A somewhat-healthier Thanksgiving: 15 delicious, shame-free recipes

Pumpkin pancakes with chocolate chips. Overhead view
Vegan and gluten-free pumpkin pancakes Start off the big day with this recipe (which has a sugar-free option). It substitutes oats and is well-suited for freezing. Make a big batch a few days before and freeze some, so you can just microwave breakfast and spend that time prepping the big dinner. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/los_angela)
Homemade Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Cut Into Slices
Healthier chocolate chip pumpkin bread Let’s get real: Snacking will happen before the big meal, unless you’re some sort of nutrition monk (and kudos to those of you who can pull that off). Keep the appetite at bay with this pumpkin bread that uses whole wheat flour instead of the refined white stuff. You probably won’t notice any difference. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/bhofack2)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**   Roasted Butternut Squash with Roasted Walnut oil and Pomegranate Seeds is seen Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. The recipe is from Mollie Katzen's new book "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without."    (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Roasted Butternut Squash with Roasted Walnut oil and Pomegranate Seeds Butternut squash is the thinking-man’s pumpkin, and the holidays are this oddly shaped little fella’s time to shine. Check out this lighter take on a cold-weather classic. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe) (AP/LARRY CROWE)
This Sept. 14, 2015 photo shows Indian butternut squash carrot soup in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Indian butternut squash carrot soup Aggressive seasoning takes squash soup to the next level. Go healthier by substituting the butter with olive oil and by skipping the heavy cream. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
oven pan roasted brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, sweet red peppers, spices and garlic shot in kitchen studio
Roasted brussels sprouts with garlic Roasted sprouts have caught on as a side because it’s not all that hard to make those tiny, nutritious cabbages taste delicious. This recipe results in a texture that defies the “eeewww” reaction you had as a child. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/lonniejrobin) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/lonniejrobin)
This Oct. 7, 2013 photo shows sesame kale salad in Concord, N.H. This dish is simple, healthy and would go well on the Thanksgiving table. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Sesame kale salad A somewhat-healthier holiday meal doesn’t consist of just brown food. You got to throw some mean greens onto that plate. This salad is a fantastic option. And don’t forget to massage that kale! (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** Comfort food does not have to also mean unhealthy. A few careful ingredient changes from the classic recipe gives this Macaroni and Cheese Light, shown on Jan. 29, 2008, the flavor you look for with much less fat. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Lighter mac ‘n’ cheese The dairy-heavy classic eases up on the milkfat in this recipe, replacing the butter and some of the cheddar with pureed cottage cheese. A little ancho chili pepper and dijon mustard keep things interesting. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/LARRY CROWE)
This Jan. 1, 2018 photo shows cauliflower mashed potatoes, bottom right, in New York. Not only is this purée tasty, smooth, and light, it’s also the perfect vehicle for any sauce…just like mashed potatoes. (Sara Moulton via AP)
Cauliflower “mashed potatoes” The nation’s cauliflower craze rages on: This purée is tasty and smooth like a certain big-meal staple, but it’s lighter and only involves four ingredients. (Sara Moulton via AP) (AP/Sara Moulton)
This Sept. 28, 2015, photo shows vegetarian harvest roast in Concord, N.H. This harvest roast is bold and substantial, just the vegetarian anchor you need to go alongside the mashed potatoes, stuffing and Brussels sprouts. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Vegetarian harvest roast A worthwhile option for those tired of turkey (and Tofurkey). This “anchor” dish is made with mushrooms, grains, various nuts, lentils and cheese. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
This Oct. 12, 2015, photo shows a roasted Thanksgiving turkey gravy in Concord, N.H. Regardless of how you cook the turkey, experts say to make sure you let it sit, undisturbed, on a cutting board or platter for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the bird to finish cooking more gently and reabsorb all of its juices, producing moist meat. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
Fat-free vegan gravy It’s not a myth. It is real — and easy to make. One tip with this recipe is to substitute liquid aminos for the soy sauce. The latter can come across as too sweet, and you’re definitely aiming for savory here. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead) (AP/Matthew Mead)
sugar free cranberry sauce with addition of blueberry, apples and honey - small bowl, jar and spoon
Sugar-free cranberry sauce Only four ingredients go into this recipe. One is a natural sweetener called erythritol, which you can find here. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/marekuliasz)   (Getty Images/iStockphoto/marekuliasz)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**     Mashed Sweet potatoes, Apples and Honey is seen in this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008 photo. Sweet potatoes, sometimes incorrectly referred to as yams which are uncommon in North America, are low in calories and high in important vitamins and flavor. This  Mashed Sweet potatoes, Apples and Honey can be prepared in a microwave, freeing up needed stove top space. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Mashed sweet potatoes, apples and honey This recipe features … uhh … mashed sweet potatoes, applesauce and a touch of honey. The prep time on this sweet little number is negligible. Even better: It just requires the microwave, so you won’t have to concern yourself about space on the stove or in the oven. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Larry Crowe)
