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Ah, Thanksgiving. The long holiday weekend where you have a chance to spend quality time with the fam, get a jump on your holiday shopping and eat an obscene amount of mashed potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie and insert-your-favorite-Thanksgiving-calorie-bomb here.

Indulging in one massive dinner a year isn't going to do too much damage to your diet. However, those inevitable Thanksgiving leftovers are another story. And while it's tempting to eat your way through the contents of your fridge until the last scrap of stuffing is gone, we've decided to try something different this year.

In an effort to be a bit more health-conscious the day after shamelessly gorging, we asked culinary nutritionist Diane Henderiks, R.D., regular on-air contributor for ABC'S "Good Morning America," to show us how to give those decadent Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy makeover.

We also asked Joy Dubost, Ph.D, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to weigh in on the nutritional value of these Thanksgiving leftover recipe makeovers so you can keep on eating, guilt-free.

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Leftover: Cornbread Stuffing
Makeover: Stuffing-Breaded Chicken Tenders

"Since cornbread stuffing crumbles easily, it can be a great topping," says Henderiks. She suggests tossing it into a food processor, then using the crumbs as breading for chicken tenders. Dip pieces of white meat chicken without the skin into a bowl of lightly beaten raw eggs, roll the chicken pieces in the stuffing breading, and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

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Leftover: Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
Makeover: Mashed Potato Pancakes

Leftover mashed potatoes make the perfect batter for the next morning's pancakes. Henderiks says to mix two cups of mashed potatoes with an egg, a handful of spinach, tomatoes and shredded low-fat feta or cheddar cheese. Once you've mixed the ingredients (which will be more of a dough consistency), use your hands to form the batter into pancakes and fry on a griddle for about five minutes on each side.

Dubost says spinach is a great add-in since it's one of the healthiest vegetables you can eat. "Spinach is loaded with iron, vitamins B and C and calcium," she says. "And the cooked tomatoes give you a good dose of lycopene, an antioxidant that helps fend off disease."

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Leftover: Cranberry Sauce
Makeover: Yogurt Parfait

Whether it's your special homemade recipe or you quickly dumped it out of a can, leftover cranberry sauce should not go to waste. To give it new life, try stirring it into some plain Greek yogurt and adding layers of unsweetened cereal (like Cheerios), almonds and fresh berries for a cranberry yogurt parfait.

"You get the good fats from the nuts, whole grains from the cereal, antioxidants from the fruits and protein and vitamin D from the yogurt," Dubost says of the well-rounded snack.

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Leftover: Turkey Meat
Makeover: Chili

Toss your leftover vegetables and shredded turkey meat into a big soup pot and add diced tomatoes and kidney beans. For the liquids, add a dark beer (like a Guinness), which "gives you B vitamins as well as fiber-rich beta-glucan," says Dubost. You actually get more nutrition from Guinness than you do from chicken broth, she says. Plus, the kidney beans are a good source of protein, B vitamins, iron and manganese -- with zero fat. Add in some spices like chili powder, cumin and ground red pepper to taste, and let it boil on medium heat for 45 minutes.

Ah, Thanksgiving. The long holiday weekend where you have a chance to spend quality time with the fam, get a jump on your holiday shopping and eat an obscene amount of mashed potatoes, turkey, pumpkin pie and insert-your-favorite-Thanksgiving-calorie-bomb here.

Indulging in one massive dinner a year isn't going to do too much damage to your diet. However, those inevitable Thanksgiving leftovers are another story. And while it's tempting to eat your way through the contents of your fridge until the last scrap of stuffing is gone, we've decided to try something different this year.

In an effort to be a bit more health-conscious the day after shamelessly gorging, we asked culinary nutritionist Diane Henderiks, R.D., regular on-air contributor for ABC'S "Good Morning America," to show us how to give those decadent Thanksgiving leftovers a healthy makeover.

We also asked Joy Dubost, Ph.D, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to weigh in on the nutritional value of these Thanksgiving leftover recipe makeovers so you can keep on eating, guilt-free.
BY SHARON J. YI | SHARES
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