5 Ways to Make a Healthier Thanksgiving Stuffing

5 Ways to Make a Healthier Thanksgiving Stuffing

What is your favorite part of stuffing?  It is the flavor, the texture or the crunch?  Perhaps it is all three of these characteristics.  Most stuffings are fattening because of the butter, the bread and the meat.  Now I would never suggest to get rid of all these things.  But you can swap out or lessen the amount of these ingredients.

I began to think about this after speaking with one of my brothers today in our discussion about the overall game plan for Thanksgiving.  I told him I was changing things up.  I finally decided to give in and allow my husband to do a deep fried turkey.  I have rejected this request for 10 years.  I do not have much interest in deep-fried anything.  But everyone who has had it, brags about how good it is.

When I told him I was not doing our family turkey recipe, it dawned on him, I would not be doing the stuffing either.  So he asked if I could teach him how to do the stuffing.

I explained to him that I changed the recipe I have been making about 10 years ago. He was shocked when I explained the changes I had made to our mother’s original recipe.  He remembered it as always tasting the same.  I told him I never mentioned it to anyone because I didn’t want it to be rejected, but wanted to simply lower the fat and calories.

I am going to begin with my stuffing, 1.) I have been using turkey sausage (around 85%-90% lean) instead of pork with no complaints for over 10 years.  I use Italian style turkey sausage and I drizzle olive oil and garlic over it before putting it in the oven to bake.  I also cover each sausage with white onion, so they each look like there is a white blanket on them while they are cooking.  2.) The combination of the fat, with the olive oil and extras, provide a delicious juice that I use instead of adding butter to the breading.  3.) I also toast and crumble-up amazing multi-grain bread.  It may not be lower in calories, but the nutritional value of a whole grain bread verse white bread is enormous.  So, I eliminate the butter, boost the nutritional content with better bread and reduce the calories by 100 and grams of fat by about 10 using turkey instead of pork (per 3 oz of meat).

4.) If rice stuffing is the tradition in your family, I encourage you to replace the white basmati rice with a mixture of organic brown rice or brown basmati and quinoa.  I have made a stuffing with quinoa and although it is bland on its own, it is irrelevant because stuffing is all about how you season it.  In fact, if you combine the quinoa with a high quality brown rice, the quinoa will add a great texture to the stuffing that it will most likely go unnoticed.  The addition of quinoa to your stuffing will turn your stuffing into a power food.  Quinoa is one of the healthiest foods on our planet.  5.) If nuts come along with your family recipe, then even better.  The combination of quinoa and nuts will provide you with sustenance for a 4-hour workout the next day.  But a great addition to any stuffing is nuts.  I think that sliced almonds are an ideal way to make your stuffing healthier.  Although nuts have a lot of calories, the protein and unsaturated fat content, will make your muscles happy.  Although I have had stuffing’s with pecans in them, I prefer the way the almonds taste with apples, cranberries and mushrooms.  The trick is to add them towards the end so they don’t get too soggy.

Enjoy your holiday and remember if people ask you why did the turkey cross the road, just tell it is the chicken’s day off!


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  • Great tips! Now you have me craving stuffing! Only a few days to go :)

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