Tips and Tricks for Healthier Holiday Feasting


Well, ‘tis the season of overindulgence, but you don’t have to feel guilty, or suffer a gut bomb. There’s always a way to upgrade our meals!

As you sit down to prepare those traditional dishes this holiday season, consider sneaking in these delicious and nutritious tips from our friends Erin and Tiffani.

Both are registered dieticians, contributing writers for Clean Eating, and the dynamic duo behind, so hop on over to their website for more nutritional nuggets…Together, we can make each and every family meal both delicious AND a tad bit healthier. Enjoy, my friends! And happy holidays!



It’s All About the Sides
Erin Macdonald, RDN and Tiffani Bachus, RDN



The holidays are upon us again. Where has this year gone? Once summer ends, it’s like a sprint to the end of the year.

Nothing says the holidays more than the family gathered together around the dinner table. Three generations sitting together. Big platters of food being passed around. Stories being told, jokes being cracked, and a football game on the television in the background. And all the smells of comfort food. 

But, have you ever noticed that the typical holiday fare is pretty beige and bland? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and dinner rolls all lack color. The same old army-green green beans year after year. Yes, the cranberry sauce adds a pop of color to the table, but where are all of the other colorful seasonal veggies and fruit?

Our goal every year is to tweak tried-and-true recipes and introduce new ones that not only inject a ton of flavor to the family meal, but also sneak in some serious nutrition. Here are our Tips and Tricks to a healthier holiday feast (for us, it’s all about the side dishes):

  • Start with a Seasonal Salad - Skip the boring iceberg lettuce salad with ranch dressing and go for baby arugula, roasted root vegetables and add in some dried fruit and nuts for flavor, sweetness, and crunch, not to mention a touch of fiber. Pro tip: We always put something sweet into all of our savory recipes.
  • Sauce is the Boss! Ditch the bottled salad dressing and whip up your own yummy vinaigrette following this easy recipe: 1 part extra virgin olive oil to 1 part acid (flavored vinegar, citrus juice), salt, pepper, and plenty of fresh herbs. Whisk together and pour over the salad. Voila! Pro tip: Add some kind of acid to every savory dish because acid makes flavors “pop”. For an added pop of Vitamin C, soak two pieces of dried mango overnight in water.  Remove from water, put in a blender and give it a whirl. Add to vinaigrette and enjoy!
  • Swap Out Bread Stuffing for Roasted Vegetable Stuffing - Punch up the color by using roasted butternut squash, rainbow carrots and cauliflower as the base for your stuffing. Add in a generous handful of herbs for flavor and dried fruit as a natural sweetener with your favorite dried fruit (we’re partial to dried apricots and cherries. Apricots are a good source of Vitamin E and Potassium, while cherries are little antioxidant bombs rich with Vitamin C). Finish with some chopped pecans, walnuts, or almonds for crunch, and you have yourself a serious new contender for favorite holiday dish!
  • Green Beans with Personality! Liven up those green beans by (1) not overcooking them (sauté them in some olive oil with sliced shallots, salt, and pepper) and (2) add something sweet and crunchy, like Mariani’s Nuts & Cherries. Done!
  • Finish the Meal with a Decadent Dessert - (Just don’t tell them it’s healthy!) Our mini pumpkin custards (think pumpkin pie without the crust) are a huge hit every year, and yes, you can top them with some crushed graham crackers and a dollop of good vanilla bean ice cream.  If chocolate is your jam, then our dark chocolate avocado mousse (naturally sweetened with Medjool dates for added fiber) is the perfect finish to your holiday meal.


See?  Told you they had delicious ideas on how we can add a bit of nutrition to our holidays!