If you’re looking for lighter and more nutrient-dense sides and desserts to pair with your traditional holiday must-haves, look no further! I’ve rounded up 21 healthy dishes perfect for your Thanksgiving or Christmas gathering!
Who’s ready for the holidays? I am! I’ve always been fond of the crisper weather, holiday aromas, and the warm and fuzzy feelings that come with families spending time together. My favorite holiday dishes are the dressing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, pecan pie, green bean casserole – okay, maybe all of it is my favorite! I do believe it is totally okay to indulge on occasion, and holidays are definitely one of those times. One meal or even 1 day for that matter isn’t going to make or break your health, so don’t stress over your food choices. Just eat to satisfaction and enjoy!
However, I have rounded up some healthier dishes to bring to the table to pack in a little extra protein, fiber, and nutrients into this coming holiday spread:
Here are a few of my holiday party tips:
Eat slowly and check in with your body – stop eating when you are satisfied, not when you feel like your stomach is about to explode!
Fill up on vegetables and protein first! By doing this, you ensure you still get the nutrients and fiber in your meal before filling up on the fatty and sugary foods.
Enjoy it! Savor your meal and enjoy every bite guilt-free. Know you can get back to making healthier food choices with your next meal. Life is all about balance!
So let’s get to the recipes…
Starters and Soups
Garlic Parmesan Smashed Brussel Sprouts by Emily Cooper, RD of sinfulnutrition.com. This can also double as a delicious side dish. Brussel sprouts are high in many nutrients including fiber, vitamin K, and vitamin C.
Easy Pumpkin Soup by Jessica Ivey, RD of www.jessicaiveyrdn.com. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber which is great for many things including supporting gut health, reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and supporting weight loss efforts. Vitamin a is good for maintaining eye health as we age.
Baked Brie With Pumpkin Butter and Walnuts by Jenny Shea Rawn, MS, MPH, RD. Jenny is a Registered Dietitian, nutrition communications consultant, and food blogger at My Cape Cod Kitchen. This baked brie with pumpkin butter would make an amazing savory and sweet appetizer to pair with fruit slices. Super easy to prepare, but something your guests will be talking about for weeks.
Turkey Veggie Platter by Amy Gorin, RD of www.amydgorin.com. This super cute turkey crudités platter makes it fun to munch on vegetables come Thanksgiving day. Plus, it’s a fun activity to have the kids help you with!
Warm Kale Salad with Roasted Butternut Squash by Cassidy Reeser of www.cozypeachkitchen.com. This warm kale salad is an easy vegan fall recipe that’s perfect for meal prep or as a holiday side dish.
Blueberry Pie Cheese Ball by Brittany Poulson, RD of www.yourchoicenutrition.com. With only five ingredients in this cheese ball, it’s not only delicious, but super simple and fun to make!
Maple Sweet Potato Bites by Brittany Poulson, RD of www.yourchoicenutrition.com. Naturally sweetened and rich in fiber, these tasty bites are easy, fun, and a delicious hors d’oeuvre for your guests!
Sweet Potato Walnut Balls by Jill Stern Weisenberger, RD: author of Prediabetes: a Complete Guide. These is the perfect high fiber, heart healthy appetizer or snack for any holiday spread.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Honey and Cinnamon by Tawnie Kroll, RD of www.krollscorner.com. These sound divine!
Hasselback Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Butter by Julie Andrews, RD of www.thegourmetrd.com. This dish almost looks too beautiful to eat!
Maple Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Pecans by Jennifer Hunt, RD of www.healthy-inspiration.com. These are great as leftovers served cold or on a salad of greens with a little goat cheese.
5 Ingredient Pomegranate-Glazed Carrots With Whipped Goat Cheese by Jamie Vespa, RD of www.dishingouthealth.com. This is a colorful and cooling side guaranteed to brighten up any dinner spread.
Balsamic Maple Rosemary Roasted Veggies by Sarah Schlichter, RD of www.bucketlisttummy.com. Roasted vegetables taste devine and pack a serious nutrition punch.
Healthy-ish Maple Cranberry Sauce by Sarah Gold, RD of www.sarahgoldrd.com. A seriously simple sauce packed with antioxidants and immune-boosting vitamins that will brighten up your holiday table.
Foolproof Instant Pot Turkey Tenderloin by Jessica Ivey, RD of www.jessicaiveyrdn.com. This moist turkey is a perfect protein option than can be cooked pretty quick using an Instant Pot.
Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash (Vegetarian) by Kara Lydon, RD of www.karalydon.com. Looking for a delicious vegetarian side dish for the holidays? You gotta try this easy Thanksgiving Stuffed Acorn Squash made with farro, chickpeas, kale and cranberries!
The Best Slow Cooker Turkey Breast + Easy Cider Gravy by Whitney Reist, RD of www.sweetcayenne.com. Don’t have an instant pot, but still need a easy and delicious turkey recipe – look no further, here it is!
Pecan Sweet Potato Pie (Dairy Free, Gluten Free, Vegan) from www.triadtowellness.com. This dessert is filled with wholesome ingredients and classic flavor combinations that are sure to please almost anyone who tries it.
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Apple Crumble (Gluten Free) by Sarah Schlichter, RD of www.bucketlisttummy.com. This is a healthy, high fiber, and delicious dessert option for you holiday gathering.
Simple Roasted Apples With Cinnamon Sugar by Amy Gorin, RD of www.amydgorin.com. This cinnamon sugar combo is a holiday must have. Cinnamon has been shown to possibly be helpful in lowering blood sugars for those with elevated blood sugars.
Pumpkin Almond Butter Blondies by Stephanie Hager, RD of Stephanie Lee Nutrition. How could these decadent Pumpkin Almond Butter Blondies be ooey-gooey delicious and healthy at the same time?! But trust me, they may taste naughty, but they’re twice as nice!
I hope you found something that you plan to create at your upcoming gathering!
What are your favorite traditional and non-traditional holiday eats? Let me know in the comments below!