24 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes For The Perfect Thanksgiving Meal

Looking for perfect main dish accompaniments for your holiday menu? These healthy Thanksgiving side dishes are delicious and colorful. Not only will your Thanksgiving table look incredible, but the flavors will also be amazing, too!

Thanksgiving dinner menu spread, all plated and ready to be shared by a family of five. Pictured are the full roasted turkey, fresh pumpkin pie topped with whipped cream, parmesan garlic green beans, Thanksgiving stuffing, best homemade cranberry sauce, sweet potato pie, and cauliflower mashed potatoes.

Can you believe it’s November? It seems like yesterday it was summer and I was talking to you about summer recipes. And, today, here I am planning my Thanksgiving menu and talking to you about healthy Thanksgiving recipes. It’s crazy, isn’t it?

However, I can’t complain because I’m excited about Thanksgiving. What’s not to love about Thanksgiving? You get to spend a day with your loved ones enjoying tons of delicious food.

And Thanksgiving food is so delicious. Am I right?

Unfortunately, not all Thanksgiving dishes are healthy, though. Darn it!

But don’t worry, I’ll help you create a healthy Thanksgiving menu by sharing with you my favorite healthy side dishes for Thanksgiving.

I’ve compiled a list with lots of variety to suit every taste. The dishes are all clean-eating, and that’s the aim of the game with a healthy lifestyle. And if you have friends coming over who follow a vegetarian diet, they’ll have plenty of savory (and nutritious!) options for their plates.

These nutritious Thanksgiving side dishes are totes delicious and they will help you stay healthy during Thanksgiving without compromising on taste.

Like for realz, your taste buds will be happy.  I promise.

Now let’s get started because, besides these Thanksgiving recipes, I want to teach you how to eat healthy on Thanksgiving, how to enjoy a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, and share with you my healthy Thanksgiving tips.

Sound good?

All four ingredients, the fresh cranberries, orange zest, raw honey, and orange juice, are in a sauce pan to be cooked down to make the best homemade cranberry sauce.

CAN THANKSGIVING BE HEALTHY?

YES! Thanksgiving can be healthy. In fact, any holiday can be healthy. You just have to know what makes the dishes not healthy in the first place. Then change those things. Simple enough, right?

No, seriously. It is that simple.

So….why is Thanksgiving unhealthy?

Let’s talk about the traditional Thanksgiving sides…

  • Most traditional Thanksgiving sides contain numerous processed ingredients that are not healthy, like sugar, butter, and all-purpose flour.
  • Traditional Thanksgiving dishes are also quite high in fat because most of them require butter, sour cream, shortening, or tons of cheese.  Not good for you, either.
  • Thanksgiving dishes are also very high in sodium. That’s not good, either.

The good news is – you can change all these things and transform the traditional Thanksgiving sides into healthy Thanksgiving sides.

Skillet filled with olive oil, fresh green beans, minced garlic, sea salt, and pepper, sautéing the green beans for the garlic parmesan green beans.

TIPS ON HOW TO EAT HEALTHY ON THANKSGIVING

Okay, so now we know why typical Thanksgiving sides are unhealthy…so how do we transform the best Thanksgiving recipes into healthy Thanksgiving dishes?  Here’s how:

  • Change the regular high sodium, processed, and boxed turkey stuffing with a healthy stuffing made from whole wheat bread and low sodium chicken broth and learn how to roast a turkey.
  • Homemade gravy is the best gravy so learn how to make it from scratch, rather than relying on a package that’s super high in sodium and processed ingredients.
  • If you don’t want to skip dessert (because duh!), learn how to make pie crust without butter and then make a pie from scratch. You can opt for the traditional pumpkin pie made healthy or go for a pecan pie. Or why not a sweet potato pie? Use coconut sugar instead of refined white sugar and make your own healthy coconut whipped cream.
  • Make a healthy and sugar-free cranberry sauce, rather than the high sugar, canned stuff.
  • As always, portion control is important so make sure you pay attention to what and how much you eat.

