A Powell Twist on Thanksgiving Dinner


Thanksgiving is less than a week away, and I am getting so many questions on how to enjoy this Day of Gratitude without breaking your calorie budget! Not to fear, help is here. 🙂 Today I’m sharing our Powell Thanksgiving family favorites that will save you unnecessary calories while pleasing even the pickiest eaters.

Before I share though, I have to remind you that it IS okay to indulge every now and then, and Thanksgiving Day is one of my favorite times. Remember—every single one of our carb cycles includes a Reward Day. Chris and I highly suggest swapping around your Reward Days, making T-day your Reward Day this week. 🙂

Now for the good stuff. Here are some of our secrets…

For the turkey…

Instead of roasting an entire turkey, and basting (and even filling) it with butter and sauces, try Chris’ and my favorite: Slow-Cooked Turkey Breast. By sticking with boneless, skinless breast and cooking in a slow-cooker, you can get all of the juiciness without the extra calories. And it’s all white meat…my favorite! Season and cook on low all day for an evening meal, or bump it up to high heat and have it ready around noon.

For the stuffing…

What’s Thanksgiving without stuffing? Since half of our family is gluten-sensitive, I cook a delicious gluten-free version of stuffing that we all love. Try our favorite Cranberry Quinoa Stuffing to cut the gluten, the fat, and the calories on this Thanksgiving classic. The best part about this recipe? Gluten-lovers will never know the difference. Chris loves this so much that I make it year round for him!

For the mashed potatoes…

While I won’t be leaving mashed potatoes out entirely this year for those that insist upon their dreamy and creamy potatoes, I love to keep Mashed Cauliflower on the table for those trying to watch their carbs. You won’t believe your buds aren’t tasting spuds when you swap vegetables for carbs. My kids love it and I have a feeling yours will too. Go ahead, pat yourself on the back for getting the kids to devour their vegetables. 🙂

For the sweet potatoes…

By far and away, our family’s favorite side dish is my Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes. This is a delicious twist on a Thanksgiving Dinner tradition. Trust me, these are SO tasty, you’ll be making them year round, like us. 🙂 Honestly, I consider this dish my dessert…yes, they are THAT good!!!

For the green beans…

While Green Bean Casserole is not my absolute favorite thing in the whole world, I do have a recipe that my entire family loves—sans the fat and cals that come with the traditional recipe. Try this healthy twist on the traditional Green Bean Casserole.

For the small sides…

Along with the must have sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all other sorts of yumminess, you can add some smaller dishes too! Beets, raw veggie trays, black olives, and cranberries are a few ideas to spruce up your table and keep smart food choices in front of you. 🙂

For the rolls…

Thanksgiving dinner just isn’t complete without the rolls. With 4 kids and a full plate (no pun intended), this is where I lean on trusted gluten-free brands. Udi’s Frozen Rolls are amazing and are always a hit with the Powell clan. Simply heat your oven and bake the frozen dough balls. They will perfectly complete your Thanksgiving dinner.

For the desserts…

I’m all about indulging in moderation, occasionally, and Thanksgiving is one of my occasions. I have to admit though, when it comes to Thanksgiving dessert, I crave this tasty treat over pie! Chris and I make a Sweet Potato Pudding that tastes just like pumpkin or sweet potato pie but with a fraction of the calories! Enjoy this incredible dessert for just around 150 calories of real, whole, natural food.

From our home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving! And enjoy! 🙂





  1. Angela Lee - October 12, 2017

    A FREE wellness retreat!

    This is my favorite post! because since I saw this healthy Thanksgiving post, I changed my home recipes three years ago and cannot wait to cook them again this November!

  2. Tom Jones - November 23, 2016

    Since my mom was a Powell I thought I’d give your Thanksgiving meal ideas a try, we’re already moving to the turkey breast, and now I’ll try the Maple Pecan Sweet Potatoes, thanks for the ideas.

  3. Nana esi - November 22, 2016

    Chris Powell you have inspired me to work out and I have started losing some weight.thank you

  4. Tara - January 14, 2014

    I am so glad I found you and Chris…you are my new favorite health enthusiasts…I was in the fitness world for many, many years but go out and have found myself at 43, to be overweight…I think 20 lbs could be easy to lose if I was motivated, but I prob need to lose 40 to be realistic….I have experienced so much change and transition in thepast several years that I cannot, excuse me, have not, paid the proper amount of attention to myself and my health. Now, at 43 (approaching 44 in April), I am just disgusted and depressed. I recently signed up to run a 10k at the Hollywood Half Marathon, but I am scared I will not be able to finish and will look like a fat ass. I also have recently been diagnosed with adult asthma and it seems to be getting worse each day…I don’t think is bc I am fat, but I am sure it doesn’t help any. I am hoping that through yours and Chris’ websites, that I will reignite my motivation and make my health be a priority like it used to be. I look forward to reading and learning from you both. Thank you, Tara Montelbano

