Five Nutritionist-Approved Healthy Holiday Recipes

Feeling guilty about what’s on your plate can take away from the enjoyment of the holiday season. These five healthy holiday recipes will help cut some of the calories and fat in traditional dishes so you have more room for the good stuff.

Gingerbread Cookie Christmas Table Setting

5 Healthy Holiday Recipes

Creamed Spinach

Healthy Holiday Recipes

Spinach may be a nutrient-packed superfood, but flooding it with cream and butter negates all that awesomeness — to the tune of 200 calories and 12 grams of fat per ½ cup serving. Swapping out the heavy cream and butter for skim milk and Greek yogurt allows you to enjoy the flavor without the fat.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cup skim or unsweetened almond milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
  • ½ cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 16-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach, thawed, and drained


  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Sautee onion and garlic until soft.
  2. Reduce heat to low. Add milk and cheese. Whisk in salt, pepper, and nutmeg.
  3. Add yogurt and mix well until smooth. Fold in spinach. Cook until heated through.

Serves 8

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes

A ¾ cup serving of mashed potatoes with whole milk and butter adds 200 calories and 7 grams of fat. These white bean mashed potatoes are a low-fat, high-fiber alternative that boasts 6 grams of protein per serving — great if you have any vegans at the table.


  • 4 pounds potatoes, peeled, and cubed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 15-ounce cans white beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Place potato chunks in a large pot and fill with water until covered. Boil potatoes until tender and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté garlic in the oil until soft. Add beans, rosemary, and salt and pepper.
  3. Puree bean mixture using an immersion blender or food processor.
  4. Mash potatoes with a masher to the desired texture.
  5. Add bean mixture to potatoes and mix well, continuing to mash, if desired.

Serves 12


Christmas Yams

Thanks to a boatload of brown sugar, this holiday favorite adds a lot of extra calories you’d be better off saving for dessert. These sweet potato wedges are roasted in coconut oil and sweetened with a touch of maple syrup. With the natural flavor of the potatoes shining through, you won’t miss the sugar.


  • 4 large sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch wedges
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • Sea salt to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Toss sweet potato wedges with coconut oil. Spread in a baking pan and roast for about 35 minutes, tossing a few times to prevent sticking or burning. Potatoes will be done when they begin to brown on the outside and are tender on the inside.
  3. Toss cooked potatoes with maple syrup and sea salt.

Serves 8

Apple Pie

Caramel Apple Pie

Apple pie sounds downright wholesome, but with a slice of pie with the traditional recipe clocking in close to 400 calories (mostly from sugar and fat), it’s still dessert. Using honey or maple syrup instead of sugar lets you get away with using less and offers extra antioxidants. Try white whole wheat flour if making your own crust for added fiber without that “healthy dessert” taste. Want to get fancy? A lattice-top is great because less crust on your pie = less crust in your face. Besides, it’s so pretty, you won’t miss the extra calories.


  • 6 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1-2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 pie crusts


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Toss apple pieces with cinnamon until well mixed. Add maple syrup.
  3. Add flour as needed to thicken. Mix well.
  4. Pour apple mixture into one of the crusts.
  5. Slice the other crust into thin strips and arrange in a lattice pattern over the pie. Roll extra crust into a ball and freeze for later use.
  6. Bake until golden brown, about 1 hour. If edge of crust begins to burn, cover with foil.

Serves 8

Champagne Cocktail

Christmas Champagne Cocktail

Rather than ladling out a high calorie punch this season, why not try this festive champagne cocktail instead? This sparkly classic is a breeze to prepare and clocks in at just over 100 calories. Cheers!


  • 1 sugar cube
  • Angostura bitters
  • 4 ounces Champagne
  • Lemon twist


  1. Sprinkle bitters over sugar cube. Place in the bottom of a champagne flute.
  2. Fill flute with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist.

We  hope you enjoy these healthy holiday recipes and the rest of the holiday season!

By Jessica Cording, MS, RD, CDN, a registered dietitian and writer in NYC. She blogs at Keeping It Real Food. 

Images: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6




26 Responses to Five Nutritionist-Approved Healthy Holiday Recipes

  1. Brooke says:

    I am a bit of a health nut and am always looking for healthier versions of my favorite recipes. The apple pie and the creamed spinach look so good, especially. I will definitely have to try those!

    XO, Brooke

  2. Lindsay says:

    That champagne cocktail has my name written ALL over it!!

    Sugar & Something

  3. Shane says:

    These look far too scrumptious to be healthy! Great finds 🙂

  4. melrose elise says:

    Thanks for all the tips! who says you can’t be healthy during the holidays?!?!

  5. Jenny says:

    Wow, all of these look absolutely amazing!

    xoxo, Jenny

  6. Sara says:

    These look so good! Also, that gingerbread village? Adorable!

  7. Alex says:

    All of these look so good! Your pictures are gorgeous!

  8. Ruya says:

    The champagne cocktails are everything! I’m dying to try that one.


  9. Allie says:

    Love these ideas! Unsure if I could commit to a healthy mashed potatoes, I just love them the way they are too much! But I would love the champagne cocktail, who doesn’t like champagne?!

  10. Awesome recipes! I would have never thought to add white beans to potatoes! Sounds perfect!


  11. Sara Kate says:

    Ahhh I love creamed spinach!! SO tasty and it feels like home.

    Sara Kate Styling

  12. Cristina says:

    I’m very into nutrition and fueling my body in the best way possible! Love that you provided all these yummy recipes 🙂


  13. Jasmine says:

    Now I’m definitely not one to skip out on the sugar during the holidays, but even all these recipes sound amazing!

    Jasmine | The Sixth Disney Princess

  14. Hannah says:

    I have some food restrictions so these are great suggestions for me, thank you!!

  15. Those mashed potatoes and apple pie sound amazing! Just the pictures are making me hungry!

  16. Savannah says:

    Apple pie…yum! Love these recipes!

  17. Annaliese says:

    That apple pie recipe sounds delish!! I love a good holiday pie.

    xoxo A

  18. Nicole says:

    I’m all for any + every champagne drink…definitely throwing some lemon twists in my glasses this Christmas! x Nicole |

  19. Lauren says:

    These are great! My mom and I are trying dieting so I need to show her these 🙂

  20. Felice Raina says:

    These are all yummy. I love the apple pie and mashed potatoes idea ❤️

  21. Jordyn says:

    I’m all over that champagne cocktail, yum!

  22. Kayleigh says:

    What a great way to stay healthy during this holiday filled with sweets!

  23. Ashley says:

    These all look so delicious! Loving that they are healthier options!

    xo Ashley

  24. Lindsey says:

    These all look delicious!

  25. Courtney says:

    Those gingerbread houses are so beautiful! I plan to eat plenty of potatoes and salad!

  26. Allison says:

    Those white bean mashed “potatoes” look very yummy!

Comments are closed.