Skip to Main Content

15 Recipe Substitutions For Healthier Holiday Meals

The holiday season brings cheer, family, and a lot of cooking. Holiday breakfast, lunch, dinner, desserts, and snacks are all popular but are often made with added calories or foods that offer little nutritional value. Here are some great substitutions to help make your holiday meals a little healthier by reducing calories, fat or sugar and using more nutrient-dense foods.

  1. Use whole wheat flour instead of white flour, or a mixture of both. Whole wheat flour has more fiber, keeping you feeling full longer.
  2. Using vanilla or other flavored extracts for your sweet treats can allow you to cut back on the amount of sugar you would normally use.
  3. For a dose of healthy fat try pureed avocado instead of butter. This works best in savory dishes.
  4. When baking, swap your butter or oil for unsweetened applesauce to reduce fat and add fiber.
  5. If your recipe calls for beans, go for dried instead of canned to save up to 200 mg of sodium per serving.
  6. Use sweet potatoes instead of white, or both, when making au gratin potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A and calcium.
  7. Use herbs or lemon juice instead of salt to add flavor to your recipes.
  8. Instead of sour cream, try low fat or non-fat Greek yogurt. This reduces the fat content, but also adds a serving of lean protein.
  9. Serving your pie a la mode? Use frozen yogurt instead of ice cream for a lower fat treat.
  10. Make mashed cauliflower instead of mashed potatoes. You can cook and season them the same.
  11. If you’re serving dips, offer a variety of vegetables instead of bread or crackers.
  12. Puree fruit to use as filling or syrup for your baked goods. This can help you eliminate added sugar from your recipe.
  13. Make your own low sodium breadcrumbs by crushing a fiber-rich cereal and mixing it with herbs.
  14. If you’re making cocktails, save up to 100 calories by using seltzer water instead of juices. You can also squeeze fresh lemon, lime or oranges into your drink for added flavor.
  15. Of course, steaming foods instead of boiling them retains more nutrients, while baking instead of frying prevents adding fat.
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team
CHI Health Food and Nutrition Services Team

These blogs are written by members of the CHI Health Nutrition Services team.

Related Articles

Know When to Say When: Alcohol and Your Liver

APR 02, 2024

The liver normally breaks down alcohol, but if the amount of alcohol consumed exceeds the liver's ability to break it down, toxins can build up to cause liver damage over time.

Read More

Solve Snoring without the Mask

MAR 01, 2024

An innovative device is helping snorers get a good night’s rest and reducing their risk of health issues – all without the need of a sleep mask or cpap.

Read More

10 Ways to Ease Allergy Symptoms

FEB 15, 2024

Starting as early as February and persisting through October, seasonal allergies can cause a variety of annoying symptoms.

Read More