Healthy Swaps For Traditional Thanksgiving Desserts

You want to have a bite of something sweet to finish off your savory Thanksgiving meal, but desserts are where a lot of fat, calories, sugar, and saturated fats hide. There are some simple healthy swaps that you can make to your Thanksgiving dessert table this year. 

1. Use Non-Dairy Milk Instead of Cream 

A pitcher of almond milk.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Some dessert recipes call for the use of heavy cream, but you can swap it out for non-dairy milk without giving up taste. This is particularly true if the recipe also calls for butter. 

2. Use Fresh Sweet Potatoes

A spoon lifts some Healthy Sweet Potato Casserole up out of a white casserole dish.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

If you are serving up sweet potato pie or sweet potato casserole this year, try using fresh sweet potatoes instead of canned. All you have to do is bake them and scoop out the insides, and they have a lot less sugar and processed ingredients than the canned version does. 

3. Sweeten Your Pumpkin Pie With Maple Syrup

A slice of pumpkin pit next to the pan it was taken from, sitting on a table.
Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

Pumpkin already has a sweet flavor, so there’s no need to throw a punch of sugar into your pumpkin puree. Instead, sweeten it to taste with a little bit of maple syrup and your traditional pumpkin pie spices

4. Make Your Own Cranberry Sauce

A silver serving bowl of cranberry sauce.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Skip the canned cranberry sauce that is packed full of sugar and make your own with fresh cranberries instead. Sweeten the sauce with a little bit of honey and orange juice, or use the recipe here

5. Use Canned Pumpkin, Not Canned Pumpkin Pie Filling

A slice of pumpkin pit next to the pan it was taken from, sitting on a table.
Photo Credit: Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock.

There’s a difference between canned pumpkin pie filling and simply canned pumpkin. Namely, a lot of ingredients that aren’t all that good for you, like high fructose corn syrup. Make sure that you choose 100% pumpkin. 

6. Use Real Whipped Cream Instead of Spray Whipped Cream Or Frozen Whipped Cream

A dollop of whipped cream over fresh blueberries.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

While it may seem like the calorie count should make it the other way around, it’s much better to have real whipped cream than the chemical-laden fake stuff.

7. Replace Oil with Applesauce

A bowl of apple sauce.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

When making bread, muffins, and cakes for your Thanksgiving dinner, replace the oil in the recipe with applesauce. This can also reduce the amount of sugar needed and provide a nice serving of fiber and vitamin C. 

8. Substitute White Flour

An oat flour pie crust in a pie pan.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

When making your Thanksgiving desserts, consider swapping out plain white flour for other types of flour. You can use almond flour, oat flour, or coconut flour to make your favorite desserts healthier. Even whole wheat pastry flour will be a whole-grain upgrade.

9. Swap Butter For Greek Yogurt

A small container of Greek yogurt sitting on a cutting board with a spoon laying across the top.
Photo Credit: olepeshkina/Shutterstock.

In many recipes, you can swap the butter out completely for Greek yogurt in a one-to-one ratio of up to one cup. Keep in mind that this must be Greek yogurt because of the thickness it has. 

10. Use Black Beans Instead of Flour

A stack of black bean brownies on a white surface.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Skip the flour and make a tasty dessert with black beans instead. It definitely sounds weird, but it really works. Check out this recipe for black bean brownies. No one will know unless you tell them.

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A woman writing in a journal at a kitchen counter.
Photo Credit: Monkey Business Images/Shutterstock.

Sick of not having a clue what your body wants from you? Here’s how to narrow it down in a manageable way.

Reading Labels For Clean Eating

A nutrition label.
Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

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Photo Credit: The Gracious Pantry.

Maybe you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule. But specifically, how does that apply to the food you eat? Here’s what it means for you personally.

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Photo Credit: Tatjana Baibakova/Shutterstock

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Fresh fruits and vegetable on a wooden tray.
Photo Credit: Elena Veselova/Shutterstock.

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This article first appeared on The Gracious Pantry.

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