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Healthier (+Oh So Tasty) Thanksgiving Side Dishes

Buttery mashed potatoes. Creamy green bean casserole. Sweet side dishes. The Thanksgiving staples. You know I’m all about a splurge and totally cool with treat meals. I believe the Thanksgiving meal is to be enjoyed.

BUT… if we could make a dish just as great as the original but lightened up just a little – why not, right?!

healthy thanksgiving side dishes recipes

If you’re doing some of the cooking this year for Thanksgiving, check out the lightened up options below. I made sure they’re still tasty.

Just a little something I’ve found… when serving these, tell your guests you tried a new recipe but don’t advertise the dish as “healthy.” Don’t you feel when you serve people a “healthy” meal they seem to judge it more harshly; I often get “well it’s good for a healthy meal.” Yet, when I don’t share the meal is a healthier version, no one ever notices lol. Do you find that too??

What are you up to this Thanksgiving??

This is our first Thanksgiving as a family of three. We decided to take a family trip to Naples, FL where Anthony’s grandparents (Leo’s great grandparents) live. It will be their first time meeting him. My in-laws and brother-in-law will also be joining! I’m so looking forward to lots of family time and Leo’s first trip to the beach.

I’ve worked so hard lately in the gym and with what I’ve been eating, so I’m going to try my best to keep that a priority while we are away. I feel like that’s what the Fitmas Challenge is all about; we all have more celebrations, trips, etc. so doing the best you can with what you have available will be the theme for the next few weeks.

Okay, enough rambling… I am excited for you to try the recipes below and please please please let me know what you and your guests think!

-HEALTHIER GREEN BEAN CASSEROLE-

green bean casserole healthy recipe on white plate

This is my all time favorite Thanksgiving dish. It’s normally super creamy and high in fat but I found a way to lighten it up while still keeping it delicious! 

-MASHED “FAUX-TATOES”-

mashed potato recipe made of cauliflower

I feel like the faux-tatoe craze is pretty popular. I was eating at Tommy Bahamas restaurant last week and they actually served that with the steak I ordered! I loved it and you can barely taste a difference. I loveeee the version I created… it’s all about the spices and herbs used!

-THANKSGIVING SLAW-

healthy thanksgiving slaw recipe in a white bowl

This side dish was tastier than I ever expected. I feel like it’s the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving staples and super easy to make, so if you’re looking for a little somethign extra to whip up but don’t have a lot of time, try this one! I also will be enjoying this well beyond Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Slaw Healthy Recipe

The perfect Thanksgiving side dish that requires just a few minutes of your time to put together. I love the sliced almonds and dried cranberries on this especially with the easy, homemade dressing!

healthy thanksgiving slaw recipes

INGREDIENTS:

DRESSING INGREDIENTS:

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 tbsp rice vinegar

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp honey

1.4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

2 tbsp finely diced shallots or red onion

 

SLAW INGREDIENTS:

1 (2 1/2 lb.) head purple or green cabbage, cored & thinly sliced

1/2 cup sliced almonds

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

 

Combine the oil, vinegars, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Stir in the shallots.

In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, almonds, cranberries and parsley.

Drizzle with dressing and toss well.

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Thanksgiving Slaw
Course Sides
Servings
Ingredients
Course Sides
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Combine the oil, vinegars, mustard, honey, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Stir in the shallots
  3. In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, almonds, cranberries and parsley.
  4. Drizzle with dressing and toss well.

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lauren gleisberg French toast healthy eating recipes

 

Super Fast Garlic Rosemary Cauliflower Mashed Potato Recipe

That recipe title is a mouthful lol. 1) This recipe is quick to prepare 2) The garlic and rosemary combination is beyond tasty 3) cauliflower has officially created the faux-tatoe which is equally yummy 4) it’s a healthier Thanksgiving side dish you and your guests will actually enjoy

lauren gleisberg healthy cauliflower mashed potato recipe

INGREDIENTS:

1 large head cauliflower, chopped into florets

3 oz. Neufchatel cheese

2 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee

2 tbsp unsweetened almond milk (optional)

2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp garlic, diced

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Drop in the cauliflower and cook for 8 mins or until tender.

Drain and place in a food processor. Add in the rest of the ingredients and process until smooth.

 

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lauren gleisberg healthy cauliflower mashed potato recipe

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Healthy Green Bean Casserole Recipe

Green Bean Casserole… my favorite Thanksgiving recipe! This Thanksgiving side dish staple could use a bit of lightening up. Butttt, I’m not willing to compromise taste for that. I’m super impressed with how this dish came out. It’s definitely healthier than the original but still delivers on the delicious-ness. 

INGREDIENTS:

5 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee

3 tbsp unbleached flour

3/4 cup chicken broth

3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 (48 oz.) bag frozen green beans, thawed

1 (3 oz.) container French Fried Onions

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1 min.

Stir in the broth and milk, bringing to a light simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the green beans and cook for 5 mins or until warmed through.

