Savor this Thanksgiving with a Healthy Columbus Feast

Thanksgiving in Columbus and elsewhere is a time to gather with friends and family to eat, visit, laugh, and be grateful for all our blessings. Many of us are trying to lose weight or manage health issues through eating healthy and making wise food choices. Can you do that and still have scrumptious comfort foods for Thanksgiving? YES! The Columbus Team wants to offer you wishes for a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving, and a few recipe ideas to help you make it happen!

Avoiding the sweet potato casserole this year? Don’t miss out on that sweet flavor of fall, without all the butter, cream, and sugary marshmallow topping!

Show-Stopping Sweet Potato Orange Cups Serves 8
4 large sweet potatoes, roughly similar in size
4 oranges
Small can of frozen orange concentrate
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground clove
1/4 tsp allspice or mace
1/2 tsp salt
2-3T bourbon (optional)

1 T white or brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon OR 8 mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 400

  1. Wash, pierce, and bake 4 sweet potatoes for one hour until cooked through and tender
  2. While potatoes are baking, cut 4 oranges in half, juice them, and reserve the juice and save the rinds.
  3. Scoop out orange pulp until you have 8 clean halves.
  4. Cut a small slice off of each rounded end, so that the cups sit up without rolling around.
  5. When potatoes are done, allow to cool until comfortable to handle, but still hot.
  6. Cut potatoes in half, scoop out the flesh into a large bowl, and discard skin.
  7. Mash with fork or pastry cutter while adding the fresh orange juice, until the potatoes are smooth and fluffy.
  8. Add salt and spices, and mix thoroughly. Add bourbon if you choose, and taste.
  9. If the mashed potatoes aren’t sweet enough for you, add a little of the frozen OJ concentrate to sweeten to taste, 1 Tablespoon at a time.
  10. Spoon into orange rind cups, until slightly mounded above the rim.
  11. Mix cinnamon sugar, and sprinkle the tops lightly OR place a single marshmallow on each cup.
  12. Bake again until hot through and tops have browned just a bit, and serve!

Creamy, buttery mashed potatoes carry a whopping amount of calories, fat, and salt even BEFORE the gravy is ladled on…consider roasted potatoes and root vegetables instead! Great flavor, crispy, tender, and salty without the saturated fat and cholesterol of mashed.

Roasted Root Vegetables Serves 6-8
1 lb bag of fingerling potatoes
1 lb bag of baby carrots
3 parsnips
3 beets
1 large red onion
1 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp garlic powder OR 1 crushed garlic clove
1/4 C olive OR canola oil
large ziplock bag or bowl


  1. Cut fingerlings in half, or pierce if small
  2. Peel parsnips, beets, and onion and Cut into chunks about the size of baby carrots and potatoes
  3. Place into bag or bowl
  4. Drizzle with oil and toss (or close bag and shake) until coated
  5. (You can toss the beets separately if you want to keep the other veggies from going pink)
  6. Cover a cookie sheet with foil, and place root vegetable on it (don’t put any excess oil on veggies)
  7. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, thyme, and garlic powder
  8. Roast for 45 min-hour until tender and a little browned, using a spatula to toss halfway through cooking

Trying to serve the traditional Thanksgiving treats with less saturated fat and salt? It’s easier than you might think!

  • Use skim or low fat evaporated milk in your pumpkin or sweet potato pie.
  • Use a yolk free egg substitute like Egg Beaters brand in pies and baked goods to reduce cholesterol and fat.
  • Consider making your stuffing and saute with half butter, half canola or olive oil, just as delicious, but better for your heart.
  • Add fresh herbs and leave out or reduce the salt. You may not miss it with the extra flavor.
  • When making green bean or other casseroles, use low-sodium and low-fat condensed soups.
  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruit, filling up on nutrients and fiber.
  • Use jarred low fat or fat free gravy, but add your own special touches. Herbs, brandy or carmelized onion can add flavor with far less fat and salt than homemade or traditional style prepared gravies.
  • Substitute steamed or blanched veggies for fried or creamed, and add a sprinkle of parmesan or a spritz of lemon to add flavor.