Healthy Holiday Substitutions


November 26, 2013

The holidays are a special time to celebrate with your loved ones and enjoy the flavors of the season. Unfortunately, many holiday dishes are not only loaded in fat and calories but also lack nutrition. In order to make this holiday season an extra healthy and happy one, try swapping out some of the not-so-healthy traditional holiday ingredients with fresh produce. This way you are sure to get lots of nutrient-dense foods without affecting your waistline.

Eat This …

Mashed Cauliflower or Root Vegetables
Spaghetti Squash (Recipe Below)
Kale Chips
Veggie Sticks & Hummus
Water with Fresh Fruit (sliced lemons, oranges)
Mashed Avocado
Puréed Pumpkin (Recipe Below)
Homemade Apple Sauce (Recipe Below)
Banana Ice Cream (Recipe Below)
Fresh Fruit
Puréed Dried Fruit (dates, figs)
Shredded Coconut or Coconut Flour
Lettuce Wraps
Dark Chocolate Covered Strawberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice + soy milk to = 1 cup (sit 5 mins.)

  Instead of That …

Mashed White Potatoes
White Pasta
Crackers & Cheese
Sugary Beverages/Cocktails
Oil/Fat in Baking
Stick of Butter
Ice Cream
Canned Fruit in Heavy Syrup
Bread/Wraps for Sandwiches
Berry Pie/Streusel
Buttermilk (1 cup)


Mashed Cauliflower
Serves 4


    • 1 large head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
    • 1 cup of chicken or vegetable broth
    • Salt & pepper to taste
    • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Add cauliflower and broth to a large soup pot and tilt lid halfway to cover, leaving an opening for steam to escape.
  2. Cook on medium-high heat until boiling and reduce heat to medium for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft and easy to mash.
  3. Mash together, season with salt and pepper and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Spaghetti Squash/Puréed Pumpkin
Serves 4


1 large spaghetti squash


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut spaghetti squash in half long-ways. Scoop out seeds and place cut side down on a baking sheet.
  2. Cover baking sheet with 1 inch of water. Cook for 1 hour or until squash in soft, refilling water on baking sheet if necessary during cooking.
  3. Let squash cool for 10 minutes. Take a fork and scoop out squash in the form of spaghetti. Serve with your favorite pasta sauce or toppings.

NOTE: Pie pumpkins can be cooked the same way to be used as puréed pumpkin in recipes. 1 pie pumpkin equals about 1-2 cups of puréed pumpkin.

Homemade Crockpot Apple Sauce
Serves 4-6


    • 3 lbs. favorite apples (10-12 small apples)
    • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon or 2 cinnamon sticks (optional)
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  1. Core and peel apples. Cut cored apples into large wedges and combine all ingredients in a large crockpot.
  2. Cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

NOTE: If making applesauce to eat as is, you may leave skin on for extra fiber.

Banana Ice Cream
Serves 2


    • 2 frozen bananas (freeze old bananas so they don’t go to waste)
    • 2 tbsp. natural crunchy peanut butter, almond, or cashew butter
    • 2 tbsp. dark chocolate chips


  1. Cut frozen bananas into 1-inch slices. Place in food processor and blend until creamy – about 30 seconds. Add in nut butter and blend to mix. Top with dark chocolate chips and enjoy!
  2. Feel free to enjoy banana ice cream plain or add your own favorite toppings!

Kristen Johnson, RD, LDN, ACE-PT
Registered Dietitian
Mrs. Green’s

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