Posts Tagged ‘Healthier Holiday foods’


Are you trying to eat healthier this holiday season but having problems?  These ideas may help you to make a few changes that can add up over the holidays.

  • Plan ahead – This includes making menus and shopping. You can usually do some of the prep ahead of time such as chopping and cutting up vegetables.  You may want to cook your meat a day ahead, slice, refrigerate, and then reheat before ready to serve.  Be sure to check temperatures of meat:  145°F for beef, pork, lamb or fish and 165°F for turkey or any kind of poultry.
  • Start with a good Breakfast, whether you are having the party at your house or attending one. Ideas for a quick breakfast include:
    • overnight oatmeal with toppings (fruit dried or fresh, nuts, cinnamon, cranberry sauce)
    • Frittata – use cut up vegetables and/or meats ( You can make ahead as muffins and then freeze, unthaw, heat and eat).Breakfast vegetable muffins
    • Breakfast casserole – make one the night before and leave in the refrigerator. Cook in the morning and serve. (Just watch the cheese and processed meats so you don’t over indulge.)
    • Breakfast Burrito – Cook eggs and add a can of refried beans, salsa and cheese. Heat until bubbly and serve in a tortilla.
  • Get Your Family Involved. Check Pinterest for decorative veggie or fruit tray ideas.   Let your children or grandchildren decide which you will make, and then turn the process over to them.  (With younger children you may need to pre-chop for safety.) They will eat more veggies or fruit this way.  Examples:  Wreath, Santa, Tree, snowman, Words – like joy.   Vegetable Christmas tree
  • Side Dish Swap Out. Instead of the usual, try roasted vegetables; sweet potatoes with apple slices and dried or fresh cranberries, or mashed with crushed pineapple; reduce the amount of extras you put in mashed potatoes; instead of green bean casserole try a green beans and cranberry dish; and/or make your own cranberry sauce with less sugar and actual cranberries in it.
  • Make-over your drinks. Serve infused water with cranberries, raspberries, apple or your favorite fruit.  Mix seltzer water with cranberry juice or your favorite juice.  Serve unsweetened tea or coffee.  Remember alcoholic drinks are high in calories, so use caution.   water with raspberries
  • Bake-It Healthier. For baked goods swap out the oil or butter for unsweetened applesauce, mashed bananas, or other fruit baby food.  In pumpkin pie use non-fat evaporated milk and cut back the sugar by ¼ to 1/3.   Switch half the flour to whole grain flour.  Use low-fat yogurt in place of sour cream.  Try salt-free seasoning and spice mixes.
  • Sweet Switch Out. Serve a Trifle, baked apples with cinnamon, miniature desserts, or banana pudding parfait using ginger snaps, bananas and pudding.
  • Get Physically active. It helps us all feel better and helps limit the weight gain.
  • Wrap it Up with Food Safety. Be sure to follow food safety rules.  Wash your hands.  Follow the 2-hour rule.  Questions on meats and Food storage containersturkey – Call the USDA Meat/Poultry Hotline – 1-888-674-6854 available year around.
  • Enjoy the Holidays. Allow yourself to enjoy the Holidays!  Plan some time to enjoy the things you enjoy doing during the Holidays.

Author:  Pat Brinkman, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fayette County.

Reviewer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.


Brinkman, P. (2015).  Modifying a Recipe to be Healthier.  Available at https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/HYG-5543

Food Safety Information. (2018). Available at https://www.foodsafety.gov/

Pinterest. (2018). Holiday Veggie Trays.  Available at https://www.pinterest.com/search/pins/?rs=ac&len=2&q=holiday%20veggie%20trays%20christmas&eq=Holiday%20veggie%20trays&etslf=14631&term_meta[]=holiday%7Cautocomplete%7C4&term_meta[]=veggie%7Cautocomplete%7C4&term_meta[]=trays%7Cautocomplete%7C4&term_meta[]=christmas%7Cautocomplete%7C4

USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline:  Available at https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/programs-and-services/contact-centers/usda-meat-and-poultry-hotline

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