Lightened-Up Thanksgiving Leftovers


During the holidays, it can be hard to stick to a healthy lifestyle. Although indulgences, like a favorite holiday food, are fine in moderation, treating yourself regularly throughout the holiday season can establish poor eating habits that may be hard to break when the new year rolls around. The days after Thanksgiving, when your home is full of delicious leftovers, is a great time to start working on healthy holiday habits. 

It can be hard to know what to do with your Thanksgiving leftovers. You don’t want to waste all that good food, but lots of Thanksgiving staples, like mashed potatoes and stuffing, are less healthy than the foods you eat normally. Aside from that, a week of turkey can get awfully boring. These easy recipes not only use up your leftovers in a way that will keep your family hungry; they lighten up heavier foods so that they fit into your year-round lifestyle!

Turn Your Leftover Turkey Into Delicious Soup

An easy way to use up those Thanksgiving leftovers is in turkey soup. If you are an adventurous cook, start by making your own turkey broth using turkey bones and the vegetables you roasted your bird with, but turkey broth and stock is available at most stores this time of year. Use leftover turkey meat and either fresh or leftover veggies to make a wonderful soup. To pack an extra punch of whole grains, add wild rice. The starch in the rice will thicken the soup to make it extra hearty.

Try This Filling Fall Salad

Chopped turkey and leftover roasted vegetables, like Brussels sprouts and squash, make a great salad. Both the turkey and vegetables can be used warm or cold. Add crunchy fresh vegetables, like carrots and celery, to switch up the textures and make the salad more interesting. The dressing doesn’t need to be exotic; a simple oil and vinegar will make the flavor of your leftovers shine!

A Dinner That Comes Together With Ease

If you don’t want your mashed potatoes to go to waste, incorporate them into a casserole like shepherd’s pie. Shepherd’s pie is easy to make: all you have to do is put the ingredients in a casserole dish and warm it in the oven! Although shepherd’s pie is traditionally made with ground beef, it’s just as good with leftover turkey. Layer sliced turkey and leftover vegetables in a greased casserole dish, then spread the mashed potatoes over the top and bake until hot and bubbly. Leftover stuffing would also be a welcome addition to this casserole – just add it in to the turkey and vegetable mixture.

The Easiest Way to Transform Turkey Leftovers

You might think that turkey sandwiches are the most boring way to eat Thanksgiving leftovers, but that’s far from true! Use whole grain sandwich bread or pita bread for a good source of fiber, and spread the bread with leftover cranberry sauce, your favorite vegetables, and low-fat sharp cheddar cheese. This sandwich is tasty hot or cold, and is an especially good choice for school lunches.

Do you have any favorite healthy Thanksgiving leftover recipes? Share them with us on social media!

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