Joy Bauer of the ‘Today Show’ Shares Healthy Thanksgiving Recipes That Taste Indulgently Delicious

NBC’s Today Show health expert Joy Bauer knows that everyone can indulge in holiday favorites, while still keeping dishes light and healthy.

Joy Bauer, Al Roker, Maria Shriver and Jill Martin
Joy Bauer, Al Roker, Maria Shriver and Jill Martin |Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

Bauer recently shared two Thanksgiving dishes that may taste naughty but are completely nice. She posted recipes for her sausage-apple stuffing and decadent sweet potato casserole. Both dishes have less than 200 calories per serving and are low in fat and sugar. She included a full nutritional breakdown on each recipe card.

She dished on Instagram about how everyone can have their stuffing and eat it too. “Marry, date or dump: Thanksgiving side edition!” she posted along with a mouthwatering photo. “Which side do you want in your life longterm, which side is a great indulgence once in a while, and which side is one that you never want to see again? Let me know in the comments below! Not sure I could ever ‘dump’ a Thanksgiving side, I would definitely marry my Sausage-Apple Stuffing!”

Joy Bauer includes healthy hacks for tasty dishes

One insider hack for her stuffing is that the dish contains no bread. “There’s actually no bread in it…but it still provides a stuffing-like carby experience…with tons of flavorful protein!” she added to her Instagram post. Bauer substituted bread with cauliflower. She also loaded the dish with plenty of vegetables and the sausage plays a starring role.

The stuffing is also quick and easy to make. First sear the sausage and set it aside. Combine the vegetables in the pan to cook. Then add butter and egg to combine. Transfer to a baking pan and cook for about 50 minutes.

Her sweet potato casserole still includes a Thanksgiving tradition: mini marshmallows. This recipe is also heavy on the vegetables with cinnamon and vanilla almond milk for flavor. Carrots and sweet potatoes are cooked and pureed along with milk, butter, and cinnamon. The mixture is topped with mini marshmallows and baked.

Staying healthy boosts the immune system

Bauer acknowledged that it is important to boost the immune system during a pandemic. “It’s really a combination of looking and feeling our best,” she told Showbiz Cheat Sheet in June. “But at the same time every single physician you talk to now, they make strengthening the immune system their top priority.”

Nutrition is one way to stay healthy. Bauer suggests adding produce to as many meals as possible. “Specifically [meals] loaded with produce and antioxidants,” she suggests. “Now is the time to find recipes that you can create around your repertoire and learn how to make things that are healthy and immune-boosting.”


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Bauer recommended adding Vitamin C immune-rich produce, such as citrus and mangos, into meals. Also, consider zinc to boost your immune system. Zinc-rich foods include cashews and pumpkin seeds.

Exercise is another key component. Get out and walk after chowing down on the Thanksgiving meal.  “The easiest thing anybody can do to boost their immune system, mood and regulate weight from the exercise standpoint is just put on your sneakers and walk for at least 30 minutes a day,” she said.