The thing about Thanksgiving and Christmas foods is that they aren’t good for you. Really at all. There are a ton of carbs, fats, sugars, and portion sizes are out of control! But we love them. And we would miss them if they were gone. Because Christmas just isn’t Christmas without mashed potatoes and cookies. So, with this reality in mind, we sought out ways to transform a few of our most loved holiday foods into healthier holiday foods. Most of them still aren’t fabulous for you, but they are better versions.
Mashed cauliflower doesn’t quite have the same flavor as potatoes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fabulous. It is. You could probably get away with substituting this once or twice throughout the holidays, as long as the “real” mashed potatoes still make an appearance.
- 1 head cauliflower
- 4 tbsp. butter
- 1/3 cup milk
- Set a large pot of water to boiling.
- Cut the florets off of a head of cauliflower and put into the boiling water.
- Boil for about 10-15 minutes or until soft. (just stick a fork in it to test. If it goes in easily...you are golden!)
- Drain the water off the cauliflower. (make sure to drain well) Leave cauliflower in pot and put back on the heat.
- Place butter and milk into the pan and allow to melt, stirring often.
- Take off heat and use a hand-held beater to beat the cauliflower adding additional butter and milk as desired.
- Use salt and pepper as desired.
For more information, head over to the Mashed Cauliflower full post.
This green bean casserole is even better than the original, for real. Sometimes you make healthier versions and people are okay with them because they’re better for you; this is not one of those recipes. The old version will not be missed in any way…AT ALL…people will beg you to bring your version to family gatherings. The fact that it is healthy can be your little secret.
- ** for fried onions **
- 1cup flour
- 1tsp salt
- 1tsp pepper
- 1tsp ground thyme
- 11/2 large onion, sliced
- ** for mushroom cream sauce **
- 1/2 large onion, diced
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 8oz pkg sliced mushrooms
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 lbs of fresh green beans (3-4 cups)
- Mix flour, salt, pepper, and thyme together.
- Add sliced onions to the mixture, toss to coat.
- Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil into frying pan on med-high heat.
- Add coated onions to the oil when it is hot. Cook for 4-5 minutes on each side.
- Take off the pan and place the fried onions on a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Pour 3 tablespoons olive oil into large sauce pan on medium heat.
- Add diced onions and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
- Add mushrooms, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook another 4 minutes.
- Add the sour cream and wine to the mushroom mixture. Stir and heat through.
- Toss the green beans with the 1/3 cup flour in large bowl (I use the one left from the onions).
- Stir the coated green beans and milk into the sour cream & wine mixture. Heat until bubbling.
- Pour the green beans into a greased casserole pan (I use a 9 by 13) and top with fried onions.
- Bake at 350 for about 40 - 50 minutes or until bubbling and golden on top.
For more info, head over to the full Green Bean Casserole tutorial.
Butternut cake is a perfect Thanksgiving dessert, and this version is sugar-free. With all the sugar people will be bringing for the big meal, everyone will appreciate a dessert that is a little better for you. This is an especially good option if you have people in the group with certain medical concerns.
- 2/3 c. olive oil
- 3/4 c. maple syrup (use local, or real!)
- 3 eggs
- 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt
- 1 3/4 cups of flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 3/4 tablespoon nutmeg
- 1 cup cooked & mashed butternut squash (or can of pumpkin puree)
- Turn the oven to 350 degrees.
- Beat the oil and syrup together.
- Add eggs and yogurt,beat well.
- Stir the flour, baking soda, and baking powder in. Stir gently.
- Add spices and squash. Stir just until mixed.
- Spray (or line with parchment paper) a 9inch pan.
- Pour the batter into the pan.
- Bake 40-45 min.
- 1 soft 8 ounce package of cream cheese
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Beat the ingredients together until smooth and fluffy.
For more information and tips, head over to the Butternut Squash Cake post.
This cheesecake is gluten-free, important for many people! Make this for those people in your life on special diets as a way of letting them know you thought about them and wanted them to feel included. Everyone else will love it, too!
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 3/4 cup soft butter
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1-8oz package cream cheese
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tsp lemon peel
- 2 tab lemon juice
- Cream butter and brown sugar together, stir in oatmeal.
- Line 8 by 8 inch square pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
- Press oatmeal mixture into square pan.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 12 minutes. Cool for 5 minutes.
- Beat cream cheese, egg, milk, honey, lemon juice, and lemon peel together.
- Pour into baked crust.
- Bake in 350 degree oven for 25 minutes or until center is set and bubbles appear.
- Cool a bit.
- Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
- Drizzle with honey before serving.
For more information and tips, head over to the Honey Cheesecake post.
These peanut butter cookies aren’t necessarily good for you, but they are a super simple cookie to make for the holidays. And the fact that they are only a few ingredients means you know exactly what’s in them.
- 1 egg
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup peanut butter
- Mix well together.
- Form into one inch balls and flatten with the bottom of a cup, dipped in sugar. Or flatten with a fork, dipped in sugar.
- Bake for 7-9 minutes at 375 degrees.
For more information, head over to the Peanut Butter Cookie full post.
Whipping your butter before serving it, and adding interesting flavors, will encourage people to eat less of it and enjoy it more. This simple concept will mean fewer calories are consumed and everyone feels better at the end of the day. We’ve included the recipe for Honey Whipped Butter, but you can find more add-in versions at the full Whipped Butter post.
- 1/2 quart whipping cream
- 3 tab. honey
- Whip the cream until thick. (about 5 minutes on stand mixer)
- Beat in add-ins.
- Put them in little dipping bowls and put into the fridge.
We would love links, recipes, and comments about YOUR favorite healthier holiday recipes. Isn’t everyone always looking for ways to eat holiday favorite while being aware of their health? We are!