your plate.

8. Squash

Squash is an excellent system-cleanser for the fall season, mainly because, with all the pumpkins around, it is so easily accessible this time of year. Squash is also perfect for the winter months because it is high in Vitamin C, which helps to strengthen your immune system. Magnesium and other antioxidants found in squash also help to neutralize free radicals in your blood stream, keeping your system clean of toxins and other health-threatening agents.

9. Salad

We should all be eating salad on a more regular basis, but if you’re not one for eating a bowl-full of greens, consider a special occasion like Thanksgiving to be one of your exceptions. There are dozens of health benefits that come from salads, and even more ways of preparing a salad that fits with your personal tastes. Some special Thanksgiving salad recipes include Spinach Pomegranate, Cranberry Spinach, or Pear and Pomegranate salad. If you don’t fancy eating a lot of greens, fruit salad or Cranberry Waldorf might be the way to go. For a full list of salad recipes, check out Thanksgiving Sales Recipes at http://allrecipes.com/recipes/16037/holidays-and-events/thanksgiving/salads/

 

Everyone has their own special dishes that they make for the Thanksgiving feast. Whatever yours may be, we at Goals hope you enjoy your holiday surrounded by friends and family, with plenty of delicious food to go around. Happy holidays, and happy feasting.