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Healthy Thanksgiving Alternatives

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The average American eats over 4,500 calories in their Thanksgiving meal. There are ways to get around that heavy meal. King Sooper’s Registered Dietitian Jeannie Schwendtner shows us some delicious and healthier alternatives to our favorite Thanksgiving dishes. Recipes are down below.


Pumpkin Custard

Makes 8 servings


1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree

4 eggs beaten

¼ cup fat-free milk

3 Tbsp honey

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ tsp salt

1 ½ tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp ground cloves


Whipped cream for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2.  Spray a pie pan or 8 small ramekins with cooking spray and set aside.
  3.  In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.
  4. Pour mixture into pie plates or divide evenly between ramekins.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Allow to cool and top with 2 tablespoons of whipped cream


Nutrition Facts 1 serving and 2 tablespoons whipped cream:

Calories: 101

Total Fat: 3.2 g

Saturated Fat: 1.1 g

Sodium: 117 mg

Cholesterol: 96 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 15 g

Dietary Fiber: 2.4 g

Sugar: 11.4 g

Protein: 4.6 g


Butternut Squash and Apple Stuffing

Makes 12 servings


1 (1-lb) loaf whole wheat bread, crusts removed, cubed (1/2-inch)

3 tsp. canola oil, divided

1 small butternut squash, (1.5 pounds), peeled, halved, seeded and diced

1 large onion, chopped

2 stalks celery, chopped

8 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

3 Granny Smith apples, peeled & chopped

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage

1 tsp. cumin

2 eggs

1/2 tsp. pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2.  Place bread on a baking sheet and bake, turning once, until dry and toasty but not browned, 10 minutes.
  3.  Increase oven heat to 375° F.  Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  4.  Heat 2 tsp. oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add squash, onion, and celery; cook, stirring often, until the onion softens, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl.
  5. Return the pan to medium heat and heat 1 tsp. oil. Add mushrooms and apples; cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the bowl.
  6. Stir the toasted bread crumbs into the vegetable mixture.
  7. Whisk egg with broth, sage, cumin, salt and pepper. Add broth to vegetables; stir to moisten.
  8. Spread into the prepared baking dish and press down without compacting. Spray lightly with cooking pray.
  9. Cover the stuffing with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until firm and lightly browned, about 25 minutes more.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 178

Total Fat: 3.5 g

Saturated Fat: 0.4 g

Sodium: 211 mg

Cholesterol: 31 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 33 g

Dietary Fiber: 6 g

Sugar: 8 g

Protein: 6 g


Herb Roasted Root Vegetables

Makes 4-6 servings


1 lb sweet potatoes or yams

3 large parsnips, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces

2 large carrots, peeled, cut on a diagonal into 1 inch pieces

1 large onion, quartered

6 garlic cloves, peeled

Additional vegetables as desired: purple fingerling potatoes, baby beets, celery root, turnips

2-3 springs fresh herbs: rosemary, thyme, sage,

Salt and pepper to taste



  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease 2 large baking pans with non-stick spray.
  2. Place vegetables in a large bowl.
  3. Toss with herbs and olive oil.
  4. Divide vegetables among the baking pans in a single layer.
  5. Roast for 30-45 minutes until soft, turning every 15 minutes.
  6. Top with additional herbs before serving.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories: 157

Total Fat: 4 g

Saturated Fat: 0.6 g

Sodium: 46 mg

Cholesterol: 0 mg

Total Carbohydrate: 30 g

Dietary Fiber: 5.7 g

Sugar: 5.5 g

Protein: 2.5 g


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