During the holidays, we are grateful for many things — including the health and well-being of our families, our loved ones and ourselves. Too often, though, we treat Thanksgiving as the official beginning of a month-long eating free-for-all. This year, why not skip the cycle of overindulgence leading to a guilty New Year's resolution? Luckily, cutting back on fat and calories doesn't mean you can't have your holiday meal favorites.
See also: Healthy hors d'oeurves and appetizers
Just a few tricks can make a big difference, like substituting the ingredients you use to achieve creamy mashed potatoes, or incorporating more delicious vegetarian and vegan side dishes that allow fresh, seasonal vegetables to really shine.
Here are some recipes for healthier holidays that still fit the joys of tradition. You'll have a lot to be thankful for — and the only one stuffed will be the turkey!
Roast Turkey Breast for a Small Gathering by Diane Morgan
If you're serving six people or fewer for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, a roast turkey breast provides plenty of food and will keep you well supplied with leftovers.
Chipotle and Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes by Jane Butel
You don't need to rely on heavy cream, lots of butter and sour cream to give mashed potatoes that delectably smooth texture. In this recipe, skim milk and a touch of butter provide plenty of fluffy texture, while roasted garlic and dried chipotle chile peppers make for an unusually satisfying flavor profile.
Wild Rice, Dried Cherries and Almond Stuffing by Rick Rodgers
Wild rice is technically not a grain but an aquatic grass, and also a nutritional powerhouse that contains several times the protein of white and brown rice, as well as being a great source of folic acid and niacin. It doesn't need bread to be stuffing!
Carrot Salad With Cilantro & Green Chili by Simon Hopkinson
This festive fall salad brings tangy lightness to your Thanksgiving meal. Cilantro contains antioxidants and dietary fiber, while carrots offer up lots of vitamin A.
Oven-Braised Parsnips by Barbara Kafka and Christopher Styler
Parsnips are lower in calories than potatoes, but are a good source of vitamins C, B6, and E, fiber, folic acid, riboflavin and potassium. This recipe leaves the root vegetable glazed and tender.
Roasted Autumn Vegetables by Anna Thomas
These herb-seasoned and olive oil-brushed vegetables turn out crisp around the edges and soft inside. Kabocha squash is rich in beta carotene, iron, vitamin C and potassium.
Baked Butternut Squash by Michele Urvater
You don't need butter or sugar to make butternut squash scrumptious. This fat-free recipe brings out its natural depth and sweetness with salt, black pepper and lime juice.
Mulled Cider With Cardamom and Saffron by Beth Hensperger and Julie Kaufmann
Get into the holiday spirit with this spiced cider, a lower-calorie and fat-free alternative to dairy- or alcohol-based beverages.
Cranberry Pear Brown Betty by Judith Finlayson
In this easy slow-cooker recipe, whole wheat bread crumbs and olive oil take the place of white flour and butter in traditional pastry crusts. Seasonal pears match perfectly with cranberries for a Thanksgiving treat.
Steel Cut Oat and Cranberry Cookies by Debbie Gore
Wholesome applesauce and oats fortify these cookies with nutrients, and walnuts make them rich in omega 3 fatty acids and manganese.
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