17 Quick and Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

17 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

All holiday celebrations are difficult to navigate when you’re trying to eat healthier, and Thanksgiving is no exception. With mountains of mashed potatoes, tons of turkey, and pies on pies on pies, the average Thanksgiving dinner packs in somewhere between 2,500 and 4,500 calories. But don’t fear the festive feast! There are plenty of ways to indulge in the flavors of fall without feeling as stuffed as the bird after dinner. (Want to know how much exercise it takes to burn off that pumpkin pie? Consult this infographic.) When it comes to side dishes, you and your guests can feel good about gobbling up these healthier options that we’ve rounded up from some of our favorite food bloggers around the web.

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17 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Melon Prosciutto Bites

1. Melon Mozzarella Prosciutto Skewers
Start off your feast with a light and elegant antipasti that will surely impress. They’ll take you just under half an hour to assemble. At only 78 calories for two skewers, you can have a few without filling up before the main course. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto

Photo by Alexa Schrim

2. Asparagus and Mushroom Cauliflower Risotto 
This recipe recreates the creamy texture of traditional risotto while cutting down on calories and carbs, thanks to chopped cauliflower. Bonus: The veggie cooks up quicker than rice so you’ll be out of the kitchen in under 30 minutes. Less prep, same flavor! Photo and recipe: Alexa Schrim / Life by DailyBurn 

Roasted Butternut Squash

3. Roasted Butternut Squash
Packed with antioxidants, dietary fiber and vitamin A, butternut squash is also delightfully low in fat. This simple recipe shows you exactly how to cut up the pear-shaped squash. Drizzle your roasted squash with balsamic vinegar or glaze for crowd-pleasing presentation. Photo: Kent Cameron; Recipe: Sally Cameron / A Food Centric Life

Green Goddess Dip

4. Green Goddess Dip
Liven up your vegetable platter with this healthy dip.  While most holiday appetizers are mayo-laden calorie bombs, this one gets its creaminess from Greek yogurt. (It ditches the sour cream, too, but you won’t taste the difference!) Just fifteen minutes and it’ll be ready to serve. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

Farro Kale Salad

5. Pistachio, Farro and Kale Salad
The best part about this light and refreshing salad? You can dress it before the big day and the study kale leaves won’t get soggy overnight. Store it in the fridge and you’ll have a side salad in a snap! Photo and recipe: Carmen Sturdy / Life by DailyBurn 


6. Honey Mustard Brussels Sprout Slaw
Impress your gluten-free guests with this tasty dish that can be served as a salad or side dish. Use a food processor to shred the sprouts, and then toss them with an easy honey mustard dressing that requires zero mayo. Photo and recipe: Kate / Cookie and Kate

Sweet Potato Soup

7. Fat-Free Sweet Potato Soup
Usually silky, smooth soup gets its texture from heavy cream, but this lighter version gets its creaminess from sweet potatoes and Greek yogurt. After roasting the  potatoes, all you need to do is blend up the ingredients in a food processor. Don’t forget the parsley and green onion—both great sources of vitamin C to keep you healthy during cold season. Photo and recipe: Evan Thomas / Life by DailyBurn


8. Farro, Cranberry and Goat Cheese Salad
With four times as much fiber as brown rice, farro is an extra-filling way to gobble up some grains. Its roasted, nutty flavor shines in this tasty salad. Bonus: This recipe takes only 15 minutes to make! Prepare it ahead of time and serve at room temperature. Photo and recipe: Des / Life’s Ambrosia

Carrot Fries

9. Parmesan Carrot Fries 
These tasty baked fries will please kids and grown-ups alike, and the 10-minute recipe is practically foolproof. Each serving packs a healthy dose of beta-caroten and vitamin A, which helps promote healthy skin and vision. Photo and recipe: Alexa Schrim / Life by DailyBurn 

 Cranberry Chicken Meatballs_PS_2

10. Chicken Meatballs
Hidden inside these lean chicken meatballs is a tangy cranberry filling! At only 190 calories and 7.5 grams fat per two meatballs, these are a healthy alternative to fatty, dark meat turkey. Simplify your Thanksgiving prep by making them up to 48 hours in advance. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn

Stuffed Acorn Squash

11. Stuffed Acorn Squash with Wild Rice
Expecting guests that pass on turkey? Make this easy and nutritious vegetable “boat” that can be served as a vegetarian entrée. The wild rice stuffing has fewer calories than standard white rice, plus it provides B vitamins and minerals like zinc and magnesium. Photo and recipe: Renee Blair / Life by DailyBurn


12. Spiced Orange Cranberry Sauce
Step aside, canned cranberry sauce! Vegan, gluten-free, and requiring just five ingredients, this recipe is chock-full of vitamin C-rich cranberries. If you have leftovers (though we doubt it with sauce this tasty!), use it like jam or mix it into your morning oatmeal. Photo and recipe: Sonnet / In Sonnet’s Kitchen


13. Pumpkin Asiago Rolls
If your Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without bread to soak up turkey gravy, use healthier whole-wheat flour to make these pumpkin-flavored rolls. Make sure to prepare the dough in advance since needs to rise in the fridge overnight or all day. Photo and recipe: Katherine Huysman / Country Spoon


14. Hummus Mashed Potatoes
Soft, fluffy mashed potatoes without the heavy cream? You got it. This genius recipe uses protein-packed hummus, which contains much less fat than sour cream or heavy cream. To make a batch that’s vegan-friendly, substitute olive oil for butter. These spuds certainly won’t be dinner duds! Photo and recipe: Ali / Gimme Some Oven

Stuffed Sweet Potato

15. Broccoli-Stuffed Sweet Potatoes with Peanut Sauce
Put a Thai-inspired spin on your taters this year. Since broccoli is loaded with vitamins B and C and sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and vitamin A, this recipe is way better for you than that sodium-heavy boxed mix of mashed potatoes. Photo and recipe: Emily Miller / Life by DailyBurn

Butternut Squash Soup

16. Butternut Squash Soup
Start off your feast with a warm, light soup that’s rich in beta-carotene, which keeps the eyes and immune system healthy! This soup has a creamy flavor sans dairy thanks to coconut milk. Use frozen pureed butternut squash if you don’t have time to roast the fresh kind. Photo and recipe: Perry Santanachote / Life by DailyBurn


17. Roasted Parmesan Green Beans
With canned creamy soup and fried onion topping, most green bean casseroles are high in sodium and fat. Try making these roasted green beans as a veggie side instead. Bake them for 15 minutes and serve immediately with grated Parmesan. Rich in manganese, fiber and vitamins K, A and C, these healthier beans can help you stay lean! Photo and recipe: Gina / Skinnytaste

Originally posted on November 20, 2013. Updated November 2015.