Healthy Thanksgiving Recipe Swaps

by Sarah Frazier, ACSM-CPT

Pumpkin Sage Hummus

This festive dip is the perfect swap for a cream cheese based dip. Full of fiber and antioxidants, this is sure to keep you happy and healthy this Thanksgiving. Pair with pita chips, pretzel thins, or veggie sticks.
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1/4 cup water
10 fresh sage leaves
1.5 tbsp. olive oil
1.5 tsp. salt
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or high powered blender until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.
  2. Transfer to a bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with pita chips, pretzel thins, or veggie sticks!

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Fall Harvest Apple & Kale Salad

This recipe is perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner table! Easily modified for vegetarian guests by omitting the prosciutto, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser. Swap any vegetable casserole for this lovely, seasonal option,

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. maple syrup
1/3 cup raw pepitas
¼ tsp. cinnamon
3 ounces thin sliced prosciutto
2 bags baby kale, roughly chopped
2 honey crisp apples, thinly sliced
Arils from 1 pomegranate
½ cup low fat feta cheese, crumbled

Cider Vinaigrette
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp. apple butter or apple sauce
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. On the baking sheet, toss together pepitas, olive oil, maple syrup, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Spread into a single layer and lay the prosciutto flat around the pepitas. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the prosciutto is crisp. 
  3. While the pepitas are roasting, in a small bowl combine olive oil, apple cider vinegar, apple butter, thyme, and crushed red pepper flakes for the dressing. Whisk until well combined and season with salt and pepper to taste. 
  4. In a large bowl, combine the kale, apples, pomegranate arils, feta cheese, and pepitas. Chop the prosciutto and add to the bowl. 
  5. Pour the dressing over the salad and mix well to combine. Serve immediately or chilled! 

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Mushroom Caps Caprese

Looking for a low carb substitute for crab dip on toast? Try out these Mushroom Caps Caprese for Mediterranean twist that full of flavor!
4 portabella mushroom caps
1 lb. fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4 in. slices
1 lb. cherry or grape tomatoes
10 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and place the mushroom caps top down on the sheet. Scoop out any extra flesh and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for about 10 minutes, until starting to wilt and brown.
  2. While the mushrooms are baking, halve or quarter the tomatoes and slice the basil into ribbons.
  3. Carefully take the mushrooms out of the oven. Place a slice of cheese inside, scoop on some tomatoes, and sprinkle the basil on top. Drizzle with olive oil and return to the oven for another 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  4. Remove from the oven and drizzle with balsamic vinegar and top with salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste. Serve warm!

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Charcuterie Board

You could serve a traditional cheese and meat plate…OR you could swap it with this easy and healthy charcuterie board loaded with fruit, veggies, and whole grains!
1 package of salami or pepperoni
1/2 block of your favorite cheese, sliced
Baby carrots, celery sticks, or any of your favorite veggies, sliced
1 green apple, sliced thin
1/4 cup raisins
Whole wheat thins
  1. Thinly slice your cheese, veggies, and apples.
  2. Arrange your meat, cheese, veggies, apple, and wheat thins on a platter or cutting board. Start with the veggies and fruit and go heavy on that, saving the meat, cheese, and wheat thins for last.
  3. Garnish with raisins and fresh herbs. Consider hummus, mustard, salsa, or guacamole for dipping!

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5 Minute Power Mac

A holiday classic with a new, healthy look! Macaroni and cheese is a classic at the holiday dinner table. This Power Mac adds veggies and protein, but it not light on flavor! Try it out with your family or a meal prepping staple.
1 lb. box of pasta of choice
1/2 block of white cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. flour
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
1 package turkey kielbasa, sliced 1/4 in. thick
Salt and pepper
  1. Boil water and cook according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In the pot you used for the pasta, steam the broccoli lightly by adding about 1 cm. water to the pot, placing the broccoli inside, and cooking covered for about 4 minutes. 
  3. In a large skillet, brown the kielbasa on both sides, about 4-5 minutes each side. Place in a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the skillet, melt the butter and add the flour, cooking for 1-2 minutes. Add the chicken broth and whisk until well combined. Bring the mixture to a light boil and simmer until slightly reduced. Add the cheese and mix until melted and well combined.
  5. Add the pasta back into the pot. Add the kielbasa and cheese sauce and mix until well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the broccoli last and mix lightly. Serve warm!