Thanksgiving Sides That Won’t Leave You Stuffed

The weather is getting colder, the leaves are falling off the trees, the wind is slapping you in the face with mucho gusto. The fall is ushering its way out and winter. is. coming. This bittersweet turn of the season means it’s time for my favorite holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. I find that nothing is better than a day devoted to family, food, and football. However, Thanksgiving also kicks off the holiday season, which can mean day after day of holiday cookies, festive cocktails, and other forms of celebrations that can lead to hundreds of excess calories a day. Not that indulging every now and then is a bad thing. You should never feel like you need to deprive yourself of anything. But, if you want to stay healthy throughout the holiday season, there’s no better place to start then at the beginning, Thanksgiving. Here are a few ideas to get you going…

1) This Caramelized Butternut Squash. It combines two of some of my favorite ingredients of all time (butternut squash and brown sugar) to make a vibrant, sweet, and comforting starch that would balance out any Thanksgiving plate without tipping over the scales the next morning. I swapped out the butter in the recipe for 2 tablespoons of olive oil to cut back on cholesterol and calories, and felt that it didn’t make much of a difference in how the brown sugar cooked in the oven, but feel free to stick to the recipe or add any additional spices that you want.

Nutrition Facts per Serving: Calories: 228; Total fat: 5g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium: 297 mg; Total Carb: 49g; Fiber:7g; Protein: 3g.

2) This healthy peanut butter brownie recipe is a good dessert option for Thanksgiving, or for any holiday party. It’s made with boxed Devil’s Food Cake Mix and, get this, a can of pumpkin puree. And that’s it! This recipe comes straight from Hungry Girl, a great website that offers lower-calorie recipes and interesting snack ideas. Now, I have to admit, while making this the batter looks quite questionable, and I had to resist adding more liquid like an extra egg or water (the batter gets THICK). But, the finished product is actually light and quite tasty, and I gave it to my unknowing friends who said that they were delicious, and couldn’t detect a drop of pumpkin flavor.

The original recipe for the peanut butter pumpkin brownies can be found here, I used Peanut Butter and Co’s Smooth Operator peanut butter as opposed to reduced fat peanut butter because, to be perfectly honest, that peanut butter is just soooooooo good.

Seen here with Ben and Jerry’s Chocolate Fudge Brownie Frozen Yogurt and some frozen blueberries (not included in the nutrition info).

Nutrition Facts per Serving (using full fat peanut butter, sorry Hungry Girl!): Calories: 154; Total fat: 5g; Cholesterol: 0mg; Sodium: 240 mg; Total Carbs: 26g; Fiber: 2g; Protein: 3g.

What are some of your favorite healthy Thanksgiving/Holiday treats?

Also, can you tell that I love the color orange/any and all orange vegetables??

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