Healthy Versions of Popular Thanksgiving Side Dishes

With the average Thanksgiving meal packing 4,500 calories, it’s no wonder why we are full to the point of immobility after eating it. Avoid feeling stuffed like the turkey and kick off those New Year resolutions early by making healthy versions of these tried and true side dishes.

Sweet Potato Banana Casserole

Serves 8-10, serving size 4 ounces


  • 4 pounds sweet potato
  • 2 pounds banana, green tip, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3 ounces oats
  • 3 ounces walnuts, raw, coarsely chopped
  • 2-3 ounces raw honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Roast sweet potatoes, skin on, for 20-25 minutes, until just fork tender.
  2. Once slightly cooled, peel both the sweet potatoes and bananas, and place in a mixing bowl.. Mash with a fork or firm whisk.
  3. Spoon mixture evenly into an oven-proof baking dish. Smooth the top layer with a spatula.
  4. Combine walnuts, oats, and honey in a bowl, mix well, then spread on top of casserole.
  5. Bake at 275 degrees for 20-25 minutes. If crust begins to brown, cover with aluminum foil.

Nutritional Information, per serving:
Calories: 254 Fat: 13.9 g Cholesterol: 0 Sodium: 109 mg Fiber: 27.7 g Sugars: 28.7 g Carbohydrates: 54 g Protein: 8.5 g

Guten-Free Stuffing 
Serves 4


  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted chicken stock (or low-sodium broth)
  • 12 ounces toasted gluten free bread, cubed and toasted (gluten free bagels work well)
  • ½ cup jarred roasted chestnuts, quartered
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups leek, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, diced
  • 2 green apples, peeled and cut into cubes
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Combine chicken stock and canola oil. Add toasted gluten-free bread cubes.
  2. Bake chestnuts at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Cover dried cranberries with boiling water. Let stand 20 minutes; drain.
  3. Sauté leek in canola oil over medium heat 5 minutes. Add chestnuts, cranberries, leeks, celery, apples, sage, salt, and pepper to bread mixture.
  4. Bake stuffing at 350 degrees for 45 minutes in an 11 x 7-inch ­baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Nutritional Information: calories: 205; fat: 4.5g; saturated fat: 0.9g; monounsaturated fat: 2.3g; polyunsaturated fat: 1g; protein: 5.3g; carbohydrate: 36.1g; fiber: 3.1g; cholesterol: 18mg; sodium: 358mg.


Chef Richard Plasencia, executive chef at South Miami Hospital, is an award-winning chef who is passionate about creating and sharing fresh local and seasonal recipes seasoned with flavor and good health. In addition to an interest in nutrition, Chef Richard has an extensive history in the hospitality industry.

He served as Chef at Town Kitchen & Bar, Jake’s, Hyatt Regency Coral Gables, Shore Club, Por Fin, and the Conrad Hotel. He also was part of several teams that received the Mobile 4 and 5 star awards, as well as Cioppino being named to America’s Top 50 restaurants by Esquire Magazine in 2005, during his time at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne. Chef Richard graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

Language Preference / Preferencia de idioma

I want to see the site in English

Continue In English

Quiero ver el sitio en Español

Continuar en español