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November 22, 2019

8 Nutritious Thanksgiving Swaps

By Christina Dauer, MPH, RDN, LDN, CDE 


Thanksgiving is fast approaching! Feel satisfied, but not stuffed with these swaps to lighten up the dishes at your table, without sacrificing flavor. If you choose to have a portion of your favorite foods or dessert this year, just remember to eat mindfully, slowly and savor the flavor.

1. Instead of frying turkey (we know how tempting that is…) bake your turkey in the oven and try stuffing it with citrus and fresh herbs. Choosing skinless, white or dark meat (while white meat is technically the lowest in fat, dark meat has more iron than white meat so both can be healthy options), will save some additional calories and fat. Here’s a recipe to try:

2. Swap the marshmallow covered sweet potato casserole with a roasted sweet potato with pecans and a sprinkle of brown sugar or this pecan and oat topped sweet potato souffle:

3. Swap up to half the butter or oil with applesauce, mashed banana or mashed avocado in cakes, cookies and quick breads.

4. Reduce the amount of sugar in recipes by half and add in vanilla, cinnamon or nutmeg to enhance natural sweetness.

5. Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes for a lower carbohydrate option. If you make mashed potatoes, lighten them up with 2% milk and non-fat Greek yogurt in place of whole milk or full-fat sour cream. Here’s one to try:

6. Instead of classic green bean casserole with the world famous canned mushroom soup and fried onions, try roasting Brussels sprouts or green beans. Toss in some balsamic vinegar and throw in some pecans for crunch, then top with lemon zest and parmesan to finish.

7. Cut the sugar and add more flavor by making your own cranberry sauce instead of using canned versions. This one has cranberry and pears:

8. Instead of sitting around after eating your meal, take a walk with the fam! Walking after eating helps to digest food, burn calories and lower blood sugar for those with diabetes.


Cheers from Avance Care to your family!


Christina is the Director of Nutrition Services at Avance Care and sees patients at Avance Care’s Central Raleigh location. She loves to garden, read, learn new languages, and hike with her husband and two dogs.

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