Guilt Free Swaps for a Delicious Holiday Meal

The holiday season is upon us and with that comes joyous gatherings with family and friends. These reunions are (hopefully!) accompanied by a delightful abundance of festive treats and traditional dishes we look forward to all year long. However, the indulgent nature of holiday feasting can sometimes leave us feeling guilty about our food choices. Fear not! This year, let’s embark on a journey to create a healthier holiday dinner table without sacrificing flavor or tradition. With a few clever and delicious swaps, you can transform your favorite holiday dishes into nourishing alternatives, ensuring that your celebrations are not only bountiful but also health conscious. Get ready to savor the season guilt-free and embrace these smart and wholesome changes that will keep both your taste buds and well-being satisfied throughout the holidays and beyond.

Mashed Potatoes

Try This Instead: Mashed Cauliflower

Replace the starchy potatoes with creamy mashed cauliflower for a lower-carb and nutrient-rich alternative.

Traditional Stuffing

Try This Instead:
Quinoa or Brown Rice Stuffing 

Substitute the traditional bread stuffing with quinoa or brown rice, adding more fiber and essential nutrients to your holiday meal.

Candied Yams

Try This Instead:
Roasted Sweet Potatoes 

Skip the sugary marshmallow-topped yams and opt for roasted sweet potatoes, which are naturally sweet and loaded with vitamins and minerals.

Sour Cream Dip

Try This Instead: Greek Yogurt Dip

Swap sour cream for Greek yogurt in your favorite dips to reduce calories and increase protein intake.

Chips and Dip

Try This Instead:
Vegetable Crudité with Hummus

Offer colorful vegetable crudité paired with a flavorful hummus dip as a healthier alternative to calorie-laden chips and high-fat dips.

Sugary Desserts

Try This Instead: Fruit Platter

Create a festive fruit platter with a variety of seasonal fruits, providing a refreshing and naturally sweet conclusion to your meal.

White Rolls

Try This Instead: Whole Grain Rolls 

Opt for whole grain rolls over white rolls to boost fiber content and support better digestion.

Fried Turkey

Try This Instead:
Baked or Grilled Poultry

Choose baked or grilled turkey or chicken instead of fried versions to reduce saturated fat and calorie intake.

Green Bean Casserole

Try This Instead:
Green Bean Almondine

Prepare green beans with toasted almonds and a drizzle of olive oil for a healthier version without the creamy sauce and fried onions.

Sugary Fruit Sauces

Try This Instead: Berry Compote

Make a delicious berry compote using fresh or frozen berries as a naturally sweet topping for a protein and antioxidant packed frozen yogurt dessert, eliminating the need for sugary fruit sauces.

Healthy Snacks

For guests and hosts alike, it is nice to discover healthy bites sprinkled across the dinner table and throughout areas of the home where people are mingling. Set up a bowl of Castelvetrano olives marinated in olive oil, lemon zest, and thyme. These olives are rich in nourishing fats and offer a mild, buttery taste that can win over even the most steadfast olive skeptics. Pro tip, you can readily find these olives pitted, eliminating the need to spit out pits and ensuring a smooth social experience. 

Other lighter eats for your holiday spread could include:

Cucumber Bites: You can’t have just one of these slices of cucumber topped with whipped cottage cheese, fresh herbs, and a sprinkle of paprika. Cottage cheese is definitely having its moment but for those who don’t like the texture, throwing it in the food processor for a minute or two will give you a smooth, creamy, whipped consistency that will fool anyone. It’s velvety, loaded with protein and the perfect vehicle for herbs and spices. Finish with flaky sea salt and watch them disappear!

Avocado Deviled Eggs: Enjoy halved hard-boiled eggs filled with a mixture of mashed avocado, lime juice, and a dash of hot sauce.

Roasted Chickpeas: Treat yourself to the satisfying crunch of crispy roasted chickpeas, seasoned with your choice of favorite spices. We like a combo of cumin and thyme!

Nuts and Dried Fruits: Try a balanced combination of unsalted nuts like almonds, walnuts, and pistachios along with dried fruits like apricots, dates, and cranberries.

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