Healthy Holidays to You!

Healthy Soup

Healthy SoupHealthy Holidays to You!

That delightful period of festivities from holiday dinners through elegant New Year’s brunches can play havoc with even the best of dietary intentions, including your sincere commitment to nutritionally sound plant-based eating. While the average weight gain during the holidays is just one pound, it’s a pound that doesn’t leave, and keeps accumulating over the years, leading the National Institutes of Health to cite it as a major contributor to obesity later in life.

We offer these delicious substitutions featuring nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods…and our best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.


At holiday dinners, feast on this:           Not that:
Porcini mushroom gravy Gravy made with flour, oil and fat drippings


Cauliflower sweet potato mash Mashed potatoes made with butter and whole milk
Creamy kale and mushroom casserole Stuffing made with breadcrumbs and butter
Nutty green bean casserole with mushrooms, onions and almonds Green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup, topped with fried onions
Roasted carrots, Brussels sprouts, parsnips and red grapes, drizzled with olive oil Creamed spinach
Fresh cranberries Cranberry mold with pecans
Sweet potato and lentil soup with shiitake mushrooms Lobster bisque
Sweet potato casserole with herbed mushroom stuffing Candied yams
Loaded vegan potato skins Fried latkes
Ambrosia Traditional ambrosia with mayonnaise dressing
Arugula and pear salad Traditional Caesar salad
Vegan sweet potato Shepherd’s Pie Honey glazed ham
Sun-dried tomato lentil loaf Blue-cheese stuffed pork chops
Brown rice Roll basket
Spaghetti Alfredo Pasta
Cocoa truffles Trifle
Unbaked fudgy brownies Chocolate brownies
Raspberry apple crumble Taffy or candied apples
Stovetop rice pudding Christmas pudding
At New Year’s Eve parties, toast to this: Not that:
Crudites with creamy, dairy-free cucumber dip Pork kabobs
Crispy buffalo cauliflower bites Buffalo wings
Garlic roasted potatoes Fried vegetable straws
Baked spinach quesadillas Chips with melted cheese dip
Pear or apple slices with a scoop of goat cheese or hummus Apple, cheddar and bacon bites
Steamed artichokes with garlic lemon ‘aioli’ Stuffed artichokes
Shrimp cocktail Cheese log
Baked sweet potato fries made with non-stick spray, garlic and onion powder French fries
Edamame Mozzarella sticks
Spiced apple cider Eggnog
5-oz. glass of red wine or champagne – no more than 2 servings a week Cocktails containing juices, sugar, simple syrups, sweet vermouth, liqueur


Quick tips to make any recipe healthier, from Ornish Lifestyle Medicine:

  • Use flax meal and water as an egg replacer.
  • Saute and roast using vegetable broths, water or wine instead of butter or oil. For baking, use pureed fruits such as dates, prunes, bananas, pumpkin and apples in place of oil and sugar.
  • For dips and sauces, blend a cup of nondairy yogurt (soy or almond) with ¾ teaspoon of lemon juice to replace sour cream.
  • Add a cheesy, nutty flavor to foods with nutritional yeast flakes – packed with B vitamins, fiber and protein, but without any fat and cholesterol.

Finally, don’t skip meals during the day in an attempt to save your calories for a party or dinner that night, but eat when you’re hungry, advises the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The intense hunger that results from missed meals may trigger overeating later on. Listen to your body’s cues and honor your hunger when it occurs so that you’ll crave smaller bites at party time.

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