‘Tis the season of excess and naughty indulgences. However, you don’t have to ruin your diet. Here are 25 healthy holiday recipes that are deliciously seasonal and celebratory.
These healthy holiday recipes will feed your microbiome. They are chosen with a focus on gut health as well as flavor. Perfect for all your holiday parties.
Healthy Holiday Appies
Appetizers and party food are a big part of the holiday season. They are also a great way to feature homemade fermented foods! Perfect for a dose of probiotics.
- Pickled cocktail onions are easy to make and so much tastier than store-bought.
- Giardiniera is an Italian-style mixed vegetable pickle that is perfect with charcuterie.
- Skip buying fancy cheeses and make your own herb and garlic cheese spread. Bonus points for using homemade kefir or yogurt cheese!
- Homemade tzatziki is a naturally probiotic (yogurt!) and lower-in-fat dip. It’s a delicious and healthy alternative to the usual vegetable dips.
- Hummus is a staple at most parties. Did you know it’s also REALLY easy and affordable to make your own? Not only that, you get to avoid all the extra fat, preservatives, and whatever else might be in the tub of store-bought hummus.
- Salt-brined pickled eggs are high in protein and probiotic. They also make the most amazing deviled eggs.
- No charcuterie platter would be complete without an interesting sauce or two. This healthy apple chutney is refined sugar-free and full of flavor.
- Celebrate red, white, and green with a Caprese salad on a toothpick.
- Tofu misozuke is a flavorful and probiotic spread.
Load up on Vegetables
A healthy diet should be made up of about 50% fruits and vegetables. They are high in fiber and full of vitamins and minerals. Luckily there are many delicious recipes for salads and vegetable sides.
- Make a colorful rainbow coleslaw.
- Fermented Brussel sprouts are perfect for anyone who doesn’t typically enjoy them. Serve them sliced up with a drizzle of balsamic vinegar.
- This creamy carrot apple salad uses yogurt for a low-fat and probiotic dressing.
- A big green salad is a great way to pack in a ton of fresh vegetables.
- Saute greens, like kale, with a few cloves of finely diced garlic and a pinch of salt. It’s amazingly easy and delicious!
Prebiotic side dishes
Instead of reaching for white bread and fluffy mashed potatoes, try to include a few side dishes that are high in prebiotic.
Prebiotics are high fiber foods (whole grains or resistant starches) that feed the healthy bacteria in your digestive system. They also help regulate blood sugar levels and leave you feeling full and satisfied.
Here are a few side dishes that are packed with prebiotics:
- This vegan and gluten-free sourdough bread is high in fiber, rustic, and delicious.
- Oven-roasted Jerusalem artichokes (sunchokes) are a prebiotic alternative to potatoes.
- Did you know that cooked and cooled potatoes are prebiotic? It’s the perfect reason to enjoy a winter vegetable potato salad.
- Red wine braised lentils are delicious as a side dish or a vegan main.
- The onion family is a good source of prebiotics. Make garlicky leeks in olive oil.
- Oats are great prebiotic grain. Perfect for a healthy alternative to rice in risotto.
Naturally Sweet Treats
Sweet treats are a staple of the holiday season. However, they don’t have to be sugar-ladened and cloyingly sweet. Here are a few recipes that are naturally sweetened with fruit.
(Full disclosure, I’m not a big fan of alternative, low-cal sweeteners, which tend to be bad for gut health.)
- Frothy whipped eggnog is a favorite holiday treat. And it only takes 5 minutes to make!
- Mincemeat is a fruit-filled holiday staple that is most often eaten as a tart filling. However, I enjoy mincemeat as a delicious accompaniment to a cheese board or as a filling for a shortbread thumbprint cookie.
- These Grinch fruit kebabs are just made with fruit!
- Chocolate avocado mousse is a date-sweetened indulgence.
- This cream cheese rugelach has a delicious apple, raisin, and walnut filling.