Healthy Thanksgiving Side Dish

Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks and celebrate the abundance the season has to offer. Unfortunately for most Americans this means overindulging in high calorie and high fat foods. I read in my American Council on Exercise newsletter ( that the average Thanksgiving meal with all of the fixings can be in the vicinity of 3000 calories and 229 grams of fat! Now unless you are competing in an Ironman race in the days before Thanksgiving, (a 160 lb person would need to run at a moderate pace of four hours, swim for five hours or walk 30 miles to burn off ~3000), you might want to think about incorporating at least one or two healthy options in your meal. Oh and that number doesn’t even include the appetizers and pre-meal snacking so you would probably need to add in a bike ride of an hour or two as well.

Personally, I won’t be feasting until I have done my run, maybe ridden my bike and of course walked my dog. I also know that I am in the minority when it comes to what will be on my Thanksgiving table. I will be cooking a Tofurkey ( ), green beans, Brussels, maybe some lima beans, and my healthy pumpkin muffins for dessert. However, I wanted to encourage everyone to add at least one very healthy side dish this season so thought I would post a “mock” mashed potato recipe.

The Mayo Clinic website has a nice basic recipe for cauliflower mashed “potatoes” but I just can’t look at a recipe without putting my personal spin on it. So the one posted here is a combination of several that I looked at.


1 head cauliflower

1 leek, white part only, cut into pieces

1 clove garlic

¼ cup skim milk or soy or almond

1-2 Tbs olive oil

Salt, pepper, and paprika

1. Place cauliflower, garlic, and leeks in a steamer basket; place in a saucepan over 1 inch of water. Bring to a boil; cover and steam for 8-10 minutes or until tender. Cool slightly.

2. Place the milk and oil in a food processor or blender. Add the vegetables, salt and pepper; cover and process until blended.

3. Either transfer to a bowl and serve immediately; or pour into a baking dish, sprinkle with paprika and bake until bubbly.

The nutritional analysis using 1 Tbs olive oil and 4 servings is:

100 calories, 3 grams of fat, 15 grams of carb, 6 grams of fiber, and 5 grams of protein.

Enjoy the holiday and practice moderation!