    • Carol Bruegge - November 5, 2015

      Tara, I’ve gained 3 lbs per year my entire life, with no ability to reverse the trend. Then one day I read the book “From Heavy to Healthy: Kylie Makes It Count”. I put that book down, and I haven’t been the same since. I can see through her story what it takes to be healthy — it is not easy, but can be done. I’m sure there is a trigger for you, that once you see the light for yourself, you can reach your goal. Keep trying. You are not alone in this battle. Carol (Pasadena, CA)

  5. Kimberly - December 23, 2013

    A nice bowl of miso soup made with mushroom broth and one tbsp. white miso per cup of broth is nice to have before dinner. It’s healthy and filling.

  6. Emily - November 26, 2013

    I was wondering what your recipe was for the slowcooker turkey breast!! I would love to try it!! thanks

  7. Amanda - November 25, 2013

    GOT IT. COPYING EVERYTHING. but sadly the mashed cauliflower link was a dud. Black 🙁

  8. Geri Phillips - November 25, 2013

    A Happy Thanksgiving from Clayton, CA to the Powell family, may you always be blessed with all you wonderful children. Smiles to your whole family. God Bless through the holidays.


  9. Chris - November 25, 2013

    A much healthier suggestion is: load up on fresh fruits and veggies before dinner, so that you simply eat less. Trading out full, healthy fats for fake fats is the worst thing we can do for our bodies. Butter is not our enemy, margarine is.

  10. Sharon - November 25, 2013

    My gosh I am impressed…you just had a baby and surgery and had a sick husband and here you are giving us some sensible ideas. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and may it be healthy and happy!

  11. Kendra - November 25, 2013

    My family loves broccoli, cheese, and rice. I use Quinoa to substituted the rice.

  12. Fran - November 25, 2013

    I am so excited because we found an organic turkey and an uncured ham. As for the sides, we will be doing a lot of side ups after Thanksgiving meal.

  13. Eileen - November 25, 2013

    Wow that all sounds delicious!!! Can’t wait to cook my own healthy thanksgiving next year!

  14. Leandra Estrada - November 25, 2013

    do you have something for the red hot chile asado

  15. Anna R - November 25, 2013

    Oh when will dinner be served? I’ll make sure that I’ll be there on time! Lol! Everthing sounds delicious. Please supply recipes (since we all will not fit at your dinner table.

  16. Jackie Lund - November 25, 2013

    Can I be a honorary member of the Powell family this Thanksgiving so I can enjoy your feast. Everything sounds delicious. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  17. debi sutton - November 25, 2013

    I will be the 1 out of 4 trying to diet through the holidays, I’m also the cook so I’ve warned the others we will be trying healthier options. In place of sweet potato casserole -baked sweet potatoes, in place of green bean casserole- garlic roasted Brussel sprouts. Carrot cake as a bundt cake-no icing!

  18. Laura Stidham - November 25, 2013

    Heide your dinner sounds yummy but since I am the only one in my family wayching what they eay. I will jusy have to avoid the mash potatos, which I don’t mind they are not my favorite, I will just eat more veggies and Turkey. Happy thanksiving to you all

  19. Tami - November 25, 2013

    we like the cauliflower too. But I add one real potatoes it help keep them a little thicker and they stay hotter longer.

  20. Mandy - November 25, 2013

    Thanks for all the different moderations. I am truly a fan of both of you. I think it’s amazing on how you both work and take care of your family.

  21. Jennifer - November 25, 2013

    My husband and I are doing a grain free Thanksgiving this year, so we’ll be doing lots of veggie side dishes with the turkey we bought. Instead of green bean casserole I like to roast my green beans with a little olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and lemon. I loved mashed cauliflower too, I wish my husband was a fan of it.

  22. Dina Carlson - November 25, 2013

    thanks for the tips on the different dishes! Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

  23. STAR - November 25, 2013

    Thank you for taking the time for us!! You just had a baby!! God Bless you all!!!

  24. Diane Sanfilippo (@balancedbites) - November 25, 2013

    These sound great. I have also put together a 60-page Healthy Holiday Recipes eBook for those who eat low-carb/Paleo/grain-free/gluten-free. Whew! That’s a mouthful! If anyone wants to download that for free and check it out, you can do so here –> http://balbit.es/healthyholidayebook 🙂 Enjoy!

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