We promise, it’s not a myth: Healthy holiday recipes exist, and we have options. Moderation is key to every celebration, but one trick is to supplement the more caloric items with healthier choices that balance out the meal. Here are some suggestions.
Pumpkin pies, gravies, mashed potatoes — the holiday table may be brimming with caloric, sugar-rich, fattening choices, but we have alternatives that will please the palate and the kids. Promise!
The key to offering healthy holiday choices is to encourage options that can be filling (and thus take the place of some of the more caloric offerings). So when you eat lots of fibrous carrots and celery, for example, you’re less likely to take a second helping of carb-loaded stuffing. In theory, at least.
Here are a few options that will absolutely sparkle on your holiday table this year.
Healthy Holiday Recipes for Your Celebration
This recipe is pleasing to the senses — who doesn’t want to take a dip in a creamy ranch with stunning veggies in hues of white, red and green? Plus the homemade ranch dip uses nonfat Greek yogurt as a substitute for caloric sour cream and only takes a few minutes to prepare. Talk about win-win!
This recipe from the Food Network uses seasonal fruit that is abundantly available — think pomegranate, orange, mango and kiwi. These are combined for a healthy side or dessert option. Plus it’s a gorgeous centerpiece to your table.
Even the Mayo Clinic gets in on the holiday recipe action, offering up this suggestion: Instead of adding butter to the turkey and serving it with gravy, this version is complemented with an herbal rub and a flavorful au jus. This is a healthier approach to the main event and still manages to be flavorful and robust.
Cauliflower Rice Stuffing
Check out this blog post from The Healthy Maven for a stuffing alternative using the ingredient du jour: cauliflower rice! That’s right, this is cauliflower rice stuffing, which does NOT consist of bread soaking up juices inside a carcass. Instead, abundant veggies combine to make this a healthier, lighter stuffing option. Just scroll to the bottom of this page for the recipe.
But of course Whole Foods is getting in on the recipe action this year. But your guests will never suspect the secret ingredients in this delicious, dairy-free chocolate mousse (spoiler alert: cashews, dates and pureed butternut squash!). This dessert takes some of the pressure off when the family is all gathered at your house. You can easily make it the night before in decorative ramekins, then simply sprinkle with coconut before serving for a beautiful, healthy treat.
Let us know if you try any of these options for your holiday feast. Or feel free to share your own healthier holiday recipes in the comments.