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Everyone can agree on the best part of the holidays: food. Whether it’s fancy family dinners, party snacks, or decadent yuletide desserts, the holidays simply rock. But with so many delicious choices, it seems nearly impossible to eat during the holidays without completely busting the caloric bank.
Good news! There are plenty of websites and people out there who like you are looking for healthy alternatives this season, whether that’s healthier versions of holiday favorites or different choices entirely.
To help you get started, we’ve rounded up 33 healthy holiday recipes that you’ll definitely want to try:
1. Roasted Pork and Potatoes with Creamy Applesauce Piping hot roasts are an awesome dinner for a winter night. Why not try this one? The pork tenderloin is a lean meat choice, and the applesauce is a great substitute for fatty gravy. Plus the finished dish is elegant to boot.
2. Mushroom Wellington with Creamy Carrot Sauce Traditionally made with beef, this wellington is a vegetarian twist on a holiday classic. Serve it with bright carrot sauce for an impressive and eye-catching main course.
3. Roasted Cornish Hen with Pumpkin Seed Pesto Spice up your Thanksgiving spread with a rare but delicious meat. This Cornish hen recipe comes with an aromatic combination of pumpkin seeds and parsley pesto.
4. Roasted Fennel with Charred Tomatoes, Olives, and Pecorino This baked choice definitely has a gourmet zing to it. Plus it will add some Mediterranean flare to your dinner table. Try this one as a vegetable entrée or as a great holiday side for your turkey, chicken, or lamb main course.
5. Shrimp Scampi This holiday favorite usually requires large amounts of butter and garlic oil. Why not try this lighter, healthier version? It’s made with a small amount of olive oil, shallots, lemon juice, and your choice of brandy or sherry to cut calories without cutting taste.
6. Braised Lamb Shanks with Parsley-Mint Gremolata Lamb with mint is always a holiday favorite, so here’s a healthier twist It has less sodium and less fat, plus it goes fabulously with polenta, mashed potatoes, or risotto and broccoli rabe.
7. Roasted Chicken with Lemons and Thyme A roasted chicken makes a fantastic centerpiece to any holiday meal. Spice up your chicken with a delicious combination of thyme, lemon, and paprika for an entrée that looks just as good as it tastes.
8. Spinach Pie with Goat Cheese, Raisins, and Pine Nuts This dish makes a great vegetarian entrée. Plus it’s delicious. Now you can enjoy a hot, hearty meal packed with healthy ingredients: fresh spinach, olive oil, and crumbled goat cheese.
9. Polenta with Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables Who says that vegetables can’t be a main course? Try serving this tasty Mediterranean dish made with polenta, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, and red pepper seasoned to perfection. Cut all the vegetables a day early and refrigerate for the best results.
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10. Slim Green Bean Casserole This side dish is a holiday classic, and now you can enjoy the same savory, mushroom creaminess with 60% fewer calories and 80% less fat. Sounds good to me.
11. Winter Fruit Salad Both colorful and healthy, this holiday fruit salad will add a burst of color to any party buffet table covered in cookies. And it’s delicious too! Who wouldn’t love a crisp combo of pomegranate, orange, mango, and kiwi?
12. Curried Sweet Potato Puree This is another holiday favorite most calorie-counters think they have to live without. But sweet potatoes can in fact be a dairy-free dish if you just add almond milk. This particular recipe also comes with ginger, curry, and lime for a warm, ethnic taste that you’re sure to love.
13. Light Scalloped Potatoes with Roasted Chiles For many of us, the holidays mean potatoes, potatoes, and more potatoes. And with dishes like this you really can enjoy them with fewer calories. These scalloped potatoes have modest amounts of parmesan and cream plus a little extra kick of pepper.
14. Artichokes alla Romana Just because you’re going light this season doesn’t mean you can’t feel full. This side dish is filled with beautifully seasoned artichokes sure to fill you up and delight your taste buds all at once.
15. Lemon-Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan If you’re looking for a side that’s both healthy and elegant, asparagus is the way to go. Try this recipe to jazz up your spears with a little lemon juice and garlic and you can’t go wrong.
16. Whole Grain Apple Cranberry Stuffing What’s a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without stuffing? This recipe uses a whole-grain baguette, Granny Smith apples, and dried cranberries. Add a kick of cinnamon and sage for an amazing holiday smell that will fill your whole house.
