Health-Friendly Holiday Food Substitutes

eggnogGetting overstuffed during holiday meals may sound fun in theory, but in practice it’s not the best way to handle all of those large family dinners.

The holidays are a time when it pays off to be mindful of not only how much you’re eating, but what you’re eating as well.

Unhealthy ingredients can hide in even the classic holiday recipes. If you want to get the most enjoyment out of your holiday, keep off the stress—and pounds—by swapping out some not-so-good ingredients with healthier alternatives.

Here are 5 health-friendly holiday food substitutes to try:

Unsweetened Applesauce

You can swap in unsweetened applesauce for oil, butter, and sugar, making it a go-to substitute for all those delicious cookie or sweat bread recipes. You get the tasty flavor of apple without the added fat or sugar of what you’re swapping out. Yum!

Avocado Puree

This makes a great substitute for butter in recipes for baked goods, such as fudge brownies or dark chocolate flavorings. It has a subtle flavor and lends itself well to the texture of something like brownies. Additionally, you can substitute avocado puree for mayonnaise. Whether it’s spread on a sandwich or added to something like egg salad, avocado is the healthier way to go.

Rolled Oats

These make a great substitute for breadcrumbs. They’re a simple, easy-breezy way to work in some whole grain while cutting back on the added sodium and unhealthy carbs most breadcrumbs bring to a meal.

Fruit Purees

Although we covered this with the unsweetened applesauce, purees made from pumpkin and something like prune butter are a great substitute for butter, shortening, and margarines. This can add a new dimension of flavor to your cakes, cookies, and brownies this holiday season—while cutting half the normal amount of fat.

Sweet Potatoes

Instead of the usual heaping pile of mashed potatoes, swap out the regular potatoes for sweet potatoes. These lend their unique, sweet flavor to an otherwise bland, traditional side dish without sacrificing flavor—or begging for loads of salt and butter!

Once you’ve got your health-friendly food substitutes at the ready for your holiday meals, we figured you’d love some actual recipes to try out.

Here are 2 stellar seasonal recipes perfect for this winter:

  1. If you’re short on time for the big dinner, try this Fennel and Cumin-Roasted Turkey Breast with Thyme Gravy
  2. And if you still need one more appetizer here is an amazing Chilled Avocado Soup recipe.

Upgrade your menu for a healthier holiday by swapping out the bad for the good. You won’t regret it!

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