Healthy Recipes for the Holiday Season

By Vivian El-Salawy on December 21, 2017

The holiday season is a time for good cooking – everything from homemade recipes for Christmas cookies that have been passed down for generations to some of your favorite Hanukkah dishes, such as latkes. However, the holiday season is also notorious for weight gain, because unfortunately, some of our favorite holiday foods are the fattiest foods too. How can you resist your favorite holiday dishes? Well, luckily – you don’t have to. Here are a few healthy recipes for the holiday season:

Low-Fat Eggnog
Food Network

Image via Pexels 

Eggnog is a controversial holiday favorite, but a holiday favorite nonetheless. Most of the holiday calories actually come from the drinks. Thinks about it: eggnog, hot chocolate, etc. You can cut back some of the calories with this recipe for low-fat eggnog, which uses nonfat milk, replaces an egg with egg yolk, and includes two large strips of orange and/or lemon zest. This recipe is only 90 calories per serving with no more than 2 grams of total fat.

Oven-Fried Latkes 
Food Network

Image via Pexels

If you haven’t had a latke before, you are missing out. Latkes are an incredibly popular holiday dish for Jewish households. They’re essentially fried, potato pancakes. All three of those words already sound incredibly unhealthy, but this recipe provides a great way to make crisp latkes without the calories, the fat, or even the hassle. Latkes are also a great dish for a big group of people. The adjusted recipe provided by Food Network replaces the egg with an egg white, including no-sugar added applesauce and reduced-fat sour cream. Additionally, baking them in the oven is a great way to keep the texture of the latkes without having to deep-fry them in a pan.

Sugar Cut-Out Cookies
Eating Well

Image via Pexels

These sugar cut-out cookies genuinely cut out some unhealthy ingredients, so that you can enjoy your fill of holiday treats without worrying too much about what they are going to do to you. In addition to that, they’re just plain cute. These healthy, sugar cut-out cookies use whole-wheat flour instead of regular white flour, and the only sugar used on the cookie is the sugar that’s sprinkled on top. The recipe replaces white sugar used to make the cookie with honey – a natural sweetener.

Cranberry Glazed Turkey Breast with Wild Rice Pilaf
Eating Well

Image via Pexels

This one sounds a bit more advanced than some of the previous recipes, but it’s not all that difficult. One of the biggest tips with serving turkey or chicken around the holiday season is to stick to white meat instead of dark meat, and this is a great recipe for you to do that with. This low-calorie, gluten-free, and low sodium meal has a great combination of flavors, with the cranberry glaze complimenting the turkey and being neutralized by the rice pilaf. The pilaf throws in some vegetables, with carrots and celery, and fresh sage for flavor. Instead of using sugar, the glaze uses pure maple syrup to give the cranberry glaze a unique sweetness and flavor. This recipe takes a couple of hours to prepare, so make sure that you leave the appropriate time for it to get done.

Thai Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
Cooking Light

Image via Pexels

Soups are often underestimated in cold weather, especially for families or larger parties, but they’re a great way to stay warm around the holiday season. Most importantly, you can utilize your leftover turkey in this soup, as it is completely unrecognizable behind the fresh ginger, Thai curry paste, and jalapeño. This recipe is the perfect way to spice up your traditional holiday meals. Best of all, it only takes thirty minutes to put together. With fresh cilantro, sugar snap peas, and lime – this soup gives you a fresh flavor to experience, all the while blending it with traditional curry flavors, such as cashews, scallions, coconut milk, curry powder, and red curry paste.

All in all, this holiday season, there are endless flavors and recipes to experiment with. There are ways to utilize your leftovers in new ways you have never tried before, and ways to cut back on some of the sugar and fat intake. This year doesn’t have to be a time where you stress over your weight gain. There are ways to replace unhealthy dishes with healthier ones that have the same tastes of the holidays. Portion control is another great way to let yourself take a break from healthy eating without going overboard on cookies or your favorite mac ‘n’ cheese recipe. These are only a few of the endless recipes available – consider exploring recipes outside of what you usually have on your table for a fresh holiday experience.

Vivian El-Salawy is a graduate of Florida State University with a B.A. in Editing, Writing, and Media with minors in Slavic (Russian) Studies and Communications. Alongside writing for Uloop News, WVFS Tallahassee 89.7 FM, and editing for the Good Life Community magazine, she is heavily involved with a Tau Beta Sigma, a national honorary sorority that promotes women in the band profession.

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