Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

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November 23, 2023
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November 24, 2023
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Give Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy and delicious overhaul

One of the wonderful things about Thanksgiving dinner is there are often lots of delicious leftovers. You can just warm up a few of your favorite dishes or make a simple turkey sandwich. Here are a few healthful alternatives from the Eating Well magazine. I hope you try them out:

  • Cream of turkey and wild rice soup
  • Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup
  • Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey

Greek salad pitas with feta spread and turkey


  • 3 tbsp non-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 whole-wheat pita breads
  • 4 large pieces of romaine lettuce, torn in half
  • 1 English cucumber, sliced into half moons
  • ¼ cup lightly packed fresh mint leaves
  • ¾ lb. thinly sliced roasted turkey breast


In a medium bowl, combine the feta cheese and yogurt with a fork, mashing any large chunks of cheese. Stir in the lemon juice, oregano, lemon zest and pepper. The spread will keep for up to five days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

To make a sandwich, cut a pita in half to form two pockets. Line each pocket with a half of a lettuce leaf. Spread two heaping tablespoons of feta spread into the pocket.

Then fill each pocket with about six cucumber slices, four or five mint leaves and two or three slices of turkey.

Servings: 4, two pockets

Nutrition information per serving: 360 calories; 9 grams of fat; 5 grams of saturated fat; 32 grams of protein; 40 grams of carbohydrate; 6 grams of fiber; 80 milligrams of cholesterol; 700 milligrams of sodium.

Source: So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week by Ellie Krieger

Creamy carrot and sweet potato soup


  • 3 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 4¾ cups cubed peeled sweet potatoes (1½ pounds)
  • 3½ cups water
  • 3 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 3 cups chopped carrots (about 1 pound)
  • ¼ cup half-and-half
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ⅓ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion to pan; cook 4 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Move onion mixture to side of pan; add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to open space in pan. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 1 minute or until butter begins to brown. Add sweet potatoes, water, broth and carrots; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 35 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Place half of soup mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.

Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining soup mixture. Stir in half-and-half, salt, and pepper. Ladle about 1 cup soup into each of 8 bowls; top each serving with about 2 teaspoons sour cream and ¾ teaspoon parsley.

Servings: 8, about one cup each

Nutrition information per serving: 173 calories; 6.7 grams of fat; 4.1 grams of saturated fat; 3.6 grams of protein; 25.7 grams of carbohydrate; 5 grams of fiber; 18 milligrams of cholesterol; 415 milligrams of sodium.

Source: Cooking Light, November 2009 (

Cream of turkey and wild rice soup


  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups sliced mushrooms (about 4 oz.)
  • ¾ cup chopped celery
  • ¾ cup chopped carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped shallots
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup quick-cooking or instant wild rice
  • 3 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken (12 oz.)
  • ½ cup reduced-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley


Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, celery, carrots and shallots and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add flour, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes more.

Add broth and bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add rice and reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the rice is tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in turkey (or chicken), sour cream and parsley and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes more.

Ingredient note: Quick-cooking or instant wild rice has been parboiled to reduce the cooking time. Conventional wild rice takes 40 to 50 minutes to cook. If you can’t find the quick-cooking variety, just add cooked conventional wild rice along with the turkey at the end of Step 2.

Servings: 4, about 1¾ cups each

Nutrition information per serving: 354 calories; 9 grams of fat; 3 grams of saturated fat; 36 grams of protein; 27 grams of carbohydrate; 3 grams of fiber; 87 milligrams of cholesterol; 378 milligrams of sodium.

Source: EatingWell magazine;

© Copyright WLL, INC. 2021. This blog provides a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.

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