If you want to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner, make sure you also:

  • Opt for vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving like my healthy green bean casserole, garlic parmesan green beans, or my cauliflower mashed potatoes. These sides for Thanksgiving are easy to make, clean, and healthy.  They’ll add a good amount of fiber and nutrients to your meal and are super tasty.
  • Plan your menu ahead of time and make sure you have all the ingredients for the healthy Thanksgiving recipes in your pantry or your fridge. This way, you won’t have to buy anything last minute or opt for canned ingredients because fresh ones are not available anymore.

How to have a healthy Thanksgiving dinner if you’re not spending Thanksgiving at home:

  • Tell the host you want to bring a dish or two and cook something at home. You can prep one of the healthy Thanksgiving recipes included in this post. Or you can make dessert. You’ll have healthy options but you’ll also help the busy host. I’d call that a win-win.
  • At the dinner table, start by filling your plate with veggies and add small portions of starchy sides.
  • Opt for skinless turkey breast since it’s the healthiest part of the turkey and low in calories.
  • You won’t be able to say no to every single unhealthy dish. So say yes to one. The one you love the most. It can be stuffing or mashed potatoes. Or a slice of pie. Just make sure you keep the rest of the options as healthy as possible.

Overhead view of a food processor once the cauliflower, garlic, and seasonings have been processed to turn into cauliflower mashed potatoes.

MAKING HEALTHY THANKSGIVING RECIPES

Whether you’re spending Thanksgiving at home and you can make the entire dinner healthy or you plan to bring side dishes made at home to your Thanksgiving host, it is important to know how to make healthy Thanksgiving recipes. Here are my tried and tested healthy Thanksgiving tips:

  • Replace sugar with raw honey when making cranberry sauce;
  • Use coconut sugar for pie and sweet potato casserole;
  • Use pure maple syrup in your mashed sweet potatoes instead of sugar;
  • Replace butter and cream with almond milk or full-fat Greek yogurt;
  • Opt for a low carb side dish. For example, choose cauliflower mashed potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes. Or learn how to make healthy mashed potatoes.
  • Reduce the amount of salt;
  • Remove cream cheese;
  • Reduce parmesan cheese;
  • Use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Mixing bowl filled with the steamed sweet potatoes, ground cinnamon, and pure maple syrup, being mashed by hand using a potato masher.

VEGETABLE DISHES FOR THANKSGIVING

Now that you know the basics, it’s time to think about vegetable dishes for Thanksgiving.  I’ve given you an extensive list (yay!), but I’ll cover just a few here.

One top-notch dish for Thanksgiving is garlic parmesan green beans. Green beans make a great Thanksgiving side dish and the recipe I have for you is super easy. But you’ll love the taste and flavor of the dish.

I also have cauliflower mashed potatoes. This is another easy Thanksgiving side dish and it’s also a low-carb alternative to mashed potatoes. Plus it’s smooth, delicious, and the recipe can be easily altered to make the cauliflower mash vegan.

And what about amazing Brussels sprouts? This healthy Thanksgiving recipe makes this nutritious veggie turn out golden, crispy, and mouthwatering! Made on a sheet pan and popped in the oven for simple goodness.

Mashed sweet potatoes are high on my top picks for traditional Thanksgiving sides. So I needed a healthy version I can enjoy. The mashed sweet potatoes are still a delicious starchy side even when they are healthy. And they require only 3 ingredients – sweet potatoes, cinnamon, and maple syrup. Talking about easy Thanksgiving sides, right?

Keep reading and you’ll see my list of 24 side dishes for the best Thanksgiving dinner ever. You betcha!

Overhead image of 3 bowls: one bowl contains cranberry sauce, one contains sweet potatoes, one mashed potatoes, and there is a platter of green beans.

HOW TO STORE THANKSGIVING DISHES

Here’s the thing, the key to a stress-free and healthy Thanksgiving is having a plan. You can prep some of the healthy Thanksgiving side dishes included in this post ahead of time but first, you also need to learn how to store Thanksgiving side dishes after the meal is done.

To store the delicious sides you need:

Either of them will do. It’s good to know that yummy mashed potatoes can be stored in the fridge for around 4 to 5 days. Cranberries are okay in the fridge for up to a week. And the turkey? I’ve got a few tips.

1. I usually deal with the turkey right after dinner, before I sit down. Sure, I’m kinda full and feel like resting, but it’s really best to get this job out of the way.

2. I take the turkey apart and store it according to what I plan to do with it.

3. I pack the meat and bones in separate containers. Some I freeze and some I leave in the fridge for sandwiches and wraps.