Great a 13×9 inch baking dish and pour in the green bean mixture; top with fried onions.

Bake for 20 mins or until bubbly. 

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Green Bean Casserole Recipe
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add the flour and stir for 1 min.
  3. Stir in the broth and milk, brining to a light simmer. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the green beans and cook for 5 mins or until warmed through.
  5. Get a 13x9 inch baking dish and pour in the green bean mixture; top with fried onions.
  6. Bake for 20 mins or until bubbly.

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HEALTHY CREAMY SALSA DIP RECIPE

I’m seriously kicking myself for not thinking of this guilt-free, delicious snack sooner. At only 5 ingredients and all of 3 minutes to prep, it’s something everyone can make!

So, I love the football/fall season we are in but not because of the sport or cooler weather haha. I enjoy the atmosphere it creates in the home on Sunday.

I’s relaxed. There’s chili cooking on the stove. I’m cuddled under a blanket surrounded by my family. Football is on the television. I’m not watching but likely perusing Instagram or filling my online shopping cart with items I’ll probably never purchase haha. And, there are delicious snack sprawled across the table.

I’m all about eating treats on occasion and enjoying that healthy balance. BUT, I’ve also found there are a lot of ways I can enjoy snacks that are still healthy. This is one of them! Seriously, I think I’m making this for every party I host. I hope you and all your guests enjoy it as much as my friends and family have!

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup salsa

1 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

1 tsp chili powder

1 tsp ground cumin

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients

2. Refrigerate for 1 hour so the flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.

 

Print Recipe
Creamy Salsa Dip recipe
Course Sides
Servings
Course Sides
Servings
Instructions
  1. In a medium bowl, combine all of the ingredients
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour so the flavors blend. Serve with tortilla chips or vegetables.
Recipe Notes

Recipe yields ~2 cups & makes 4 servings (1 serving = ~ 1/2 cup)

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HEALTHY MEXICAN STREET CORN RECIPE

At one of the recent summer BBQs I was at, they were serving “Mexican Street Corn.” I’ve never heard of that or eaten it prior to that party, but it looked delicious. And, I can’t ever resist corn on the cobb especially during summertime.

One bite in and I was hooked. I asked what was on it and the recipe wasn’t exactly something I would consider “healthy” (mostly just because of the mayo/cream sauce they used). Still, I knew it was something I could health up with some simple recipe substitutions. 

If you love corn on the cobb, you will go crazy for this simple side recipe! It’s truly so easy to make and on the grill it’s done in no time.

INGREDIENTS

4 ears fresh corn, shucked

2 tsp olive oil

2 tbsp plain, nonfat Greek yogurt

1 tsp paprika or chili powder

1 tsp Mrs. Dash Fiesta Lime seasoning

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 tbsp shredded parmesan

2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped (optional)

Lime wedges/juice to taste (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

Brush corn with oil.

Grill for 10 mins turning frequently.

When corn is charred in spots and cooked through, brush with yogurt. Season with paprika or chili powder, Fiesta Lime seasoning, salt and pepper. Top with parmesan.

Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, if using.

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Mexican Street Corn Recipe
Instructions
  1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
  2. Brush corn with oil.
  3. Grill for 10 mins turning frequently.
  4. When corn is charred in spots and cooked through, brush with yogurt. Season with paprika or chili powder, Fiesta Lime seasoning, salt and pepper. Top with parmesan
  5. Garnish with cilantro and lime wedges, if using.

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HEALTHY MEDITERRANEAN PASTA SALAD RECIPE

I’ve been on a total pasta salad kick lately as you can probably tell by the recipes I share. They’re easy to throw together, they last throughout the week, and they pack well for on-the-go…. all of which I love. Usually, I’m a big brown rice pasta fan but they don’t store all that great nor do they work the best in pasta salads. I recently tried soba noodles! 

Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle that are made from buckwheat flour. They have a slightly nutty flavor and works really well in pasta salads and cool meals. It’s very comparable to spaghetti in shape and thickness. You can use any pasta of your choice, but if you’re looking for something new and healthier than traditional pasta, this is a good pick!

INGREDIENTS

Salad Ingredients:

12 oz. Soba noodles

1 English cucumber, sliced and halves

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced

1/4 cup halved green olives

2 tbsp shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)

Lemon Oregano Dressing Ingredients:

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp sherry vinegar (can use balsamic as a sub)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tsp dijon mustard

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

Cook noodles according to package directions; drain in a colander and run under cold water. Place noodles in a large bowl.

Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives and cheese.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper; drizzle over salad.

 

 

Print Recipe
Mediterranean Pasta Salad Recipe
Instructions
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions; drain in a colander and run under cold water. Place noodles in a large bowl.
  2. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives and cheese.
  3. Add the cucumber, tomatoes, onion, olives and cheese.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, oregano, salt and pepper; drizzle over salad.

