Beat the Thanksgiving guilt with healthier Thanksgiving side options

Healthier Thanksgiving Sides

Thanksgiving dinner is the one time each year we justify eating until our pants can’t button. Unfortunately, we aren’t filling up with healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Instead, the Thanksgiving dinner table is usually full of fat, salt, and sugar. Avoid Thanksgiving guilt by keeping the turkey and swapping these two traditional dishes with healthier sides for Thanksgiving.

Sweet potato swap

Traditional sweet potato casserole is loaded with sugar, making it a dish your smile won’t be thankful for. Instead, opt for this healthier sweet potato mash.

Roasted Garlic & Rosemary Sweet Potato Mash


  • 3 sweet potatoes
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 cup milk (or milk alternative)
  • 3 tablespoon butter (or butter alternative)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Peel the sweet potatoes and put them in a pot to boil for 20–30 minutes. Test them with a fork. Remove from heat when they’re tender.
  2. Cut the top of the garlic clove off, enough to expose the open cloves. Drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil. 
  3. Bake at 400o F for 30 minutes. This step can be done the day before and the garlic kept in the refrigerator overnight if your oven is preoccupied on the big day.
  4. Drain the potatoes and mash them with a potato masher or an electric mixer. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the potatoes and mash until blended. Add 1/3 cup of milk at a time while mashing and 1 tablespoon of butter at a time.
  5. Mix in rosemary, parmesan, salt, and pepper to taste.

Green veggie substitute

Classic green bean casserole is packed with salt, thanks to the cream of mushroom soup and the fried onion topping. This green veggie replacement cuts down the salt and will delight your taste buds.

Balsamic Honey Roasted Brussel Sprouts


  • 1 ½ pounds brussel sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 425o
  2. Trim the outer leaves of the brussel sprouts. Cut the bottoms off and cut the brussel sprouts lengthwise.
  3. Toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  4. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, shaking the pan halfway through. Tip: If the oven is taken on Thanksgiving, fry the brussel sprouts in a cast iron pan for eight to ten minutes.
  5. Transfer brussel sprouts to a large bowl and add the balsamic vinegar and honey. Drizzle olive oil. Mix until they are evenly coated.

*Updated November 2022