How to Cook a Healthy Thanksgiving Dinner

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We get questions every year at this time: how can you cook a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, yet still feel satisfied? It’s easier than you think, and we have some great ideas to share.

Drain as much poultry fat as you can from the turkey.

This fat is not healthy, so you want to drain as much of it as you can. The fat helps keep the turkey juicy, but you don’t need to eat that fat once the turkey is cooked. Drain the fat, and give the skin to the dog or the cat.

Think veggies and healthy fats.

Yes, we said to drain the fat from the turkey, but that’s because it’s unhealthy fat. Other foods have good, beneficial fats, and you want to include those on your Thanksgiving menu. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in nuts, seeds, fish, and avocados. Try new recipes with those ingredients, or set nuts and seeds out with the appetizers. Make some guacamole and chips, or serve avocado slices during or after dinner.

Try mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes.

This is one of our favorites, and we really enjoy the flavor of the cauliflower for a change. Following is a great recipe for healthy mashers. The recipe can be found at

(Catherine, photo is from )

Total Time: 21 min

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 6 min

Yield: 4 servings

Level: Easy


  • 1 medium head cauliflower
  • 1 tablespoon cream cheese, softened
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon straight chicken base or bouillon (may substitute ½ teaspoon salt)
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chopped fresh or dry chives, for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter


  1. Set a stockpot of water to boil over high heat.
  2. Clean and cut cauliflower into small pieces. Cook in boiling water for about 6 minutes, or until well done. Drain well—do not let cool, and pat cooked cauliflower very dry between several layers of paper towels.
  3. In a bowl with an immersion blender, or in a food processor, puree the hot cauliflower with the cream cheese, Parmesan, garlic, chicken base, and pepper until almost smooth.
  4. Garnish with chives, and serve hot with pats of butter.

Hint: Try roasting the garlic and adding a little fresh rosemary for a new taste.

Per Serving: Calories: 149; Total Fat: 11.5 grams; Saturated Fat: 7 grams; Protein: 5 grams; Total carbohydrates: 8 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber: 4 grams; Cholesterol: 31 milligrams; Sodium: 170 milligrams.

Offer fruit for dessert.

Fruit is so versatile that you can use your imagination when it comes to serving a healthy dessert. Strawberry shortcake is always a hit, or you can try creating a fruit salad for dessert or during the meal. Some will eat the fruit as is, and a colorful fruit basket makes a wonderful centerpiece.

What tips for a healthy Thanksgiving dinner would you like to share?