15 Healthy Holiday Recipes That Don't Compromise on Flavor
The holidays are the best time of the year. Food is always hearty and delicious, but as someone who struggled with binging in the past, I have a hard time finding a balance between enjoying myself during the holidays while taking care of my body. I try to make healthier versions of my favorite decadent dishes, so today I've compiled a list of the 15 best healthy holiday recipes that are equal parts delicious and nutritious.
1. Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies
Dessert is easily the best meal of the day. These cranberry white chocolate cookies have just enough sweetness to curb any craving. As a bonus, these gluten-free treats don't contain any added sugars, so you can even munch on these guys for an on-the-go breakfast. Score.
2. Pumpkin-Stuffed French Toast
Pumpkin isn't just for lattes, as it belongs in breakfast foods, too. This stuffed French toast is high in protein (thanks to the Greek yogurt) and packed with fall flavors from the pumpkin and cinnamon. I love topping my French toast with bananas to add some extra natural sweetness and vitamins.
3. Roasted Veggie Side Dish
Looking for a tasty side dish for your Christmas ham? I've got you. These roasted veggies are filling and cooked to total perfection. The sweet potatoes are a complex carbohydrate that'll fuel your body. Not to mention, the veggies add some fiber to regulate your blood sugar levels.
4. Vegan Carrot Cake
For all my vegan foodies out there: you can have your cake and eat it too. This carrot cake is moist and fluffy, and it's topped with a macadamia nut-infused frosting. This cake has a richer, more complex flavor than your average store-bought carrot cake.
5. Candied Almonds
There's nothing I love more than munching on some crunchy almonds. Why not cover them with a dusting of cinnamon and sugar to make them a little more interesting? Sure, these bad boys might have some added sugar, but you can also substitute it for a sugar of your choice. Not to mention, almonds are a superfood, so you're getting a ton of nutrients.
6. Vegan Gingerbread Granola
You might think that granola is a healthy snack, but sadly I'm here to inform you that a ton of companies pump additives into their granola. Control what's in your granola by making your own. This gingerbread granola recipe is already great, with deep, rich flavors from the molasses, but what I love about it the most is that you can customize it as you please.
7. Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese
One of the more savory healthy holiday recipes, this mac and cheese uses butternut squash to sneak in some additional fiber. Mac and cheese is, sadly, not the healthiest of comfort foods. But this recipe makes it healthier for you. The puree is super creamy and doesn't alter the flavor, which makes for a cheesy dream.
8. 2-Ingredient Applesauce
Instead of snacking on some processed, sugary foods, try this applesauce recipe. The best part? Apples and cinnamon are the only two ingredients you'll need for this. That way, you know you won't crash from the sugar before Christmas dinner.
9. Vegan Eggnog
Eggnog is a classic drink. However, this beverage is not vegan-friendly due to its raw eggs and cream. There's even a risk of getting salmonella after indulging in this creamy drink. Alter this traditional beverage by making this plant-based version that is packed with healthy fats.
10. Cranberry Orange Bread Trail Mix
A twist on a holiday classic, this fresh, zesty trail mix is so much easier to make than baking an entire loaf. It's a perfect pick-me-up to bring along for when you're doing your holiday shopping.
11. Apple Cider Oatmeal
There's nothing more comforting than a warm bowl of oatmeal on a snowy morning. Why not upgrade your oatmeal with cinnamon apples to make for one that tastes like apple cider? This oatmeal is like having dessert for breakfast, except healthier.
12. Paleo Turkey Chili
A hearty bowl of chili never disappoints. Make it paleo, and you've got a dish that is packed with protein. Even if this chili recipe wasn't paleo, I'd reach for it over any other chili because the flavors are so potent and well-developed from simmering for an hour.
13. Baked Gingerbread Peppermint Donuts
Whoever says that donuts aren't healthy is misinformed. These donuts are not fried, but baked, so you're not eating copious amounts of oils and fats. They're super fluffy like mini cakes. The combination of the peppermint with the dark chocolate and gingerbread makes them super festive.
14. Chicken Soup
With bleak, cold winter days ahead, you're going to need something to keep you warm. There's no other dish that'll do be a better job than some good old chicken soup. The best part? It's made in a crock-pot, so it's easy to make in big bulks for your meal prep.
15. 3-Ingredient Hot Cocoa
This might just be one of the best healthy holiday recipes. Sipping on a steamy mug of hot cocoa on a snowy day is one of the best simple pleasures in life. Though I do love some instant hot chocolate now and then, make this dairy-free hot cocoa for a healthier version.
Making some healthy holiday recipes is not only a good way to maintain your health during the holiday season, but it's a great bonding activity with your loved ones. Gather around the stove and try out a new recipe or two. Or maybe invent your own and create your own holiday tradition.