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HEALTHY CHOCOLATE CHIP GREEN MUFFIN RECIPE

I’ve been wanting to create a sweet muffin recipe with spinach snuck in forever. The results… these are delicious and green! How stinkin’ adorable are they?! When I whipped up a batch, I ate them with a protein shake for breakfast otherwise they make a great take along item for any meal you’re eating on the go or outside of your home.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups baby spinach

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut oil, room temp

2/3 cup agave syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 eggs

1 very ripe banana, mashed

2 cups unbleached flour

3 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp sea salt

2 tbsp dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Process the spinach and applesauce in a large blender until smooth.

In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the spinach mixture, coconut oil, agave, vanilla, eggs and banana until smooth. 

Add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well blended. 

Divide mixture between 6 large cupcake liners, and top with chocolate chips. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 

Let cool on cooling rack.

 

Print Recipe
Chocolate Chip Green Muffin Recipe
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Servings
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Servings
Instructions
  1. Process the spinach and applesauce in a large blender until smooth.
  2. In a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the spinach mixture, coconut oil, agave, vanilla, eggs and banana until smooth.
  3. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well blended.
  4. Divide mixture between 6 large cupcake liners, and top with chocolate chips.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Let cool on cooling rack.
Recipe Notes

Recipe makes 6 muffins (1 serving = 2 muffins)

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Blend + Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin Recipe

October is officially the time when I try to include pumpkin into everything! I’ve made pumpkin muffins before, but never have they been this easy with a simple blend and bake prep! Plus, they’re ingredient profile is so clean and nutritious, they make for the perfect pairing with any meal. I even had 2 with eggs for breakfast the other day!

chocolate-pumpkin-muffins

INGREDIENTS

2 ¼ cups oats

2  eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

½-3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk

½ cup organic maple syrup

4 tablespoons melted ghee or coconut oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon allspice

½ cup dark chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


Place the oats, eggs, pumpkin puree, ½ cup almond milk, maple syrup, ghee/coconut oil, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice in a blender. Process until smooth. (Note: If mixture is too dry, add additional ¼ cup almond milk.)


Stir in the chocolate chips


Fill 6 muffin liners ¾ full


Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean


Let the muffins cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack

 

screen-shot-2016-10-12-at-10-03-22-pm

*recipe makes 6 muffins (1 serving = 2 muffins)

 

Print Recipe
Blend + Bake Chocolate Pumpkin Muffin Recipe
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Servings
Course Breakfast, Sweets
Servings
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Place the oats, eggs, pumpkin puree, ½ cup almond milk, maple syrup, ghee/coconut oil, vanilla, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice in a blender. Process until smooth. (Note: If mixture is too dry, add additional ¼ cup almond milk.)
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips
  4. Fill 6 muffin liners 3/4 full
  5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean
  6. Let the muffins cool for 10-15 minutes on a cooling rack
Recipe Notes

Recipe makes 6 muffins (1 serving = 2 muffins)

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Slow Cooker Risotto Recipe

I don’t usually bring out the crockpot during summer, so when I do, you know it will be good! The best benefit of slow cooker meals is that it’s prep + party (party aka no hands on cooking lol)

Rice is one of my carbohydrate staples. If you follow me on snapchat, you know I’m a big fan on risotto for rice that is always moist and tasty!

Arborio rice is the rice used in risotto and it actually has some surprising benefits!

1) HIGH IN PROTEIN – arborio rice offers up to 9 grams of protein per 1/4 cup of rice

2) EASY TO DIGEST – I typically eat grains as moderation for digestion reasons, but arborio rice actually helps aid in digestion and restores regular bowel function

SlowCookerRisotto

I N G R E D I E N T S

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 small red onion, diced

¼ teaspoon ground sea salt

¼ teaspoon freshly ground red pepper

1 ¾ cup arborio rice

4 cups natural, low sodium chicken broth

12 asparagus stalks, rough ends removed

¼ cup parmesan, grated

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

I N S T R U C T I O N S

Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small frying pan.

Add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.

Add the rice to the pan, and sauté for 1 minute.

Spray a 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.

Pour the rice and onion mixture into the slow cooker. Add the broth and cook on high for 1 ½ hours.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Place asparagus in a steamer basket, and steam until bright green and crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes.

Stir the parmesan and asparagus into the risotto. Garnish with parsley.

Screen Shot 2016-07-11 at 8.25.56 PMrecipe makes 5 servings

 

Print Recipe
Slow Cooker Risotto Recipe
Instructions
  1. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a small frying pan.
  2. Add the onion, and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 5-7 minutes, or until softened.
  3. Add the rice to the pan, and sauté for 1 minute.
  4. Spray a 4-5 quart slow cooker with cooking spray.
  5. Pour the rice and onion mixture into the slow cooker. Add the broth and cook on high for 1 ½ hours.
  6. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Place asparagus in a steamer basket, and steam until bright green and crisp tender, about 3-5 minutes.
  7. Stir the parmesan and asparagus into the risotto. Garnish with parsley.
Recipe Notes

Recipe makes 5 servings

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