3 healthy side dishes to make this Thanksgiving


While Thanksgiving is most commonly associated with heavy, high-fat dishes and desserts, it certainly doesn't have to be. Instead of following the gluttonous trend, why not bring a few healthy alternative dishes to the family get-together? These choices will satisfy your palate without adding to your waistline.

These are also great choices to help keep you on track with a healthy diet following your CoolSculpting treatment and enhance those positive results.

Here are three healthy side dish alternatives to make this Thanksgiving:

1. Butternut Squash Soup
Butter your guests up from the start of the meal with this delicious soup from Food Network Kitchen.

Ingredients:

  • 1 2- to 3-pound butternut squash – peeled and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 6 cups chicken stock – low sodium
  • A dash of nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

First, cut the squash into 1-inch chunks. Set aside.

Add butter to a large pot and heat until melted, then add onions and cook until translucent. This should take about 8 minutes.

Once the onions are cooked, add the squash and chicken stock. Bring mixture to a simmer, cooking until squash is tender – this should take about 20 minutes.

Using a slotted spoon, remove squash from pot and add to a blender. Process until it reaches a smooth and creamy consistency, then return puree to the pot. Gradually stir in nutmeg and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

2. Broccoli, Shiitake and Red Onion Roast
Complement your CoolSculpting results with this healthy vegetable dish by Food & Wine magazine.

Use fresh broccoli to create this healthy side dish.Use fresh broccoli to create this healthy side dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1 and 1/4-pound head of broccoli
  • 1/2 pound large shiitake mushrooms –  stems discarded
  • 1 small red onion – sliced crosswise 1/3 inch thick
  • Extra-virgin olive oil – for brushing
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Directions:

First, heat your oven to 425 degrees and prepare two baking sheets with cooking spray.

Trim and peel your fresh broccoli stems, cutting the vegetables lengthwise into long stalks. Spread chopped broccoli on the prepared baking sheet.

On a separate baking sheet, place the shiitake on one side and the onion slices on the other.

Brush broccoli, shiitake mushrooms and onions with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Place baking sheets in the oven and let vegetables roast until tender and lightly browned – this should take about 20 minutes. Remove all vegetables from oven, transfer to a platter and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Enjoy!

3. Green Bean Salad with Toasted Pine Nuts
Don't worry about green bean casserole this year. Instead, try this light take on the classic dish by Rachael Ray magazine.

Ingredients:

  • 1 small red onion – halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • Ice water
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons snipped fresh chives
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts – toasted
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded parmesan

Directions:

Place a medium pot of salted water over high heat. Once the water reaches its boiling point, cook green beans until crisp-tender – this should only take about 2 minutes. Remove, drain and rinse beans under cold water, then pat dry. Set aside.

In a small plastic container, combine olive oil, lemon juice, chives, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cover, shake and set aside.

Place green beans and onions in a large bowl, then toss with dressing mixture. Transfer to a serving dish and top with pine nuts and parmesan. Enjoy!

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