Whether you're a kitchen novice or a culinary expert, serving up an entire Thanksgiving feast is a huge undertaking. This year, make the most of the holiday by slashing your cooking time and squeezing in some extra family bonding with the help of these festive, ready-made dishes.
If you're skeptical of heat-and-eat options on your Thanksgiving table, you're not alone. Many groceries come with sky-high calorie counts, which will transform your feast into an all-out nutritional nightmare. Our choices keep the sugar and fat content in check, so you can reach for that second helping of your favorite side without worrying about the damage you're doing to your waistline.
If you want even more help when it comes to grocery shopping wisely, check out our list of the 46 Best Supermarket Shopping Tips Ever.
Woodstock Farms Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce
It wouldn't be Thanksgiving without this red-hued, tart and sweet sauce. While the sugar content errs on the higher side, Woodstock Farms Organic Jellied Cranberry Sauce is significantly lower than competitor brands such as OceanSpray and Pacific Foods. This canned pick is also entirely organic and features just 4 ingredients so it's a choice you can feel confident about pairing with your turkey.
Bird's Eye Steamfresh Veggie Made Mashed Cauliflower
Want to keep carbs in check this Thanksgiving? Swapping out the potatoes for cauliflower in your mashed side is an easy way to knock the calorie count down without sacrificing much in the way of taste and texture. Bird's Eye's Mashed Cauliflower requires only a zap in the microwave when it comes to prep work and is loaded with flavor thanks to the addition of roasted garlic.
KNOW Better Stuffing
Stuffing is everyone's kryptonite when it comes to Thanksgiving sides, but it doesn't have to be with the help of this healthy swap. KNOW Better's stuffing features a variety of healthy ingredients including almonds, flax seeds, and chia seeds, which results in an impressive nutrition panel, such as 4 grams each of protein and fiber.
Green Giant Sweet Potato Casserole
Making a sweet potato side without a high sugar count is no easy feat, but Green Giant's version fits the bill quite nicely. Another option that requires only a few minutes in the microwave, this casserole includes cinnamon and a bit of butter for a homemade taste without the hours of prep work and potato peeling.
If you want to try your hand at preparing sweet potatoes at home, take a peek at this list of 20 Sweet Potato Recipes for Weight Loss.
Heinz Home Style Fat Free Roasted Turkey Gravy
Dousing an already high-calorie meal in a fatty sauce is not the smartest move nutritionally, so be selective when it comes to gravy. Heinz's Fat Free Roasted Turkey Gravy is made with broth for plenty of flavor with minimal calories, so you can dose your turkey and stuffing in it, guilt-free.
Green Giant Steamers Green Bean Casserole
Another veggie-centric side with the potential to rack up a super high calorie count, this green bean casserole from Green Giant is done the right way. One serving of the microwaveable side will help boost your fiber, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C intake for the day without too much extra sugar and fat. And yes, fried onions are included!
Pepperidge Farms Stone Baked Artisan Multi-Grain Dinner Rolls
When it comes to dinner rolls, not all ready-made options are created equal. Opting for a whole wheat or multi-grain version is an easy way to boost the nutritional profile of your bread. This version by Pepperidge Farm also includes an impressive 6 grams of protein, which will help keep you full.
Dr. Praeger's Sweet Potato Hash Browns
Can't get enough of sweet potatoes during the Thanksgiving season? These hash browns by Dr. Praeger's allow the festive spud to take center stage, resulting in a side dish that is chock full of vitamin A and beta carotenoids.
Tommy's Brussel Sprouts
This superfood is loaded with fiber, vitamin A, and vitamin C, so don't hesitate to go for second helpings. Tommy's version includes other nutrition powerhouses including mushrooms and extra virgin olive oil as well as garlic and paprika for an extra kick.
Green Giant Honey Glazed Carrots
Sweet potatoes are not the only way to load up on beta carotenoids during the holiday season. Carrots, which are traditionally served in a sugary glaze during Thanksgiving, are also rich in this antioxidant. Green Giant's microwave-ready version includes a little added sweetness for that traditional holiday taste without going overboard on the stuff.