4. If I am making turkey stock or soup, I will either throw the meat and bones in the slow cooker overnight or make soup right away while Dustin does the kitchen clean-up.

If you have healthy sides leftovers, you can save some for another day. For example, in the fridge, you can store…

  • Mashed sweet potatoes for 4 to 5 days;
  • Cauliflower mashed potatoes for 4 to 5 days;
  • Cranberry sauce for up to a week;
  • Garlic parmesan green beans for up to 5 days.

In the freezer, you can store…

  • The mashed sweet potatoes for up to 6 months;
  • The cranberry sauce for up to 2 months.

Side view of 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes. The cranberry sauce, mashed sweet potatoes, and cauliflower mashed potatoes are in serving bowls while the garlic parmesan garlic beans are placed on a serving plate.

HEALTHY THANKSGIVING RECIPES

1. Garlic Parmesan Green Beans

These Garlic Parmesan Green Beans are an easy vegetarian side that require just 6 ingredients and 15 minutes!

Overhead view of a white platter with Garlic parmesan green beans.

2. Low Carb Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes

Make this recipe for Low Carb Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes instead of regular mashed potatoes for a clean-eating alternative. Easy to alter for paleo and vegan diets.

Close up of a bowl filled with cauliflower mashed potatoes, one of the 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

3. Homemade Cranberry Sauce

This is the best Homemade Cranberry Sauce ever!  Make your own delicious homemade cranberry sauce using just 4 ingredients! Perfect as an easy Thanksgiving side!

A Jar of cranberry sauce, one of the 4 Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes.

4. Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Just three ingredients needed for this incredibly easy and delicious Healthy Mashed Sweet Potatoes recipe! This recipe is vegan, vegetarian, and refined sugar-free — it’s time to learn how to make mashed sweet potatoes!

Overhead image of a blue bowl of mashed sweet potatoes, with a hand holding a spoon and dipping into it.

5. Loaded Cauliflower Tots

My kids adore these Loaded Cauliflower Tots. They are easy to eat, and little pops of goodness. Perfect with turkey and gravy for dipping!

Tin of baked loaded cauliflower tots that are ready to grab and enjoy.

6. Oven Baked Asparagus Fries

Even more tasty than regular fries, Oven Baked Asparagus Fries are super easy to make and a fun side dish at Thanksgiving. Try ’em!

Overhead view of an oblong bowl filled with Oven Baked Asparagus Fries with a cooling rack and a bowl of dip beside the fries.

7. Thyme Roasted Carrots

Thyme Roasted Carrots are colorful and look right at home alongside all the other lovely veggies at Thanksgiving! Carrots are full of healthy fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.

Overhead image of a parchment paper lined sheet pan of Thyme-Roasted Carrots.

8. Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots

Like the cauliflower tots above, my kids request these all year long, not just at Thanksgiving. Healthy Baked Broccoli Tots are filled with nutrition and fun to eat.

Overhead view of a bowl of Clean Broccoli Tots, with a small container of dip in the bowl with the tots.

9. Southern Style Green Beans

Another delicious side dish that goes so well with turkey and the fixings is Southern Style Green Beans. I love green beans in so many ways!

A close up image of a serving of Southern Green Beans, made with fresh green beans, cooked bacon, low sodium chicken broth, onion and garlic.

10. Easy Sweet Potato Hash

Easy Sweet Potato Hash is a great side dish that is quick to prep and doesn’t take too long to cook. And did I mention YUMMY?

Bowl of sweet potato hash ready to eat, topped with sliced green onions.

11. 10 Minute Sugar Snap Peas With Lemon

Sweet and crunchy – that describes my 10 Minute Sugar Snap Peas With Lemon recipe. These go well with any of the other healthy Thanksgiving recipes listed in this post!

Sugar Snap Peas with Lemon in the pan ready to be transferred to a plate with a wooden spoon. The Sugar Snap Peas were garnished with lemon slices..

12. Sweet Cornbread

I love Sweet Cornbread as a Thanksgiving side. It is moist and has bits of corn in it. Just the way I like it!

Close up side view of a white rectangular dish which contains sweet cornbread. A wooden spatula is being used to remove a piece of the bread.

