As you tear off October from your wall calendar and take off your Halloween costume, you may already want to start planning for one of the most exciting celebrations of the year– Thanksgiving. For some, it’s time to meet friends and family, some associate the holiday with seasonal discounts at numerous stores, and some may want to relax on a sofa and watch the largest thanksgiving parade or re-watch one of their favorite Thanksgiving movies; However, the most thrilling part of the thanksgiving celebration for all of us remains the Thanksgiving dinner. Delicious food is an inevitable aspect of the holiday, and although the turkey is the superstar of the feast, we shouldn’t underestimate side dishes. Well-prepared healthful side dishes on your table will offer many nutritional benefits, help keep your diets balanced, impress your friends and family, and simply add to your dinner. We know when it may take hours to prepare the delicious turkey, it may be hard to resist the temptation of reaching for a bag of frozen vegetables at the supermarket. That’s why we have chosen the five healthiest dishes for your Thanksgiving feast that are easy to cook and provide you with nutritional benefits, so you can keep your gut and body healthy during the holiday.
1. Cucumber and Tomato Salad
This delicious salad requires no more than slicing and dicing. Cucumber and tomato salad is easy to make and will be an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving dinner. Cucumber is low in calories and is a perfect fruit (yes, cucumber is a fruit) to add to your shopping bag for many essential nutrients and vitamins such as fiber, protein, Vitamin C, and potassium. On the other hand, Tomatoes provide folate, Vitamin K1, Vitamin C, and different antioxidants. These two ingredients make a match made in heaven for your side dish. The best thing about this dish is that it will take you only about 10-15 minutes to make and doesn’t require cooking or many ingredients. There are many variations on how to make the cucumber and tomato salad. The most common way of making this delicious salad is to slice tomatoes, cucumbers, and onions and mix them in a bowl. Add vinegar, lemon sauce, olive oil, salt, and Italian seasoning. Some ingredients you can add to the dish are olives, feta cheese, blue cheese, avocados, or dried fruits.
2. Mashed Butternut Squash
Mashed butternut squash is a delicious and healthy addition to your Thanksgiving feast. It is an effortless way to impress your guests. Squash provides many vitamins and nutrients such as vitamins A, B6, C, magnesium, fiber, folate, riboflavin, phosphorus, manganese, protein, and potassium. Butternut squash is the perfect choice for controlling weight, as 1 pound provides only 207 calories. For a delicious side dish, cut and roast butternut squash in an oven under 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 30 minutes. Blend the Squash with butter using a blender or a food processor. Garnish the mashed butternut squash with pepper, rosemary, or parsley.
3. Roasted Brussel Sprouts
Brussels sprouts will make an excellent side dish for your Thanksgiving dinner, making you look like an experienced chef with not much effort. Brussel sprouts provide you with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, making them a nutritious addition to your feast, with only 195 calories per pound. Most importantly, roasted Brussel sprouts are easy to make and don’t take too much of your oven time, as you may want to keep it vacant for the turkey. Slice off the brown ends and cut them in half—Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle a sheet pan with olive oil, place the sprouts and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Roast them for about 25-30 minutes until crisp and tender when you pierce through a fork. If you want to give some additional flavor to your dish, add some fresh lemon or lime juice, or mix it with fresh herbs such as rosemary, basil, or oregano.
4. Steamed Broccoli
Broccoli is a beautiful addition to your Thanksgiving dinner, providing some of the essential vitamins and minerals such as Vitamin C, Vitamin K1, Folate, Potassium, Manganese, and Iron. Besides, broccoli is rich in fiber, which plays a significant role in your digestion. It is also a good source of protein, with one cup containing 2,8 grams of protein. Because of so many nutritional values, broccoli will be an excellent addition to your Thanksgiving dinner, and luckily, it’s effortless to make a side dish from this healthful vegetable. Steamed broccoli is a delicious side dish that is easy to make and doesn’t require much effort. Cut off the tough lower third of broccoli and cut the remaining part into small florets. Add hot water into the pot and bring water to boil. Place your broccoli in the steaming basket without touching the water surface and then close the lid to the pot. Wait for about 4 to 5 minutes until crisp and vibrant green. Remove the broccoli and place it in the pot. Drizzle steamed florets with lemon juice and olive oil and mix them with chopped garlic clove, salt, and pepper. For more fun and appealing look, cut lemons and add it to your side dish on top of the florets.
5. Roasted Asparagus
There are countless reasons to add asparagus to your diet; it is rich in fiber, provides vitamins A, C, E, K, and B, folate, iron, calcium, protein, and copper. Moreover, asparagus contains many antioxidants. One cup of asparagus contains only 27 calories, so while you are getting many nutritional benefits, you won’t have to worry about controlling your weight. Besides, dietary fiber in asparagus can help maintain weight by improving digestion. Adding asparagus to your Thanksgiving menu is easy and doesn’t require much time investment. Roasted asparagus is a healthful, tasty, and a beautiful side dish you can place next to the turkey. Before roasting asparagus, snap off its woody tips by bending it with your hand until it breaks apart. Sprinkle asparagus with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Preheat the oven to 400 Fahrenheit, and place asparagus on a roasting pan with foil. Let it roast for about 10-15 minutes until it’s easily pierced through by fork—drizzle asparagus with lemon juice or balsamic vinegar before serving for a more appealing taste.
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We hope these health-giving, nutritious, and delicious side dishes will help you enhance your celebration and Thanksgiving dinner, so you can stay healthy and in shape while enjoying the holiday with friends, family, and loved ones.