Festive/ Thanksgiving Candida Diet Side Dishes


With Thanksgiving, Christmas and other religious year end festivities on your doorstep you might be wondering how on earth to adapt your favourite festive meals so that they don’t taste like you’re on a diet, and so your family won’t even notice how healthy the foods are!

Having over 8 years of experience in adapting recipes to make them Candida diet and Paleo friendly I believe I can give you some useful tips so you’ll soon be self-sufficient in terms of preparing meals in line with the Candida diet.

Today I want to look at some Thanksgiving classics and how to adapt them to make them sugar, dairy and gluten free. Sound good?!

Don’t worry, if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving then you will still pick up some useful information that you can use for your own festive meals preparations!


Let’s look at 3 of the classic holiday side dishes:

  1. Cranberry Sauce RecipeClick here to view the recipe
  2. Sweet Potato CasseroleClick here to view the recipe
  3. Green Bean Casserole — Recipe coming soon…


Now let’s look at how we can switch out ingredients that are not Candida diet safe:

The main culprit in these types of recipes if generally the use of refined sugar and wheat flour – both complete no-nos for health-conscious people. Luckily these are easy to replace with healthier ingredients that do not encourage Candida growth like sugar and refined carbs do. 

Foods to swap:


healthy corn starch alternative

This commonly used thickener is generally made from GMO corn which is able to single-handedly annihilate your gut microbiome and cause allergic reactions that can be noticeable even a few weeks after eating it! Swap this out for organic cornstarch or ground arrowroot powder.

Canned soups

canned-mushroom soup candida nono

If at all possible make any sauces and soups fresh to preserve their vitamin and mineral content. A lot of people use mushroom soup for the green bean casserole. Mushroom is one of those foods that Candida dieters have to be careful of because it can cause an allergic response in sensitive individuals. So I would give mushrooms a miss until you have rebuild your healthy gut flora and don’t have food intolerances any more. Then I would still recommend making your own aromatic mushroom sauce from sauteing mushrooms with onions, lightly season and blend them.


avoid cheese

Cheese is used grated for pies and as flavour enhancer in soups.

Avoid cheese until stage 4 of the Candida diet and even then moderate your dairy intake.

Healthy cheese alternative

candida diet green beans side dish

I recommend a casserole topping made from crunchy almonds, seeds or crispy baked onions — all delicious, and much candida diet friendlier and less likely to cause you to feel sick the next day).


use ghee

Most holiday recipes also use liberal amounts of butter.

Healthier alternatives:

Try and swap butter out for ghee, coconut oil or vegan butter alternatives to minimise your intake of allergens and excess fat. If you are dead set on butter, buy organic to avoid indirectly ingesting antibiotics from the cows.

Avoid yeast and artificial additives because these can also cause an allergic response in you.


fruit feeds candida

Needless to say, if you have Candida you must avoid eating big amounts of fruit – even low sugar fruit like Cranberries.

So if you can’t say no to your traditional Cranberry sauce then you can substantially lower the risk of getting a Candida flare up, putting on excess weight and feeling worse for wear by sticking to the instructions on this page and by having only a small portion.

Best sugar substitute

candida diet sugar substitute

Use xylitol 1:1 in any recipe that requires sugar.

You can generally also leave out at least 1/3 of any sugar recipe without impacting the taste negatively.

To cut down the sugar content further you could also use vanilla stevia drops. Just be aware that these are twenty times as sweet as sugar, so you need a lot less of it. There is also a distinct stevia flavour about it that can get a bit much the more of it you use. So what worked best for me was to use half stevia and half xylitol. Just watch out with the xylitol though if you have dogs – it’s poisonous to them (but then, I can’t imagine you sharing your cranberry sauce with your dog any way – are you?


If the recipe calls for oranges use lemon or lime instead to cut down on sugar.

If the recipe already contains sweet ingredients like sweet potatoes or canned pumpkin you might even get away with not using additional sweeteners or just sprinkling a bit of xylitol over the topping.

Important advice:

Image result for kind

Above all else, remember not to be too hard on yourself!

Thanksgiving and seasonal festivities with friends and family don’t happen every day.

So, put your worries aside for the day, let your hair down a little bit, and enjoy the celebrations.

Did I miss any classic festive/ Thanksgiving side dishes that you’d like me to adapt and make candida diet friendly?

Then leave a comment below, and don’t forget to sign up to my newsletter so you stay up-to-date with my weekly newsletter emails and recipes…

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