New visitor restrictions are in place due to COVID-19 (coronavirus). Learn more and review the latest information about the virus.


Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Healthy Makeovers for Thanksgiving Staples

Overstuffed with stuffing? The average Thanksgiving dinner is 3,000 to 4,500 calories. Depending on your gender, age and weight, you need anywhere from 1,600 and 2,800 calories per day, unless you’re working toward weight loss or gain.

You can still enjoy this special meal without losing sight of your health goals. Northwestern Medicine Bariatric Dietitian Audra Wilson, MS, RD, LDN, CSCS, offers tips for making your Thanksgiving sides healthier — plus three recipe makeovers.

How to make your Thanksgiving meal healthier:

  • Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.
  • Use olive or canola oil instead of butter.
  • Use buttermilk instead of cream (works in most recipes).
  • Double the vegetables in the recipe.
  • Use flavorful cheeses like Parmesan and feta. You’ll use less cheese because of the big flavor.
  • Use fresh and dried herbs and spices instead of salt.
  • Try ground turkey, chicken or tofu crumbles in place of beef.
  • Cook the carbohydrate components of the dish separately so that serving size can be manipulated.

Thanksgiving recipe upgrades:




Download Healthy Thanksgiving Sides

Recipes for mashed cauliflower, healthy green bean casserole and chicken sausage stuffing from a Northwestern Medicine dietitian.