Go Alternative: 6 Classic Holiday Recipes Made Healthy

Are you ready for another round of delicious holiday meals? We’re here to tell you that the holidays don’t have to take a toll on your healthy eating habits! There are ways to get the flavor and delight of all your favorite holiday recipes without stocking up on sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. Here are 6 recipes that give you all the taste and nutrition without the guilt!

photo credit: thekitchn.com


Healthy Bulgur Stuffing with Dried Cranberries & Hazelnuts

bulgurBulgur whole grain is an excellent healthier alternative to traditional bread stuffing. This delicious nutty-tasting pilaf contains many yummy, healthy ingredients, including celery, cinnamon, hazelnuts and extra virgin olive oil.

Makes: 10 servings, 3/4 cup each

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  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups chopped onions, (2 large)
  • 1 cup chopped celery, (2-3 stalks)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2 cups bulgur, rinsed (see Ingredient note)
  • 3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2/3 cup chopped hazelnuts, (2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste


  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and celery; cook, stirring often, until softened, 5 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon and allspice; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add bulgur and stir for a few seconds. Add broth, bay leaf and salt; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the bulgur is tender and liquid has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, combine dried cranberries and orange juice in a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with vented plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2 minutes. (Alternatively, bring dried cranberries and orange juice to a simmer in a small saucepan on the stovetop and remove from heat.) Set aside to plump.
  3. Toast hazelnuts in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until light golden and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. When the bulgur is ready, discard the bay leaf. Add the cranberries, toasted hazelnuts, parsley and pepper; fluff with a fork.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: The stuffing will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. To reheat, place in a baking dish and add 1/2 cup water. Cover and microwave on high for 10 to 15 minutes. (Alternatively, bake at 350°f for 25 to 30 minutes.)
  • Ingredient note: Fiber-rich bulgur is made from whole-wheat kernels that are precooked, dried and cracked. Virtually a whole-grain convenience food, bulgur cooks in less than 20 minutes. You can find it in health-food stores and some large supermarkets.
  • To stuff a turkey, prepare the recipe and let cool completely. Place about 5 cups of the stuffing loosely in turkey cavities; heat the remainder separately.

[recipe and photo via Eatingwell.com]

Light Mashed Potatoes


No holiday meal is complete without classic mashed potatoes! Here’s how to get all the flavor of mashed potatoes while cutting out all the unhealthy ingredients.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

8 to 10 garlic cloves
2 pounds potatoes, quartered
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 tablespoon snipped fresh oregano, rosemary, or thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1. To roast garlic, wrap unpeeled cloves in foil. Bake in a 400-degree oven 25 to 35 minutes or until cloves feel soft when pressed. When cool enough to handle, squeeze garlic from peels into a small bowl.

2. Meanwhile, put potatoes in a large saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over high heat. Lower heat to maintain a simmer and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain potatoes; return to saucepan.

3. Mash potatoes and softened garlic with a potato masher or an electric mixer on low speed. Add sour cream; milk; oregano, rosemary, or thyme; salt; and black pepper. Beat until light and fluffy.

[photo and recipe via fitnessmagazine.com]

Healthy Egg Nog

eggWho doesn’t love egg nog during the holidays? The only problem is that traditional egg nog is loaded with sugar and unnecessary calories. Here’s a light take on classic egg nog that is both delicious and good for you.

  • 2 cups low fat milk
  • 8 ounces egg substitute
  • 1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rum flavoring or a few shots of your favorite rum
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup ice
    1. Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high for 1 to 1? minutes or until smooth.
    2. Top with nutmeg and serve immediately.

[recipe via bodybuilding.com]

Food Babe’s Easy & Healthy Pumpkin Pie

pumpkinPumpkin pie is one of our favorite desserts during the holidays! This easy, healthy pumpkin pie recipe from Foodbabe.com uses pure coconut palm sugar and coconut milk for sweetening. A much healthier alternative to processed sugar and cream.

Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 8-16
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 can (15 oz.) 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 1 can (13.5 oz.) full fat coconut milk
  • 1 unbaked 9-inch pie shell
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Combine all filling ingredients in a bowl and puree with a stand or hand mixer.
  3. Pour filling ingredients into pie shell.
  4. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes (or longer) or until knife inserted near center comes out clean.
  5. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
  6. Top with whipped cream before serving.

[recipe via foodbabe.com]

Superfood Hot Cocoa

cocasThere’s nothing better than sitting fireside with a delicious cup of hot cocoa. This recipe contains three powerful superfoods: raw cacao, raw honey and organic unrefined coconut oil.


Serves 2

  • 2 cups vanilla almond milk
  • 1 tbsp. (heaping) raw cacao
  • 1 tbsp. raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon


Heat the almond milk on the stovetop, to just under a boil and then add all the ingredients to your blender or Vitamix and blend for a minute.

The coconut oil gives it the creaminess, richness and the frothiness that make a good cup of hot cocoa. The cinnamon works together with the honey to boost the sweetness without adding sugar, and also offers the many proven benefits of cinnamon, including blood sugar regulation.

via Mind Body Green


Light Sweet Potatoes

sweetThese delicious potatoes are already sweet and healthy on their own. Omit the butter all together and add in a few splashes of OJ and just 1 tablespoon brown sugar for a perfect holiday dish.


  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 tsp orange zest
  • 1 tbs brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add sweet potatoes and cook for 20-25 minutes until tender. Drain sweet potatoes; add orange juice, orange zest, brown sugar, cinnamon and ginger. Mash until smooth.Serves 6.

[recipe via food.com]




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