Healthy Holiday Recipe Substitutions


Thanksgiving is all about food, but sometimes that food isn’t always the healthiest.

Start out your holiday in the negative by supporting a local charity and running a Turkey Day Run. If you are in the Greenville, SC area – we look forward to seeing you at the Trees Greenville Turkey Day 8K! Interested? Register here. 

Another way to stick with your healthy lifestyle is by bringing a healthier version of your favorite dish to your Thanksgiving dinner this year! Check out these 10 easy recipe substitutions that can help transform your favorite holiday recipes into healthier versions. The recipe substitutions below can be used for cooking or baking, so be sure to try the one, two or three substitutions that work best for your holiday recipe!

10 Healthy Holiday Recipe Swaps

  1. Cut the amount of sugar in half. Does your dessert or cranberry sauce recipe call for 1 cup of sugar? Try adding 1/2 cup instead, I promise no one will even notice the difference.
  2. Half white and half whole wheat. If your recipe calls for all-purpose (white) flour only, try substituting some whole wheat flour for part of it. If it calls for 2 cups, try swapping one cup all-purpose flour for one cup of whole wheat flour to add in fiber and ease digestion.
  3. Look for reduced fat dairy. Dairy products (milk, cheese) contain saturated fats, which the American Heart Association recommends we consume in moderation. To keep the saturated fat in your recipe moderate, try substituting skim or 1% milk and part skim or 2% cheese in lieu of whole milk and cheeses. You will cut back on the calories in your dish as well!
  4. Switch out the sour cream. Dips are a popular appetizer dish on Thanksgiving, and many call for sour cream. If your favorite recipe is one of them, try switching the sour cream out for the same amount of nonfat Greek yogurt instead.  You will cut back on the saturated (bad) fat and calories, while also giving your dip a protein boost! Check out these other easy substitutions from Siggi’s yogurt.
  5.  Go for low sodium broth. Reduce the salt in your gravy by choosing low sodium broth or bouillon instead.
  6.  Opt for olive or avocado oil. Have you noticed that butter is a common ingredient in traditional Thanksgiving recipes? Try using olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter to sauté your green beans or roast your potatoes. This will keep the saturated fat content low and the healthy fats high.
  7. Lighten up your mashed potatoes. Instead of heavy cream, which is high in saturated fat and calories, try this: for every 1 cup of heavy cream in the recipe, substitute 2/3 cup skim milk and 1/3 cup olive oil instead.
  8. Try white meat turkey sausage in your stuffing. Be sure to look for the 97/3 lean ground turkey to decrease the number of calories and the level of saturated fats in your dish. The turkey sausage has the same texture as pork and it tastes so good your guests won’t have a clue that you have health-ified this dish! Check out my Long Grain & Wild Rice Rosemary Stuffing with Chicken & Mushroom recipe.
  9. Leave the frying pan in the cabinet. Roasting, baking, steaming, grilling, braising and sautéing can keep the flavor high and the calories low. Try these cooking methods for your holiday recipe instead of frying which can add additional calories, but not necessarily a ton of flavor.
  10. Say NO to trans fats! Many recipes call for prepared foods such as pie crusts and frostings, which often times can contain trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs). PHOs raise your bad or LDL cholesterol, and contribute to heart disease. The USDA recognizes this risk and plans to eliminate partially hydrogenated oils in our food supply within the next 3 years, but until then we recommend reading the ingredients on prepared foods to ensure they do not contain PHO’s.

Want to know how to start your New Years Resolution NOW? Contact me for more information on special holiday pricing.

One thought on “Healthy Holiday Recipe Substitutions

Leave a Reply