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With Autumn comes some of our favorite holidays, and holidays are all about the company and food. Thanksgiving, in particular, is a time for spending time with family and friends while enjoying a wide array of delicious menu items.
Unfortunately, all of the heavy, carb-laden dishes that dominate the holiday table can leave you feeling sluggish and exhausted. A holiday centered around eating can be tricky to navigate if you need lighter options or have dietary restrictions.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to sneak some healthier options onto your plate without sacrificing any of the flavor.
If you're looking for some high-protein appetizer options to kick off your Thanksgiving feast, you've come to the right place. Here are three apps and side dishes to bring with you to your next Thanksgiving that are both delicious and nutritious.
Spicy Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a great source of vegetarian protein, and they're also packed with fiber and other nutrients.
To make this recipe, simply toss a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas with some olive oil, sea salt, and your favorite spices (We like to use smoked paprika and cayenne pepper for a little kick).
Roast the chickpeas in a preheated 400-degree oven for 15-20 minutes, or until they're crispy and golden. Serve them in a bowl as a crispy snack or use them as a crunchy topping for your favorite salads—the possibilities with this dish are endless!
Turkey and Egg White Meatballs
Turkey is a traditional Thanksgiving protein, and these meatballs are a fun and flavorful take on a classic. The egg whites deliver a kick of protein while cutting out a lot of cholesterol and fat from using the yolk.
Mix together ground turkey, egg whites, minced garlic, chopped parsley, and crushed red pepper flakes. Form the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and bake them in a 375-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until they're cooked through.
Serve them with a dollop of cranberry sauce on top for a festive touch. Wondering where to put them on the table if you’ve already got a turkey roasting in the oven? Incorporate these into your pre-dinner snack spread.
Greek Yogurt and Veggie Dip
Dips are a classic party food, but they're often made with heavy cream cheese or sour cream. This recipe swaps those heavier ingredients for protein-rich Greek yogurt and loads up the dip with plenty of veggies to boost fiber and nutrients.
Simply mix together plain non-fat or 1% Greek yogurt with chopped cucumbers, red peppers, scallions, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
Serve the dip with your favorite sliced vegetables or whole-grain pita chips. The crunchy texture is satisfying with this creamy, slightly tangy dip. It’s incredibly versatile too, so if you’d like to add some herbs or spices, feel free to experiment.
Thanksgiving doesn't have to be a diet-busting holiday or lacking in nutrition. By incorporating some high-protein appetizers into your pre-dinner spread, you can help keep your energy levels high, so you don’t fall asleep before family activities.
Give these three recipes a try and see how delicious healthy holiday eating can be. For inspiration, click here to check out more Thanksgiving recipes. Enjoy your holiday feast!