The holidays mean stuffing your face with seasonal goodies. You only get a few months of pumpkin goodness, so you really can't miss any opportunities. Coming home for the holidays is a perpetual cycle of over-indulging, melting into the couch to recover, asking "what's for lunch?" and repeating it all over again.

From my experience, the Freshman 15 pales in comparison to the Thanksgiving-Christmas food coma. Read on to get the best of both worlds: delicious pumpkin concoctions with a healthy edge. 'Tis the season, don't deny yourself.

Pumpkin Chai Latte

tea, cake, beer, coffee
Samantha Chai

This healthy alternative to the calorie-packed cafe latte has the same great taste but a lighter feel. I tried this recipe, using unsweetened soy milk, honey, and cornstarch. These subs cut out extra fats and sugars. Even so, I promise you'll still impress your friends with your barista potential.

Pumpkin Muffins

chocolate, cookie
Samantha Chai

This healthy twist offers a guilt-free holiday breakfast. Because really, what would Christmas morning be without a decadent breakfast? I used soy milk, maple syrup, and skipped the salt using this recipe. I added walnuts and chia seeds to top these delicious, deceptively flavorful muffins.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Pancakes

Samantha Chai

With this recipe, pancakes no longer have to be a dessert pleasure or reserved for cheat days. Packed with seasonal spice but without the usual calorie count, this alternative definitely does not taste "healthy."

In the spirit of honesty, I did in fact try to go flourless in pursuit of the ultimate healthy pancake. I would not recommend using cooked steel cut oats (the picture below speaks for itself). Definitely use the flour; opting for coconut oil, maple syrup, and whole wheat flour will still give this breakfast classic a lighter feel.

Oops! (AKA our steel cut oats experiment.)

beef, steak
Samantha Chai

A holiday diet is not only a paradox but also no fun. Try out these subs in all your seasonal sweets: oil for butter, honey/maple syrup for sugar, and milk alternatives. Indulge in your favorites this season and emerge fulfilled and healthy!