Updated Thanksgiving Classics

Part of what makes Thanksgiving such a special event is the traditional food dishes that we normally don’t get to enjoy throughout the year. This is perhaps for the best—Thanksgiving dishes are not known for holding back on the butter, rich cream sauces, or sugar. While breaking a diet during the holidays is certainly understandable, there are ways to enjoy good Thanksgiving dishes while keeping an eye on your diet. Here are three recipes to help you enjoy the holidays while maintaining a healthy routine.

Turnip Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a holiday staple. They also have a history—potatoes are high in starch, meaning their calorie density helped early Americans stay warm in the frigid months. These days, most of us are not hardy farmers trying to survive the winter, but we still love mashed potatoes. To give it a healthy edge, replace half of your potatoes with turnips.

Turnips have a similar texture to potatoes but contain very little starch. They have a low glycemic load, so your body can burn it faster and easier. In addition, using sour cream instead of butter adds a tang to the dish while cutting down on a large amount of fat. Check out the recipe below to create a mashed potato dish that will leave you feeling healthy and satisfied.


  • 2 lbs. turnips
  • 1 lb. Russet potatoes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ cup of sour cream
  • ¼ cup of chives
  • 3 tablespoons of horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar

Boil the potatoes and turnips together in cold water until they are tender. When tender, let them simmer. Once they have simmered for about 15 minutes, drain them and put them back in the pot to cook out the moisture. Mix in the remaining ingredients (sour cream, garlic, horseradish, chives, and sugar) and mash until creamy.

Ginger Green Beans

Rather than serving a thick green bean casserole, consider a lighter but flavorful option. The below recipe, developed by Scott Conant, packs a delicious punch while cutting away the thick canned mushroom soup we have all grown accustomed to.


  • 2 lbs. green beans
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • ½ teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed red pepper

Place the green beans in well-salted boiling water, cooking until slightly tender (less than 5 minutes). Immediately transfer them from the boiling water to a bowl of ice water. This maintains their rich green color and keeps them crunchy. Dry them with paper towels once they are cooled.

In a skillet, add the olive oil and sauté the garlic for less than a minute. Stir in the ginger and red pepper, letting their flavor enhance the oil. Stir-fry the beans into the mixture until the garlic is slightly browned, and season with salt.

Roasted Winter Vegetables

One way to enjoy a healthier Thanksgiving is to work with naturally healthier ingredients, giving them a delicious, “special-occasion” edge. One amazing way to do this is through roasted vegetables. Roasting caramelizes the surface of many vegetables, bringing out their sweetness while adding a smoky flavor. The beauty of the below recipe is that you can add any vegetables you like—roasting vegetables is an extremely versatile technique.


  • ½ cup of cider vinegar
  • ½ cup of chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 red onions, cut into wedges
  • 2 beets cut into chunks
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup of chestnuts
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon thyme

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small pan, combine the vinegar, stock, butter, and syrup. Bring it to a boil, then let it simmer at a high heat until it reduces. At the same time, combine the vegetables in a roasting pan, tossing it with olive oil and thyme.

Roast in the hot oven, occasionally turning the vegetables. When the vegetables begin to soften and brown, add the apples. Roast until they are tender but crisp on the surface. Caramelizing the surface of the vegetables increases the depth of their flavor and adds an extra dimension to the dish. Once they are cooked, add the reduced sauce. Make sure each vegetable is covered in the sauce, then serve!

This article contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. The information is not advice and should not be treated as such. The information is not intended to replace the advice or diagnosis of a physician.

If you have any specific questions about any medical matter you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.