13. Easy Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

The more cauliflower on my plate, the better! Easy Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower has vitamins C and K, along with good-for-you fiber.

Overhead View of Entire Sheet Pan with Cauliflower topped with Parmesan Cheese, Garlic, Onion, and Olive Oil After Roasting

14. Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts

I’m a big fan of this nutritious little green veggie. If you are not, you will be after you try Honey Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts!

The roasted brussels sprouts are ready to eat and are tender and golden brown, shown on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.

15. Roasted Broccoli

How about Garlic Parmesan Broccoli? Find that healthy Thanksgiving recipe and 3 more broccoli variations here.

Overhead view of a white bowl on a placemat with silverware beside it. The bowl contains Roasted Broccoli.

16. Lemon Roasted Asparagus

Looking for a veggie that cooks in 10 minutes? Try Lemon Roasted Asparagus. This side dish is light and goes well with a turkey dinner. And if you love asparagus, it’s a fabulous recipe to have in your go-to repertoire.

Close up view of a parchment paper lined sheet pan with baked asparagus topped with lemon slices.

17. Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole

I love this delicious and crunchy Sweet Potato Casserole. More fiber and goodness, along with amazing taste!

Image of a clear glass rectangular dish containing Sweet Potato Casserole, with a wooden spoon resting in the casserole and some of it removed.

18. Roasted Acorn Squash

I like to sweeten squash. This Roasted Acorn Squash has just the right amount of sweetness, with no refined sugar and tons of goodness. Fiber and vitamins A and C are just a few of the nutrients.

Overhead view of a blue plate filled with slices of Roasted Acorn Squash, with a serving utensil beside it.

19. Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

These Parmesan Mashed Potatoes are the best-mashed potatoes to pair with turkey. They’re made with Yukon Gold potatoes and the parmesan adds a unique flavor!

Overhead view of a white bowl containing garnished Parmesan Mashed Potatoes, with a fork resting in the potatoes.

20. Healthy Green Bean Casserole

Do you like crispy onions? If you’re a big fan of fresh green beans like I am, then you’ll love this Healthy Green Bean Casserole.

Close up view of a rectangular white casserole dish containing Healthy Green Bean Casserole, with a wooden spoon dipping into the casserole.

21. Healthy Mac and Cheese

With butternut squash, this Healthy Mac and Cheese is the ideal side at Thanksgiving. It’s a must-do healthy Thanksgiving recipe at my house!

Close up view of a casserole dish of Healthy Mac And Cheese, with a wooden serving utensil dipping into the dish.

22. Healthier Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes

Using your crock pot at Thanksgiving is a real time saver. Let these Healthier Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes cook while you work on something else. The flavor is wonderful, too!

Overhead view of a white bowl filled with Crock Pot Mashed Potatoes garnished with chives.. A hand holding a spoon is dipping into the bowl.

23. Thanksgiving Stuffing

We can’t forget this all-important side – it’s savory and a holiday must! Mushrooms, celery, and onions make my Thanksgiving Stuffing recipe super flavorful. It’s easy to make, too!

Overhead view of a loaf dish filled with Thanksgiving Stuffing. Two silver spoons are laying on the stuffing.

24. Homemade Turkey Gravy

Last but not least by any means, Homemade Turkey Gravy is the best – especially when it’s clean-eating gravy. I’ve got that for you right here!

Overhead view of turkey leg and turkey slices on a white plate. Beside it is a jar of Homemade Turkey Gravy and a small serving carafe of gravy.

HEALTHY THANKSGIVING DESSERTS

Thanksgiving dinner is not complete without dessert! Here are my top faves for finishing off this awesome holiday meal just right, even though they aren’t technically sides 😉 !

Overhead image of a glass pie dish containing a Healthy Pecan Pie not yet cut into.

4 Easy + Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dishes

 

This post contains affiliate links for products I use regularly and highly recommend.

Lacey Baier

Hey y’all, I’m Lacey Baier and I’m so glad you’re here! I’m a healthy lifestyle influencer and the creator of this clean-eating blog and YouTube channel, A Sweet Pea Chef. My recipes have been published on Food Network, Good Morning America, FoxNews, Tastemade, Fitness Magazine, and much more. I live in Dallas, Texas with my husband and four kiddos. Let’s get started!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Recent Posts