A Heart Healthy Thanksgiving Meal

When it comes to the holidays, nothing is better than enjoying family, friends, and food! It’s easy to forget all about your heart-healthy diet when there is a plate full of juicy turkey, scrumptious stuffing, creamy green-bean casserole, and sweet pumpkin pie. So do you binge for a day or follow your healthy cuisine? The good news here is that you don’t have to sacrifice one for the other! We’ve got you covered with recipes for all of the traditional Thanksgiving eats. We’ll start with the most obvious.


The staple of many Thanksgiving meals, turkey is naturally a pretty healthy option when eating meat. The parts that can be not so healthy for you are the skin and the river of gravy your pour on it. If you’re looking to remain heart-healthy while feasting on turkey, remove the skin and go for the white meat of the turkey breast. White meat tends to have less cholesterol than the dark meat located on the leg and thigh. We found a great recipe for a Lemon-Garlic Turkey & White Wine Gravy that boasts a meager 180 calories, 6g of fat, and 66mg of cholesterol per serving. Check out the recipe courtesy of Eating Well.


Another common dish in the Thanksgiving spread is stuffing. The combination of bread, chicken broth, and other ingredients can turn this delicious side into a heart-healthy nightmare. That doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy though. Try using multi-grain or whole wheat bread instead of traditional white or Italian. Also, substitute the chicken broth with a reduced-sodium chicken broth. Check out these recipes for a Pear Prosciutto & Hazelnut Stuffing or a Healthy Harvest Stuffing.

Green Bean Casserole

Another common dish on Thanksgiving is green bean casserole. The “green bean” portion of the casserole may mislead you to believe that this is a healthy side, chock full of veggies. Unfortunately a lot of what goes into the casserole can make it pretty unhealthy. To make this savory dish a little better for you, lose the canned soup (cutting out its fat & sodium) and replace it with low-fat milk. To find a great recipe for a healthier green bean casserole, click here.

Cranberry Sauce

Eaten on their own, cranberries are extremely healthy. Some studies have even shown that cranberries can help fight heart disease. However, most canned cranberry sauce has sugar added to it. Most cranberry sauce recipes also involve the addition of sugar, but at least this way you can control how much you add. Try out this recipe for Cranberry Sauce with Lime & Ginger.

Pumpkin Pie

Last but not least, we have dessert. Nothing says Thanksgiving like a slice of pumpkin pie. Thankfully, pumpkin pie tends to be one of the healthier choices in the pie family. The pie crust can be a little unhealthy so try making this Heart Healthy Pumpkin Pie w/ Walnut Crumb Crust. Another option is to completely eliminate the crust . When you finally have your pie ready, either use a low-fat whipped cream or just ditch the whipped cream altogether.

Got any healthy Thanksgiving recipes of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave us a comment below with your delicious holiday dishes.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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