A Healthy Thanksgiving Meal for Under $50

Thanksgiving is the official kick-off to the holiday season. Traditional turkey trimmings, while tasty, are full of hidden fat. This year, be grateful for the ability to go lean, both on your wallet and on your belly. Mind you, we’re not suggesting that you should subject yourself to a diet Thanksgiving—and we’d rather not talk about the year we attended a vegan Thanksgiving meal—but these recipes are more health-conscious ways to enjoy the savory flavors of this American tradition. At any rate, healthy recipes prevent us from feeling guilty when we go up for seconds. Prepare these half-dozen fixings before your guests arrive. All told, they should only cost you about $50 to make. Items that need reheating can replace the turkey in the oven while the turkey rests, pre-carving. From choosing the very best turkey to preparing delicious biscuits, we bring you the complete guide to a healthy and budget-conscious meal with the ones you love.

Choosing Your Bird

The turkey itself will probably be the top determinant of how much you spend on your meal this year. The options generally range from free to about $60: You could win a turkey at a supermarket, pay $1.65 per pound for a fresh commercial bird, or invest about $60 for the goodness of an organic bird. Note that, while organic may not equal frugal, sometimes quality trumps price. The choice is up to you. You can brine your bird, or just stick it into the oven after seasoning. We like to bake our turkey without stuffing, as this shortens the baking time. We put a quartered onion, half of a lemon, and some rosemary into the cavity before tying the legs. Make sure the wings are tucked in before popping the dish into the oven (about 20 minutes per pound).

Check out the slide show for our heart-healthy trimmings.

View Slide Show

Tell us in the comments: What's your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

  • DG

    And if you missed the post about Thanksgiving wines, here’s the link:nnhttp://blog.learnvest.com/living-frugally/entertainment/from-shiraz-to-zinfandel-the-best-wine-to-serve-with-thanksgiving-dinner/nnHappy holidays!

  • nourishthespirit

    What’s the red in the slaw? looks great, thanks

  • Deb

    I really like the recipes, but that isn’t butternut squash in the picture with the spinach custard. Maybe it’s buttercup or hubbard? There’s quite a difference, my boyfriend — who really likes butternut — tells me.

    • DG

      You’re right, Deb- that actual picture isn’t of a butternut squash but the great thing about the recipe is you can use any squash you’d like!nnI find flavor & texture of each squash different- some slightly, some greatly, but absolutely recognizable to be from the same family.nn

  • Steph M

    Hi Deborah! My boyfriend and I had a very fun time preparing this dish! We were so impressed that we took pics before we dove in! It was absolutely delicious!! Thanks for another fantastic recipe!!!