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Holiday festivities inevitably mean plenty of food—but not always the most nutritious items. To keep your diet and health in check over the holidays, we’ve gathered our favorite healthy hacks from creative cooks in our own Juice Plus+ community.
Replace Mashed Potatoes with Cauliflower: Mashed potatoes are the ultimate comfort food. Fortunately, by making a simple healthy substitute, you can enjoy a similar taste and texture with a much lower calorie price – using cauliflower. Not only do you end up with less calories, but the benefits include a healthy dose of fiber, vitamins C, B6 and K, folate and manganese! Don’t be afraid to get creative by adding additional ingredients such as garlic, parsley, sage or rosemary.
Swap Full-Fat Dips For Yogurt-Based Dips: No holiday party is complete without a spread of snacks and dips. Reduce the fat content of your favorite dip by substituting low- or fat-free yogurt in recipes that call for sour cream or mayonnaise (your guests won’t know the difference!) Serve with fresh vegetables or whole grain crackers. The calorie savings from even a few small scoops will add up!
Do Away with Dairy: Whether it’s in the sweet potato casserole or pumpkin pie, dairy plays a huge role in most cold-weather comfort foods. But for people who are vegan, lactose intolerant or just opting for healthier eating, dairy poses a dietary threat. If you’re looking for healthy alternatives, coconut or almond milk provides a creamy, healthy substitute to any recipe that requires milk or cream as an ingredient. Plus it’s low in calories, rich in Vitamins A and E and electrolytes, and is a natural immune system booster. Our Facebook friend Jimmie Dacus Rea shared a dairy-free alternative to this traditional casserole, so you can feel indulgent without sacrificing a holiday staple.
Sweet Potato & Apple Baked Casserole
- 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced
- 2 apples, cored and sliced (peeling optional)
- Honey or maple syrup
- Lightly spray baking dish with oil
- Make alternating layers of apple slices and sweet potato slices
- Sprinkle each layer with cinnamon and honey (or your choice of sweetener)
- Top with chopped pecans
- Bake at 350 degrees until potatoes are tender.
- Bring dish to potluck and rake in the compliments!
Power Up Your Baked Goods. One big reason the health-conscious stay away from baked goods is white flour. It has very little nutritional value and is absorbed as a starch, which provides very little energy to our bodies. Try replacing white flour with almond flour, also called almond meal, which is packed with protein, fiber and healthy fats. Brittney Kuykendall shared a great recipe on our Facebook page that uses almond flour as a white flour substitute and brings together all our favorite holiday flavors.
Pumpkin Cranberry Muffins
- 1 ½ cups almond flour
- ¾ cup pumpkin puree
- 3 eggs
- ¼ cup dried walnuts or pecans
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
- 1 ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
- ¼ cup local honey (or less!)
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- Combine all ingredients
- Pour into lightly-greased muffin pan
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 min
- Makes 12 servings—plenty to share!
Do you have any healthy swaps you'd like to swap with us? Comment below!