Happy Holidays! If you’re anything like us, we’re looking forward to gathering around the table with our loved ones for the feast of the year. Sometimes, especially around the holidays, our bodies (and souls, let’s be honest) crave an unspeakable amount of sinfully delicious dishes. While it’s okay to enjoy some of these things in moderation, it’s good to have a gameplan for the precautionary swaps that allow us to enjoy the flavors of the season without interfering with our health goals.

We recently shared our 5 Healthy Holiday Sides. Have you seen it? It’s filled with easy and delicious recipes, all of which would make delicious side dishes for any festive feast. However, if you’re looking for a more in-depth swap guide, we”ll tackle that here.

This time, we’ve focused on making the swaps that won’t take away from the holiday flavors and will still satisfy you and your guests. Check out a few of our easy and healthy holiday swap suggestions:


01 Swap chips and dip for raw vegetables and Greek yogurt dip.

Start with those holiday appetizers. With so much of the meal left to come, why waste your calories on dips made with full-fat sour cream? Substituting low-fat or nonfat plain Greek yogurt or nonfat sour cream with regular sour cream you can minimize some of those extra calories.

02 Start with a broth-based soup.

By starting your meal with a low-calorie broth-based soup you’re helping yourself by getting rid of that super hungry, tummy growling feeling. You’re satisfying yourself just enough so you don’t overeat during the actual meal. There’s a study that states that starting your meal with a broth-based soup helps you to feel full faster and lose more weight! Try these: Miso Soup with Clams and Spinach, Slow Cooker French Onion, or Wild Mushroom Soup.

03 Sneak vegetables into traditional side items.

A lot of times during the holidays, side dishes are sinfully packed with calories. One way to cut back on these added empty calories is by using vegetables as the base instead of potatoes, rice or pasta. Try this recipe for Mashed Cauliflower.

04 Trade a piece of pecan pie for a cup of pecan crumble.

It’s hard to resist holiday desserts from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. However, swapping one small piece of pecan pie for a fresh apple pecan crumble will make you feel a bit better (and maybe even help your pants fit a little looser). If you decide you can”t resist the pie, skip on eating the crust–that’s where most of the fat lurks.

05 Fill your plate with more white meat than dark.

While both cuts of meat are a great source of lean protein and rich in various vitamins and minerals, choosing white meat may be more beneficial to your overall health. White meat provides more protein, less fat and calories, and is the better source of B vitamins, magnesium and niacin compared to it’s darker counterpart. If you prefer the taste of dark meat, try chopping both cuts of meat to minimize some of those extra calories from fat. Or, skip the sugar-filled glaze on your ham and keep it simple.

Planning your menu ahead of time with the right holiday ingredients can make all of the difference. The trick is to cut down on calories, sugar, fat, and preservatives without compromising flavor, so you end up with healthy food you enjoy!

Read next:

Walker’s Tips for Portion Control at Social Gatherings

Fall Roasting Guide for RA

Fall Roasting Guide for Psoriasis

Fall Roasting Guide for MS

Don’t let Chronic Illness Steal The Joy of the Holiday Season

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