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Six Healthy Holiday Recipes

Updated on July 18, 2014

The holidays can be a terrible time for people who are trying to eat healthy. So many of the special treats that are offered during this time are high in calories, fat content and sugar. They may be offered as a special treat to be eaten only occasionally, but they can add up and cause weight gain, bloating, and high cholesterol.

Cutting down on the butter, oils, and sugar can help, but it may be scary to change a recipe since you still want to make sure that the food offers the same satisfactory treat.

Here are some ways you can have the pleasure of eating while still eating healthy.

A beautiful roasted turkey can be healthy as well as delicious.
A beautiful roasted turkey can be healthy as well as delicious. | Source


Turkey is a traditional meal at Thanksgiving, and a juicy turkey laden with butter is the norm. Butter tenderizes the meat and creates a beautiful caramel color to the bird that makes it beautiful. It also creates a nice crunchy texture to the skin.

To have the same effect with fewer calories, you can consider substituting the butter with yogurt. If you have eaten Tandoori chicken, you have eaten poultry that has been marinated with yogurt. When you substitute butter with yogurt, you can still have the creamy flavor without the fat.

Scott Joseph's Orlando Restaurant Guide offers a recipe for a turkey that has been marinated in yogurt and has Indian spices. You can, of course, use the seasonings that you normally use. This recipe adds butter as a last step to get the caramel color, but I think the turkey looks just as beautiful without it.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes is one of my favorite holiday foods, but when it is made with butter and milk, it can add a lot of fat in my diet. Whole Living has created mashed potatoes that use white beans instead of the dairy products to add the creamy texture and protein at the same time. Some extra vegetables are also added to increase the nutrients in this dish.

Vegan chocolate cake with  a Japanese theme.
Vegan chocolate cake with a Japanese theme. | Source


Cake is the traditional food to eat at birthday parties as well at other special occasions. It is however, not a healthy treat. To make it more healthy, you can opt for a cake that is not made with eggs.

Our favorite cake is this chocolate cake recipe from Moosewood Restaurant.

We have made this several times, and it always turns out delicious and moist. Even the family members who are hesitant to eat food that is vegan love it.


Cookies are a wonderful treat at Christmastime and throughout the year. Many people like to bake many batches of cookies to give out as gifts to their friends and coworkers. Cooking Light magazine has put together 100 of their favorite cookie recipesall in one place. Now you can still make lots of different and beautiful kinds of cookies, all with a healthy twist.

Rice Pilaf

Reader's Digest offers this healthy rice pilaf that packs a lot of flavor and vitamins in a healthy holiday side dish. This recipe includes almonds and dried fruits such as apricots and raisins, but you can substitute your favorite accompaniments.

Cranberry Cornbread

Eating Well offers a tasty alternative to two traditional holiday side dishes with a Cranberry Cornbread recipe. Using whole wheat flour adds nutrition and using buttermilk reduces the fat, yet provides a dish that looks even more festive than the original dishes.

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Holiday foods that is healthy can still provide a festive look and delicious and nutritious treats to celebrate the occasion. By using yogurt to marinate the turkey, using beans instead of dairy products for the mashed potatoes, lowering the fat and sugar in cookies and cakes, adding nutritious items in a healthy pilaf and using buttermilk instead of butter in the cranberry cornbread, your family can enjoy healthy food that shows your family how much you love them.

Comments: "Six Healthy Holiday Recipes"

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    • colorfulone profile image

      Susie Lehto 2 years ago from Minnesota

      Oh my, that turkey in the top photo looks so deliciously done to perfection. I'm not sure I want to wait till Thanksgiving to cook one again. BTW, this is a yummy menu for the holidays! - Up votes!

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 3 years ago from Taos, NM

      Thanks for sharing your ideas and recipes with us. But, we will need the South Beach Diet after the holiday season. I see the book is a South Beach Diet Parties. So, perhaps we can diet while we party. LOL!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      I came back here to peek in on suggestions for our upcoming Thanksgiving meal. I forgot how much I love rice pilaf. I'm adding it to the list. Enjoy your weekend and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with those you love.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks Dianna for your comment. Rice pilaf is great for any holiday or occasion.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 4 years ago

      As I am having guests this holiday season, your suggestions are very helpful. I love rice pilaf and am going to include this at every event. Thanks for the ideas.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Thanks moonlake. I like to find ways to eat healthier while still enjoying what I eat.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Nice healthier ideas for the holidays. I know we could use healthier foods than what we eat, so many calories in holiday meals. Voted up.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 4 years ago from USA

      Thank you Careermommy. Yogurt is a great substitute for butter since it still has the creamy texture and great flavor.

      Yes Ruchira, not only cake, but chocolate cake! It is so much healthier without the butter and eggs.

      Thanks Ishwaryaa. I think it is wonderful that your mother was able to find great tasting food that was also nutritious and low fat.

      Thanks Shampa for sharing and pinning and voting. Holiday recipes don't have to be fattening and heavy.

    • shampa sadhya profile image

      Shampa Sadhya 4 years ago from NEW DELHI, INDIA

      Voted up and useful!

      It is undoubtedly a good and useful article. Thanks for a helpful hub. Sharing and pinning!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An engaging hub with helpful ideas! I like tasty food with a healthy twist to them. My mom often made food during public holidays that are not only delicious but also ensured that they are nutritious & low-fat. Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Interesting. Voted up & shared

    • Ruchira profile image

      Ruchira 4 years ago from United States

      Seriously cake?

      gotta check it out.

      Thanks Shashta.

    • Careermommy profile image

      Tirralan Watkins 4 years ago from Los Angeles, CA

      These are great alternatives to a healthier holiday meal. I love the idea of substituting butter for yogurt on that delicious looking turkey!