As we prepare for a day of thanks with friends and family, many of us also look forward to delicious Thanksgiving meals shared with our loved ones. Unfortunately, many of the tasty turkey day staples aren’t so healthy for your heart.

The average American consumes about 3,000 calories at Thanksgiving dinner – yikes! Eating a nutritious, well balanced diet and maintaining a healthy weight is important for your heart health.

Many Thanksgiving favorites like mashed potatoes, casseroles and gravy pack tons of sodium and fat, which can eventually cause heart disease if you eat too much of it. Cut back on the sodium and fat with these heart healthy side dishes!

Maple Syrup Glazed Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 40 oz. canned, chopped sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained
  • 1 ¼ tsp. pumpkin pie spice, divided
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 large white eggs
  • ¼ cup unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Drain the sweet potatoes and add them into a large bowl. Using a potato masher or fork, mash well. Stir in 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice, salt and vanilla extract.
  3. Meanwhile, add egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer or a bowl to use with hand mixer. Using a whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on high speed until firm peaks form, about 3 to 4 minutes. Use a spatula to gently fold egg whites into the sweet potato mixture.
  4. Coat a 1 ½-quart baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the sweet potato mixture into the baking dish. Into a small bowl, stir together pumpkin seeds, oil, maple syrup, flour and remaining ¼-tsp. of pumpkin pie spice. Sprinkle over sweet potatoes.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until sweet potatoes are fluffy and topping is golden-brown, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Cauliflower Mash

Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets (about 6-7 cups)
  • 3 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese
  • ¼-cup plain, fat-free Greek yogurt
  • ½ tsp. minced garlic
  • Pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the cauliflower into small florets. In a large pot filled with about 2 inches water, cook cauliflower in steamer basket if possible for about 15 minutes or until very tender. Drain well.
  2. In a blender or food processor or with immersion blender, puree the cauliflower with yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and garlic until creamy (don’t overmix). Pepper to taste.
  3. Serve with turkey or your favorite Thanksgiving main dish!

Eating healthy is a great way to keep your heart in good shape. Find out just how healthy your heart is by taking our fast, FREE heart risk assessment.

Source: American Heart Association