Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas with added Nutrition

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Consider making something nutritious for Thanksgiving dessert instead of the same old sugar and fat laden fare. With a bit of ingredient substitution you can turn any of the hundreds of Thanksgiving dessert ideas from the past into something more than traditional. Keeping the holiday’s healthy is not an easy task, but with these Thanksgiving dessert ideas, you can easily make a dessert with added nutrition, fewer to no refined ingredients, and moderate fat and sugar.

Substitute rolled oats, whole grain flour, or quinoa when making your cookies. Ditch the unhealthy white flour altogether, not just at Thanksgiving but year round.

Avoid white sugar by using stevia, maple syrup, evaporated cane sugar, or honey. Try a mixture of any of the aforementioned, including juices to get the right amount of sweetness in your Thanksgiving desserts. Skip the white sugar when you bake, and you instantly have more nutrition. White sugar has none.

Use dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate in your Thanksgiving desserts to provide more antioxidants. Add dried fruit to cookie and cake batter, like blueberries, cranberries, dates or apricots to cookies and cakes.

Use fresh spices to add more nutrition to Thanksgiving desserts. Fresh ground cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg are tastier and more nutritious and can be purchased in the bulk food section of your grocery store.


Top your Thanksgiving dessert with nuts – all types are beneficial to health. Add nuts to your recipes, or use them to replace sugar laden sprinkles on top of cakes.

Here are three Thanksgiving dessert ideas – just substitute the above ingredient for extra nutrition, less fat and moderate sugar.

1. No Bake cookies – use cinnamon, rolled oats and dark chocolate in any traditional recipe, and substitute evaporated cane sugar for refined sugar.

2. Make sweet potato pie from any classic recipe, that can be substituted for pumpkin pie. Make the filling with fresh cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. Use maple syrup to give it an extra special taste. Substitute yogurt for butter.

3. Brown rice pudding is made with whole grain brown rice, coconut milk (or whole milk), sea salt, yams or other winter squash, eggs, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and cranberries, and comes from Chef Patty James, co-author of More Vegetables, Please. You can find the complete recipe and video at the – Dessert Blog. Check out other Thanksgiving dessert ideas while you’re there that include Holiday Peach Upside Down Cake, Pocahontas pudding, and dark chocolate mousse, made with silken tofu and surrounded by raspberries.

4. Try our editor’s favorite Thanksgiving dessert idea – Pumpkin swirl cheesecake – You can substitute low fat cream cheese to cut the calories.