17. Grapefruit-Mint Salad Why go for a boring green salad when you can whip up something both exciting and refreshing? Grapefruit and fresh mint come together in this recipe to make a fruit salad filled with healthy citrus and just enough sweet to balance out the tartness.
18. Low-Fat Eggnog This seasonal favorite is a staple of holiday parties, but what could be better than a slimmed-down version that’s just as delicious? The secret lies in the skim milk, but don’t worry! It still has lots of flavor with vanilla beans and bourbon.
19. Sweet and Spicy Snack Mix Chex mix may be a party go-to, but why not try a healthier yet still delicious alternative? Instead of peanuts and pretzels, this snack mix includes garbanzos and dried fruit coated with flavorful spice. It has less fat, less sodium, and plenty of fiber.
20. Avocado-Feta Dip We’re all looking for something tasty and elegant to take to our holiday parties, and dips are a great way to go. Try this low-fat avocado and feta dip that’s both delicious and festively green. It goes great with vegetables and toasted bread.
21. Homemade Hummus Another classic healthy choice, hummus also makes a great dip to serve at holiday parties with crisp vegetables. Skip the store-bought tubs and try this easy recipe with only 10 minutes of prep time, fresh garlic, and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
22. Baked Coconut Shrimp Another party pleaser, these tasty shrimps are baked instead of fried to cut down on calories. But they still have that wondrous coconut taste. This recipe also comes with a zesty dipping sauce.
23. Spicy Hoisin-Glazed Turkey Meatballs These bite-sized turkey meatballs are an awesome choice to take to a party. Plus this recipe is both low in calories and high in flavor with hoisin sauce, sesame oil, garlic, and even freshly squeezed orange juice.
24. Lighter Southern Deviled Eggs Another holiday favorite with less fat and fewer calories. These delicious deviled eggs use Greek yogurt to give you that savory, creamy goodness with a healthy flare.
25. Vegetarian Spinach-Walnut Pâté This appetizer is vegan approved and spreads exactly like pâté. It goes fabulously with crackers and freshly chopped vegetables, and the pomegranate seeds burst in your mouth just like caviar. Sound fancy enough for you?
26. Apple-Cinnamon Bread Pudding This Christmas classic doesn’t have to be on your blacklist. Check out this low-fat, low-calorie version of bread pudding that’s filled with plenty of hearty apple goodness.
27. Peppermint Parfaits Even in the dead of winter, enjoying a frosty treat by an open fire is never a bad idea. This low-calorie dessert features a freshly made chocolate sauce to enjoy over low-fat vanilla ice cream. Top it with crushed peppermint and you’re golden.
28. Pear-Almond Tart Warm baked goods are something the health-conscious often have to skip this season, but this recipe can be your exception. Try this light crust and decadent pear-almond filling for a low-calorie indulgence everyone will enjoy.
29. White-Chocolate Holiday Bark If you’re looking for something sweet to share with friends and family, try this white-chocolate twist on bark. This recipe contains antioxidant-rich dried cranberries and almonds (both great for your heart) plus unsweetened coconut to slash calories and add fiber.
30. Lemon Bars With so much chocolate floating around this season, why not shake things up with a refreshing citrus treat? Lemon bars are already a low-fat dessert choice, and this version is even healthier with low sodium and delicious lemon zest.
31. Apple Spice Cake Finding a low-fat cake recipe can be a steep ask when most cakes call for more than two sticks of butter. But here’s a recipe you can risk. This cake uses low-fat buttermilk and vegetable oil to keep the calories at bay and cinnamon and cloves to add lots of flavor. It’s the perfect holiday dessert.
32. Buttermilk Pralines Traditional praline may be delicious, but this recipe has the same wonderful taste with less than half of the fat and calories. Plus you can store it in an airtight container for up to two weeks. Sounds like a great gift option.
33. Cheesecake with Fresh Strawberry Sauce Sometimes you just need to enjoy something incredible without the guilt, and this cheesecake is your chance. By using low-fat cream cheese and egg whites instead of butter, this recipe cuts down calories by a third and fat by more than half of your average cheesecake. Winning.
Eat hearty! And have a happy and healthy holiday.