Encouraging your family to eat healthy during the holidays doesn’t mean they have to give up their favorite foods—you can easily lighten up your recipes without losing flavor. To help eliminate some of the holiday cooking chaos, start testing recipes now so you know exactly what does—and doesn’t—work. Here are some tips and simple substitutions you can make for a healthier holiday season.

  • Replace lasagna noodles with thin layers of zucchini to lower the carbs while also adding a serving of vegetables and vitamin C.
  • Opt for lean turkey for quiches, casseroles, stuffing, or lasagna for a healthier source of protein.
  • Blend mushrooms into lean ground meats to stretch the meat and save money. Mushrooms add nutrients like vitamin D, potassium, b-vitamins, and antioxidants. Try blending one half of a pound to one pound of mushrooms in your meatballs or casseroles.
  • Substitute rice for grated cauliflower as a lower calorie, low carb and gluten-free ingredient in your rice stuffing.
  • Puree or mashed cauliflower is a perfect stand-in for mashed potatoes. Try the Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower recipe below.

Creamy Garlic Mashed Cauliflower

Serves 6

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 5.3 ounces Meijer Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons Country Crock® Original Spread
  • 3 tablespoons Meijer grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon McCormick® Ground Black Pepper

Add cauliflower to pot of boiling water. Cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Remove florets from water. In a food processor, blend cooked cauliflower, yogurt, spread, parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, and pepper until smooth.

Nutrition Information (per ½ cup serving): 87 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 4mg cholesterol, 208mg sodium, 6g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 6g protein

Recipe from Chef Maribel Alchin, MBA, RD, LDN, Meijer Healthy Living Advisor


Holiday Favorite: Instead Of: Use: Save Approximately:
Mashed Potatoes Heavy cream and butter True Goodness™ by Meijer™ low sodium Chicken  Broth and olive oil 40 calories
Dips & Casseroles Regular sour cream Plain nonfat Greek yogurt 5g fat per 2 tbsp. substituted
Gravies & Sauces Heavy cream Blend evaporated 2% milk 21g fat per ¼ cup substituted
Stuffing White bread True Goodness™ by Meijer™ Bulgur & Quinoa mix, wild rice blend, or whole-grain pilaf or whole wheat bread cubes 120mg sodium per ¼ cup dry wild rice substitute for 1 slice white bread


Source: Adapted from Meijer More for a Healthier You 2015 November/December booklet

Lighten Up Your Sides

Holiday meals aren’t the same without our favorite savory side dishes. Serve your guests their holiday favorites with a healthier and lighter twist that still holds flavor.

Easy Baking Swaps

Impress your guests with delectable holiday desserts that are perfect for cookie exchanges, school parties and family get-togethers using better-for-you ingredients substitutions. Here are some healthy swaps to enhance the flavor, texture, and nutrition of your baked goods.


Instead Of: Use:
1 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup whole wheat flour minus 1 tablespoon oil called for in recipe. Increase liquid by 1-2 tablespoons of ½ cup white + ½ cup whole wheat flour or 1 cup bean puree.
Sugar Reduce amount by ½ to 1/3 of the original amount by using no more than ¼ cup added sweetener (sugar, honey, molasses) per cup of flour.
1 whole egg ¼ cup egg substitute or 2 egg whites, whipped.
½ to 1/3 cup oil Equal amount of applesauce or equal amount of baby food fruits
1 cup butter 1 cup pureed avocado or 1 cup blended reduced sodium canned beans, mashed (black beans, chickpeas, cannellini, great Northern, or any white bean). Great for brownies, cookies or chocolate cake.
Sour cream Plain, nonfat Greek yogurt (topping for baked potatoes, chip or vegetable dips or use for mayonnaise-based salads).
1 cup heavy cream 1 cup low-fat evaporated milk
½ cup shortening 1/3 cup vegetable oil


For recipe ideas and weekly meal plans click here.

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