Food traditions are a special part of the holiday experience and while you can mindfully enjoy your favorites, just as they are, there are also lots of great ways to improve the nutrient value of or lighten up some heavier traditional dishes.
This round-up features healthier twists on classic holiday foods — or dishes that just happen to be healthy — from my dietitian colleagues. I hope you enjoy them over the upcoming holidays!
Looking for a festive breakfast option? You’ll want to have this Cranberry Orange Cornbread Trifle created LiveBest by your side. Its layers of cranberries, pear, orange, yogurt, ginger, and cornbread make a trifle your guests will never forget! (This dish works as a great dessert as well!)
Want to start your day with cinnamon rolls? These BEST Healthier Cinnamon Rolls from Mama Knows Nutrition use white whole wheat flour, less sugar and butter, and Greek yogurt icing — yum!
I like this easy apple pie-inspired recipe with a dollop of whole milk Greek yogurt and a little maple syrup.
Appetizers and Salads
This Fall Harvest Salad Stuffed Acorn Squash created by Kara Lydon Nutrition makes for a festive addition to a holiday meal!
I love the colors of this Maple Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Lemon Tahini Sauce dish! Not only did Alena Menko make this vegan and gluten-free, but it’s so pretty too!
Brussel sprouts are a cancer fighting, energy boosting, fiber-rich food, making this Brussels Sprouts Salad from LiveBest a must-have at your holiday meal.
Mandy Enright has changed up the traditional stuffed mushrooms holiday appetizer by making her delicious Walnut Stuffed Mushrooms with Cheddar, Apple & Sage vegetarian and gluten-free.
Isn’t this Jalapeño Cranberry Dip from Leeanne Ray just so beautiful?!? I love its deep red color and can already taste the lovely combination of tart cranberries and rich cream cheese!
Lunch and Dinner
Isn’t this Roasted Salmon with Herbs and Pomegranate dish created by Jenny Shea Rawn just gorgeous?!? Based on its ingredients, I have no doubt it’ll be a delicious and festive addition to your holiday dinner.
I love this Healthier Green Bean Casserole with Almonds from It’s a Veg World After All. It’s a gluten-free and vegetarian twist on the traditional green bean casserole.
Searching for a tasty alternative to a potato side dish? Check out Lara Clevenger’s delicious Instant Pot Mashed Cauliflower recipe which is both Keto and gluten-free.
Green bean casserole is made healthy with this Low Carb Instant Pot Green Bean Casserole Recipe created by The Keto Queens.
These Sheetpan Maple Balsamic Roasted Vegetables created by Bucket List Tummy are full of flavor and come together quickly, making them a great addition to a holiday meal.
A holiday meal would not be complete with sweet potatoes and this Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans recipe from Jennifer Hunt Nutrition looks just devine.
Cranberry sauce is a holiday meal staple and this Low Sugar Orange-Ginger Cranberry Sauce from Jessica Levinson adds some zest and spice to the classic.
This Make-Ahead Corn Casserole From Scratch from The Oregon Dietician is a healthy and easy to make corn casserole, and makes for the best Thanksgiving side!
I appreciate a recipe that shows off a food’s flavor, and this two-ingredient Simple Sweet Potato Recipe from Mea Nutrition does just that.
Want to add more veggies to your holiday meal? This Cauliflower Stuffing from The Cheesy RD is a great way to do so.
This Roasted Sweet Potato and Banana Casserole created by To Taste is a great alternative to traditional sweet potato marshmallow bakes — it has a fraction of the sugar and unhealthy fats, but all the amazing flavor.
Looking for a dairy-free mac ‘n cheese recipe? Check out Rachel Hartley Nutrition’s Dairy Free Macaroni and Cheese, made by tossing pasta with an ultra creamy pumpkin, cashew and sage sauce, then baking it in the oven topped with tons of herb packed breadcrumbs.
Are you looking for a healthy alternative to traditional stuffing? This Quinoa Dressing with Mushrooms and Almonds from Healthy Ideas Place is gluten free, low in fat, and high in fiber and nutrients.
If you love sweet potato casserole, you won’t want to miss Liz’s Healthy Table’s Maple Pecan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes for Thanksgiving. This dish looks as delicious as it is appetizing.
Do you love homemade cranberry sauce? If so, you won’t want to miss Champagne Nutrition’s Naturally Sweetened Cranberry Sauce which cuts the sugar and celebrates the nutrition in fresh cranberries.
If adding veggies to your holiday meal is on your menu, you’ll want to make sure to include Mandy Enright’s Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Mash.
Give the traditional sweet potato casserole a healthy twist with The Meal Planning Method’s Healthier Sweet Potato Casserole which is low in fat and sugar, and is grain-free.
On a low carb diet? You can still enjoy stuffing thanks to Rebecca Bitzer & Associates’ Low Carb Stuffing recipe.
Dessert and Sweets
If you’re looking for a special twist on traditional cinnamon rolls, you’ll want to check out these delicious Cinnamon Roll Muffins with Orange Glaze created by KISS in the Kitchen. These rolls are bursting with the classic cinnamon roll flavor, but are filled with nourishing gluten-free ingredients and topped with a sweet orange glaze that’s perfect for the holidays!
Do you love Gingersnap cookies? If so, you’ll want to make Sound Bites Nutrition’s healthier version of the Traditional Gingersnaps made with canola oil (a healthy, monounsaturated fat) and a variety of spices rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Better Is The New Perfect’s No Added Sugar Fruit and Nut Bread (gluten-free) is such a fun and healthy twist on the traditional nutcake. I love that it’s made with nuts, dried fruit, and oat flour instead of all-purpose flour.
Ready to make your very own Vegan Pumpkin Pie Parfait? Thanks to this recipe from Rachel Hartley Nutrition you can!
Aren’t these Healthy Buckeye Chocolate Peanut Butter Balls from Mama Knows Nutrition so cute and festive? As an added bonus, they’re no-bake!
These healthy Stuffed Baked Apples from Hungry Hobby look so tasty and are easy to make, making them the perfect dessert when you want a treat.
Craving a special dessert? You’ll want to check out Cheerful Choices’ Customizable Dark Chocolate Avocado Truffles which you can make in under 20 minutes.
Ready to try dessert hummus? You can’t go wrong with Craving Something Healthy’s Pumpkin Pie Dessert Hummus which pairs perfectly with fresh fruit and gingersnap cookies.
The holidays would not be complete without this Holiday Spice Cake from Hoorah to Health made with oat milk, pecans, cinnamon and other yummy spices.
And if you’re just not feeling the cooking / baking vibes or ran out of time, I’ve been there. Here are some of my super-easy last-minute dessert recipes.