The holidays are a time for indulgence. But that doesn’t mean your health should suffer. You can create nutritious versions of classic dishes. This allows you to celebrate while providing your body with quality fuel. Read on for tasty, good-for-you recipe ideas.
Lighter Mashed Potatoes
Mashed potatoes are a popular side dish. But they’re typically loaded with butter and whole milk. For a healthier take, try this recipe. Peel and cube potatoes. Then boil until fork-tender. Drain and return to pot. Add roasted garlic, vegetable broth, pepper, and nutmeg. Mash to desired consistency. For a creamy texture, blend in plain Greek yogurt instead of butter.
Green Bean Casserole
This classic casserole can get a wholesome makeover by swapping key ingredients. Rather than cream of mushroom soup, make your sauce from almond milk and mushrooms. Top freshly steamed green beans with this sauce. Add crispy fried onions for crunch and tradition.
Also read - Mental Health During the Holidays
Brussels Sprouts Gratin
This gratin turns the most famously hated vegetable into a delicious, healthy dish. Halve Brussels sprouts and roast with balsamic vinegar to caramelize. Make a quick cheese sauce from plain Greek yogurt, flour, dijon, and Parmesan. Toss roasted sprouts with sauce. Top with whole-grain panko breadcrumbs. Bake until bubbly and browned.
Cranberry Sauce Two Ways
Tart cranberries pair perfectly with Thanksgiving turkey. Skip the canned version loaded with added sugar. Make your own quick stove-top cranberry sauce instead. Simmer fresh or frozen cranberries with orange juice and zest. Sweeten with just a little honey or maple syrup. For a fun twist, pulse-cooked cranberries in the food processor with ginger, cinnamon, and almonds.
Roasted Root Vegetables
Root veggies like carrots, parsnips, potatoes, and radishes take well to high-heat roasting. The natural sugars caramelize while the insides become tender. Peel vegetables and chop them into bite-size pieces. Toss with just a drizzle of olive oil. Roast on a sheet pan at 400 degrees, stirring once, until browned outside and soft inside. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary.
Also Read - Foods to Help Lower Your Anxiety
Lighter Egg Nog
Skip heavy cream and load up on protein with this lighter take on a holiday classic. Whisk egg whites vigorously, then gently fold into egg yolks. For a tasty nutmeg-vanilla flavor, heat almond or skim milk with spices, then let steep. Whisk the seasoned milk into the eggs. Top each serving with freshly grated nutmeg and a cinnamon stick.
Banana Pumpkin Loaf
Quick breads are holiday breakfast staples but are often packed with sugar and butter. Ripe bananas and canned pumpkin keep this loaf moist and sweet without adding loads of sugar. Whisk bananas and pumpkin with eggs, vanilla, baking soda, cinnamon, and ginger. Gently stir in whole wheat flour just until combined. Bake in a loaf pan until browned and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Slow Cooker Apple Cider
Warm spiced cider instantly gets you in the holiday spirit. But traditional versions come loaded with added sugar. Simply fill your slow cooker with apple cider. Stud apple halves with cloves and add cinnamon sticks. Cook for 2-3 hours on low until steaming hot and infused with spice flavor.
Dark Chocolate Bark
A little dark chocolate makes the ultimate guilt-free treat. Simply melt 70% cacao chocolate slowly in the microwave or over a double boiler. Spread onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Top immediately with dried fruit, cinnamon, crushed candy canes, or other mix-ins. Slide the baking sheet into the fridge or freezer. Once cool and hardened, break into irregular bark shapes.
Cranberry Ginger Mule Mocktail
Make a fun seasonal mocktail by combining tart cranberry juice with fragrant ginger beer and lime. Pour both juices over ice in a copper mug or glass. Top with sparkling water and garnish with lime wheels and fresh cranberries. For a kid-friendly version, use less ginger beer for a sweeter flavor.
Pomegranate Iced Tea
This ruby red tea looks and tastes festive for holiday meals, but skips the added sugar. Combine strong-brewed black tea with 100% pomegranate juice while still hot. Sweeten with just a touch of honey or maple syrup. Chill thoroughly before serving over ice with orange slices and mint sprigs.
Also Read - X Best Foods for Eye Health, According to a Dietitian
Maple Glazed Carrots
Carrots get a candied touch for the holidays thanks to maple syrup. Peel and slice carrots on the bias. Simmer in broth with minced ginger just until crisp-tender. Drain any excess broth. Add real maple syrup and butter. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until maple glaze coats each carrot slice. Sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Baked Apples with Nuts and Raisins
Skip the pie and bake apples for a naturally sweet dessert. Core apples and score around their “equator” to prevent bursting. Stuff holes with walnuts and raisins. Arrange stuffed apples in a baking dish. Pour apple cider and ground cinnamon over the apples. Cover and bake at 375 until tender. Uncover and broil briefly to caramelize the cider glaze.
Enjoy More Balanced Holiday Meals
With a little creativity, you can update traditional holiday dishes for better nutrition. Focus on fresh, high-quality ingredients. Boost fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while moderating added sugar, butter, and cream. Share these better-for-you recipes for merry, healthy gatherings.