Let’s be honest, Thanksgiving is a time of year that we look forward to spending time with our families, but the food is heavy. In the south, Thanksgiving is about sticks of butter, carbs and loads of sugar. Most of the time, you hear about tryptophan as the culprit for Thanksgiving naps, but I am pretty sure it is from the blood sugar high from the carbohydrates.  Enjoying a heavy meal once in a while is not the worst thing in the world, but unfortunately, the next day you find yourself eating a Thanksgiving meal yet again!

So, what is a girl to do when faced with all of the leftovers from the big feast?  Prepare yourself with recipes that take the unhealthy and attempt to make it healthy, that’s what!  Here are some ideas to use Thanksgiving Leftovers to make healthy recipes that the whole family can enjoy without the guilt and remorse that the Thanksgiving Day meal leaves behind.

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Sweet Potato Pancakes: So technically pancakes are not the healthiest breakfast recipe, but sweet potatoes have a plethora of vitamins including B6, C, D and Iron.  The sugar in sweet potatoes is much easier on blood sugar levels causing less of a spike and drop. They contain carotenoids which help strengthen eyesight and boost immunity to disease. So, use your leftover sweet potatoes to create a healthier pancake. (photo credit)

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Cranberry Sauce Muffins: Cranberry sauce generally goes to waste after Thanksgiving.  This recipe includes whole wheat flour, oats and skim milk to create a grab and go breakfast for your Black Friday Adventures. (photo credit)

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Turkey Tostadas: Leftover Turkey meat can be used in tacos, burritos and quesadillas for great express lunch ideas. Just add low-fat cheese and toppings in order to keep the calories low. This tostado is a spin on the taco. Consider it an open faced taco. Yum!

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Dumpling Soup: Another great recipe with your leftover sweet potatoes!  You can also add leftover turkey for additional protein. This recipe uses whole wheat flour to create the dumplings.  What a great idea for a lunch gathering! (photo credit)

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Turkey Sandwich with Sweet Potato Hummus: Hummus made with sweet potatoes? Why yes, I think I will!  What a great idea to bring together two very significant players for Thanksgiving. (photo credit)

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Romaine and Turkey Salad with Creamy Avocado Dressing: Salads are a light fare that we can enjoy with unlimited greens.  Avocados are actually a fruit and they include tons of vitamins that your body needs.  They are high in calories but because it packs a nutritional punch, it is a must eat.  The avocado along with the leftover turkey will provide your body with a beneficial (and delicious) boost in protein.

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Turkey Pizza: Top a prepared whole wheat crust with 1/2 cup of tomato or low-fat barbecue sauce, 1 cup of chopped turkey and 1/2 cup reduced-fat cheese. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees.  Your family is sure to love this Thanksgiving pizza treat. (photo credit)

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Chipotle Turkey and Corn Soup: I love a good Mexican Soup.  This would be a great recipe to make and freeze so that when you get a winter cold, you would have a warm bowl of comfort to partake.  For those of you who brave the cold of winter in the North, this will warm your body on a snowy day.

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Gnocchi with Turkey Ragu: For you gluten-free fans, drop the pasta and add potato gnocchi to your recipe.  Or, for those of you who desire pasta, use a whole wheat alternative to the gnocchi.  This recipe just makes my heart leap because it uses the leftover turkey but it does not resemble a Thanksgiving meal.

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20-Minute Chili: Chili is a warm treat for the soul. To decrease the calories in this recipe, leave out the rice or use brown rice for added health benefits. What a delicious post-Thanksgiving recipe!