Eat more nutritiously – and just as deliciously – with these festive food swaps.
Easy holiday food swaps are a nutritious way to enjoy your favorite traditional recipes without overindulging in added fat, sugar, salt, and calories. If you’re looking to keep your health goals on track this festive season, check out these healthy holiday food substitutions that can help you savor the dishes you love – and feel good about it!
- Swap creamy snack dips for hummus
- Swap mashed potatoes for cauliflower mash
- Swap white bread stuffing for a whole grain equivalent
- Swap green bean casserole for sautéed green beans
- Swap canned cranberry sauce for a homemade version
- Swap traditional gravy for an herb-filled pesto sauce
- Swap a pie for baked fruit
Learn more about how to implement these healthy holiday food substitutions below.
1. Swap creamy snack dips for hummus
Everyone enjoys mingling and munching on snacks and appetizers before a holiday meal is served. If you want to set a fresh and healthy tone for the day, consider offering hummus dip instead of creamy ranch-like snack dips. Serve with sliced vegetables including celery, carrots, bell peppers, and cauliflower to get that first round of nutrient-packed veggies in. The fiber from the veggies and protein from the hummus can also help curb overeating when the main event begins.
Learn more about the health benefits of vegetables here.
2. Swap mashed potatoes for cauliflower mash
Potatoes are healthy in moderation, but if you’re watching your carbohydrate intake, they could exceed your quota. Making a cauliflower mash recipe, or even going half potato and half cauliflower, is a much lighter option that maintains a similar taste and texture. Health benefits of cauliflower include disease-protection and enhanced digestive and nervous system health, thanks to its abundance of fiber, vitamins and minerals, and water. You can make this dish even healthier for you by adding a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of butter.
3. Swap white bread stuffing for a whole grain equivalent
If you’re looking to add more nutritional value to your holiday table, consider trading white bread for whole grain. This healthy food swap is as simple as picking up a loaf of sprouted whole-grain bread to use in your favorite stuffing recipe. In addition to delivering fewer calories and carbohydrates and more fiber, you’ll also likely find that whole grains can add a greater element of flavor depth to the dish.
4. Swap green bean casserole for sautéed green beans
With the abundance of butter, cheese, salt, creamy mushroom soup, and fried onions, the health benefits of green beans can often get lost in this classic holiday casserole recipe. Consider a more green bean-forward holiday food substitution with a bright, fresh-tasting sautéed version featuring this cancer-fighting and bone health-boosting veggie. Cook them in a pan with a healthy fat like olive oil, add a shake of salt, pepper, and your other favorite herbs and spices. Finish it off with toasted almond slivers for a gourmet presentation.
5. Swap canned cranberry sauce for a homemade version
You don’t have to settle for sugary canned cranberry jellies when homemade cranberry sauce is so simple and deliciously healthy! For this holiday food swap, pick up fresh cranberries and mash them together with your ingredients of choice, like this orange zest and cinnamon recipe. You can still add sweetener to taste if you’d like, but this version lets you control the amount. Cranberries are good for digestion and the immune system, which are both helpful during the holiday and winter season!
6. Swap traditional gravy for an herb-filled pesto sauce
Covering food in gravy may add flavor, but it also adds plenty of extra calories, salt, and fat. Instead, try using a delicious pesto sauce for a lighter dressing option loaded with healthy herbs and spices. Just add a few teaspoons to meat, fish, veggies, salads, and pastas. Feel free to tweak any pesto sauce recipe to your preferences, or even make several varieties so everyone can pick their favorites.
7. Swap a pie for baked fruit
Fruits come with many health benefits and are naturally sweet on their own. Instead of consuming extra sugar and fat in in the form of pie, consider swapping for a mouthwatering dish of baked fruit with spices as a healthy food substitution. Try replicating apple pie flavors by cooking apples with cinnamon, a sprinkle of brown sugar, and some lemon juice to brighten the taste. Pears and blueberries are two more excellent baked dessert companions.
Healthy holiday food substitutions are a smart way to indulge in the flavors you love this season. For more tips on healthy living, keep reading our health and wellness blog.
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