Stuff the bird, not yourself, with this healthy apple cranberry dressing

November 25, 2015 | by Sara Lewis

That “stuffed” feeling you get after a heavy Thanksgiving meal? It’s usually a sign that unhealthy overeating has occurred. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average American eats more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving – well above the average daily recommendation of 2,000 calories.

To help reduce your calorie intake this holiday, here, City of Hope dieticians offer a healthier version of a classic Thanksgiving side dish.

Click here for more “healthy holiday recipes” tested by our dietitians, which use seasonal vegetables and fruits, herbs, egg whites and spices to minimize the need for butter, salt and cream.

First, a few healthy-start quick tips:

  • Avoid skipping meals and shopping for food when hungry. People often make bad choices when they're hungry.

  • Control intake of liquid calories.

  • Stay away from the Thanksgiving food table before the big meal; snack on healthy foods instead.

  • Watch your portion sizes, and lower the proportion of sugar, saturated fat and calories.

  • Cut back on high-fat meats and creamy casseroles.

  • Increase the use of vegetables, fruits and other fiber-rich foods.

  • Try recipe makeovers.

  • Take a post-dinner walk.


Apple Cranberry Dressing

Yield: 16 servings (1/2 cup per serving)


  • 1 cup chopped celery

  • 1 cup chopped onion

  • 2 tablespoons margarine

  • 1 cup apple juice

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

  • 1 cup chopped apple

  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper

  • 10 ounce box poultry flavored stuffing mix

  • 1 egg

  • 1 cup cranberries, chopped

  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley


In a large skillet, sauté celery and onion in margarine until tender. Stir in apple juice, water, brown sugar, apple and black pepper. Heat to a boil; reduce heat. Simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat.

In a large bowl, combine stuffing mix and apple juice mixture. Stir in egg; lightly fold in cranberries and parsley. Spoon mixture into greased, 2 quart or 13 x 9 inch baking dish. Cover; bake at 350° for 25 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 more minutes. Serve hot.

Nutrient analysis per serving:

  • Calories: 140
  • Fat: 4 g

Other helpful resources:


If you have been diagnosed with cancer or are looking for a second opinion or consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.

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