The Diet Detective: Healthy Recipes for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner

It's just about time for you to start hearing how many thousands of calories you'll consume at one Thanksgiving meal and how much weight you'll gain this holiday season. To help you avoid those extra pounds, we went to some of the country's leading nutritionists, chefs and cookbook authors and came up with a few tasty, healthier makeovers of traditional Thanksgiving recipes.

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Traditional stuffing recipes, which use fatty meat and low-fiber white bread, are not only high in calories but also tend to be low in nutrient value. This healthier makeover substitutes whole-wheat bread to add fiber and leaner turkey in less quantity. It also uses an egg substitute instead of whole eggs and heart-healthy canola oil instead of butter.

Healthy Makeover by: Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., senior nutrition instructor at The Art Institute of New York City. (

  • 3/4 pound lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 30 slices day-old light whole-wheat bread, lightly toasted
  • ? cup egg substitute, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons ground sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup fat-free chicken broth 


  • Cook turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring until evenly browned.
  • Drain and set aside.
  • In a separate saucepan, add oil and cook celery and onions over medium heat until tender, about three to five minutes. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, combine turkey, celery and onion mixture, bread, egg substitute, sage, salt and pepper.
  • Slowly add just enough broth to make the stuffing moist but not mushy.
  • Press the mixture into a baking dish.
  • Bake one hour or until top is brown and crisp.
    Traditional: (per 1.5-cup serving): 394 calories
    Healthier Makeover: (per 1.5-cup serving): 219 calories, 7 grams fat, 28 grams carbohydrate, 17 grams protein
    Saving: 175 calories
    Serves: 10

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