Jennie-O Oven Ready Boneless Turkey Breast
Arguably the most important part of any Thanksgiving feast, turkey can be a super-lean way to stock up on protein if you opt for a skinless breast. Jennie-O's Oven-Ready version boasts an impressive 22 grams of the stuff per serving, all for just 1 gram of fat. Best of all, this ready-to-eat cut eliminates the need for carving the bird.
Amy's Light and Lean Macaroni & Cheese
This year-round comfort food often makes an appearance on Thanksgiving tables. While many versions are filled with ample amounts of butter and heavy cream, Amy's Light and Lean option manages to keep the fat count low. Instead, this microwave ready side relies on low-fat milk and reduced-fat cheddar cheese for a healthier kind of creaminess. Since the package is a single serving, be sure to stock up if you're planning on feasting with family.
Birds Eye Vegetables and Sauce Sweet Corn in a Butter Sauce
Generally, anything served in a butter sauce can be a nutritional red flag, but Birds Eye's version keeps the fat content low. A generous ¾ cup serving contains just 2 grams of fat and adds some much-needed fiber and Vitamin C to your Thanksgiving feast.
Seabrook Farm's Frozen Creamed Spinach
Popeye's favorite vegetable usually makes a fancied-up appearance during holiday meals. While some creamed spinach versions are heavy on the fatty sauces and light on the veggies, Seabrook Farm's version lets the iron-rich leafy green take the spotlight. Additionally, one serving of the stuff contains 80% of your daily value of Vitamin A, so dig in guilt-free. Spinach is also a nutritional powerhouse, which is why it made our list of the 30 Best Anti-Inflammatory Foods.
Earthbound Organic Frozen Roasted Red Potato
If you decide to add some more spuds to your Thanksgiving menu, be sure to opt for a roasted version to minimize the calorie count and maximize the nutritional profile. Earthbound's roasted red potatoes come with their skin on for an added boost of fiber. They contain no added oil or seasoning, making them a great choice for killing a potato craving without any extra sugar or fat.
Hodgson Mill Cornbread Mix
When it comes to cornbread mixes, be sure to look for one with minimal amounts of added sugar and as much fiber as you can find. Hodgson Mill's version is a solid choice as it boasts 3 grams of fiber per serving and only 5 grams of sugar. When it comes to baking, opt for combining the mix with ¾ cup low-fat milk, 1 egg, and 1 tablespoon of butter for a wholesome take on this Southwestern favorite.
Mott's Unsweetened Applesauce
Making applesauce at home is a time-intensive process that includes peeling and coring pounds of apples, so we don't blame you if you want to opt for the jarred version. Mott's Unsweetened Applesauce is a great way to indulge in a fresh-from-the-orchard taste without racking up plenty of added sugar and calories.
Trader Joe's Pistachio Cranberry Bites
This crunchy dessert is a great way to get your cranberry fix long after the main course has wrapped up. The addition of agave syrup makes these bites taste like a treat while pistachios add some protein and healthy fat to balance out the sugar.
Halo Top Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream
The next time you're hit with a pumpkin pie craving, try this cold and creamy option. One of Halo Top's newer, seasonal flavors, the company's pumpkin pie ice cream includes pieces of real pie crust and actual pumpkin. A serving of this snack is a low-calorie, high-protein way to indulge in your favorite festive dessert.
Trader Joe's Apple Cranberry Tarts
If you absolutely must have a few bites of real, buttery pie, consider opting for this Trader Joe's creation. The tarts are large enough to split, which is your best bet if you're looking to keep calories in check. A combination of two autumn favorites, apples and cranberries, make this dessert the perfect fall indulgence.
Want to learn more about what to eat (and what to avoid) on Thanksgiving? Check out this list of Every Classic Thanksgiving Dish Ranked.