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Thanksgiving: The Ultimate Meal Makeover

Now that November is here, you’re likely thinking about planning holiday meals. Food is a wonderful celebration of life, friendships and family. But holiday celebrations don’t have to include unhealthy meals. To help you celebrate and give thanks for life, we've made over the traditional Thanksgiving meal so you can thoroughly enjoy every bite and still feel confident that you’re making healthy choices.

We bet your family won’t notice the small substitutions in these traditional Thanksgiving dishes, yet you’ll be amazed at what big differences they make in cutting out calories and fat! Take a look at the nutrition comparison chart and you’ll see that we've managed to cut the calories by nearly one-third, and the fat content is just 11% of the traditional version!

View the healthy recipes below and start planning your celebration and giving thanks for your good health.

Roasted Turkey

Choose either a fresh or frozen turkey that is not pre-basted, which can add considerably more fat calories. Stuff with dressing recipe below. Bake according to the label directions for a stuffed turkey. To keep your turkey moist, cover tightly after turkey browns (about 1/2 hour), and baste frequently with the drippings that are released from the turkey.

Before serving, remove the skin and discard. Enjoy 3 ounces of either white or dark meat, or a combination of the two. Our nutrition values are for a mixture of dark and white meat without the skin:

  • 127 calories
  • 25 grams protein
  • 2.2 grams fat (17% of calories)
  • 0.74 grams fat
  Traditional Luscious, Lean & Legal!

2 ounces cheese and 8 crackers

Calories: 294
Fat: 21.4 g

Minted Fruit kabob

Calories: 35
Fat: 0.2 grams

Roasted Turkey

3 ounces white and dark meat with skin

Calories: 254
Fat: 19.8 g

3 ounces white and dark meat without skin

Calories: 128
Fat: 2.2 grams

Mashed Potatoes And Gravy

Traditional version (mashed with butter and milk)

Potatoes: Calories: 204
Fat: 12.3 g

Gravy: Calories: 129
Fat: 13 grams

Cream cheese whipped potatoes and gravy

Potatoes: Calories: 136
Fat: 1.5 grams

Gravy: Calories: 15
Fat: 0 grams


Cornbread stuffing

Calories: 358
Fat: 17.6 g

Herb and Apple Stuffing

Calories: 107
Fat: 1.6 grams

Glazed Sweet Potatoes

With butter and brown sugar

Calories: 369
Fat: 23.0 g

Sweet Potatoes in a Butter & Orange-Brown Sugar Glaze

Calories: 172
Fat: 4.5 grams

Green Beans

With cream of mushroom soup and french fried onions

Calories: 240
Fat: 15.6 g

With lemon Dijon sauce

Calories: 43
Fat: 0.5 grams

Pumpkin Pie

Traditional recipe from the back of a can of pumpkin pie

Calories: 299
Fat: 13 grams

Kris' Pumpkin Pie with Whipped Topping

Calories: 146
Fat: 2.4 grams


Total Calories: 2,147

Total Calories: 772


Total Fat: 135.7

Total Fat: 12.9

If you are hankering to try some new and somewhat non-traditional dishes this Thanksgiving, give the following tasty recipes a try:

*A new browser window will open with this link. The inclusion of links to other web sites does not imply any endorsement of the material on the web sites or any association with their operators.

Reviewed: 11/13

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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2014 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

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