A slice of pumpkin (or sweet potato) pie with whipped cream and a fork.
Vegan sweet potato pie Tired of pumpkin pie? Change things up a little. This recipe turned out surprisingly well on one aspiring baker‘s first attempt. and it’s making a triumphant return this year. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/lisafx) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/lisafx)
Healthy pecan pie Pecan pie as we know it consists of 1) pie crust, 2) those pecans on top and 3) that wonderful gelatinous corn-syrup-based filling. This recipe substitutes all that corn syrup with … wait for it … actual pecans. They’re held together with a filling — honey, eggs, coconut oil, etc. — that’s drizzled over before it all goes into the oven. (Getty Images/iStockphoto/AdShooter) (Getty Images/iStockphoto/AdShooter)
This photo taken Nov. 8, 2009 shows cherry-apricot crumb pie. A slice of pie on Thanksgiving is as traditional as a serving of turkey. You can make this tradition healthier by making good choices when choosing the crust. This cherry-apricot crumb pie is topped with a low-fat oat crumble made with whole-wheat flour that helps reduce any dietary regret. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
Cherry-apricot crumb pie This fruit pie substitutes the upper pastry crust with a low-fat oat crumble. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
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Pumpkin pancakes with chocolate chips. Overhead view
Homemade Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread Cut Into Slices
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**   Roasted Butternut Squash with Roasted Walnut oil and Pomegranate Seeds is seen Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007. The recipe is from Mollie Katzen's new book "The Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without."    (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
This Sept. 14, 2015 photo shows Indian butternut squash carrot soup in Concord, N.H. This dish is from a recipe by Katie Workman. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
oven pan roasted brussel sprouts in olive oil, salt, sweet red peppers, spices and garlic shot in kitchen studio
This Oct. 7, 2013 photo shows sesame kale salad in Concord, N.H. This dish is simple, healthy and would go well on the Thanksgiving table. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES** Comfort food does not have to also mean unhealthy. A few careful ingredient changes from the classic recipe gives this Macaroni and Cheese Light, shown on Jan. 29, 2008, the flavor you look for with much less fat. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
This Jan. 1, 2018 photo shows cauliflower mashed potatoes, bottom right, in New York. Not only is this purée tasty, smooth, and light, it’s also the perfect vehicle for any sauce…just like mashed potatoes. (Sara Moulton via AP)
This Sept. 28, 2015, photo shows vegetarian harvest roast in Concord, N.H. This harvest roast is bold and substantial, just the vegetarian anchor you need to go alongside the mashed potatoes, stuffing and Brussels sprouts. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
This Oct. 12, 2015, photo shows a roasted Thanksgiving turkey gravy in Concord, N.H. Regardless of how you cook the turkey, experts say to make sure you let it sit, undisturbed, on a cutting board or platter for at least 30 minutes before carving. This allows the bird to finish cooking more gently and reabsorb all of its juices, producing moist meat. (AP Photo/Matthew Mead)
sugar free cranberry sauce with addition of blueberry, apples and honey - small bowl, jar and spoon
**FOR USE WITH AP LIFESTYLES**     Mashed Sweet potatoes, Apples and Honey is seen in this Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008 photo. Sweet potatoes, sometimes incorrectly referred to as yams which are uncommon in North America, are low in calories and high in important vitamins and flavor. This  Mashed Sweet potatoes, Apples and Honey can be prepared in a microwave, freeing up needed stove top space. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)
A slice of pumpkin (or sweet potato) pie with whipped cream and a fork.
This photo taken Nov. 8, 2009 shows cherry-apricot crumb pie. A slice of pie on Thanksgiving is as traditional as a serving of turkey. You can make this tradition healthier by making good choices when choosing the crust. This cherry-apricot crumb pie is topped with a low-fat oat crumble made with whole-wheat flour that helps reduce any dietary regret. (AP Photo/Larry Crowe)

WASHINGTON — Eating well this time of year isn’t the issue. It’s eating too well.

As you’re well aware, the holidays dump an abundance of delicious calories on us every year.

Heck, with all the football games and family arguments, it’s easy to lose track of just how much food you’re cramming into your face.

One way to prevent another tearful Jan. 2 return to spin class is — duh — making somewhat healthier food before you’re forced to sit at the kids’ table. Again.

Here are a few recipes to check out before you go to the supermarket.

Some of these dishes are vegetarian. Some are vegan. Some are gluten-free. But don’t let that scare you. All are worth considering as you get your kitchen plans together.


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