Healthy Holiday Recipes

Apple Dessert

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m mildly obsessed with health and nutrition. Eating well and taking care of my body is important to me. That being said, holiday season food is my kryptonite. If I let myself, I can single-handedly finish off the basket of rolls at Thanksgiving and don’t get me started on the Christmas cookies. It’s a problem.

In an attempt to save the bread basket, I like to prepare a few “healthy” dishes each year—so that if I indulge in them, I won’t feel quite as bad. If you can relate to this feeling, read on for a few of my favorite healthy holiday recipes. Having a few healthy alternatives available and practicing self-control will lead to a delicious holiday season—without the food-hangover the next morning.

Chestnut Soup

This creamy, delicious soup is high in protein and vitamin C and an excellent source of fiber and iron. So you can enjoy guilt-free. Be sure to purchase peeled chestnuts, not candied chestnuts which are used in baking.


-          One 7-8 ounce jar roasted chestnuts

-          2 cups vegetable stock (watch the sodium count when deciding what to buy)

-          1 onion, chopped

-          2 carrots, peeled and chopped

-          2 stalks of celery, chopped

-          1 cup whole milk

-          Salt and pepper, to taste


1.      Saute the onion in butter until soft. Add broth, chestnuts, carrots, and celery.

2.      Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes, or until carrots are soft.

3.      Let the soup cool, then blend or puree in food processor.

4.      Just before eating, whisk in milk, then reheat. Do not let the soup boil.

5.      Add a sprinkle of fresh or dried cranberries if you like.

Aunt Ellen’s Green Beans

This super simple recipe was introduced to me by my lovely (and also health-conscious) aunt. Substitute this baby for the green bean casserole and save yourself hundreds of calories.


-          1 lb fresh green beans

-          2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

-          2 Tablespoons whole-grain Dijon mustard (or your favorite tangy mustard)

-          Salt and pepper, to taste


1.      Trim green beans—a great task for little helpers.

2.      Fill a bowl with ice water, set to the side.

3.      Cook beans in a large pot of salted boiling water just until crisp-tender; about 3-4 minutes.

4.      Drain beans and transfer to ice water. Drain well in colander and pat dry.

5.      Heat oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat. Saute the green beans with mustard and salt and pepper to taste, stirring until heated through; about 4 minutes.

Apple Crumble Bars

This fabulous recipe was adapted from one of my favorite food bloggers, Chocolate Covered Katie. Forget the apple pie, these delicious bars are always a hit. Plus at about 120 calories a bar, you can afford to have two!


-          1.5 cup whole-wheat pastry flour (or white flour, spelt, or oat flour)

-          ½ teaspoon baking powder

-          ¼ teaspoon salt

-          ½ cup brown sugar

-          1 Stevia packet

-          1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

-          ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons cold vegan butter (I suggest Smart Balance Light for a low-cal version)

-          2 tablespoons nondairy milk (I like almond milk)

-          2 cups peeled, chopped apple

-          2 teaspoons cornstarch

-          3 tablespoons maple syrup

-          1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


1.      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.      In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, brown sugar, Stevia, cinnamon, and butter. Break the butter up well so that small crumbles form.

3.      Scoop 2/3 of the dough into a 4 x 7, oiled glass dish and press down firmly.

4.      In separate bowl, stir together remaining ingredients.

5.      Layer the apple mixture on the dough in the dish. Top with the remainder of the dough and press down slightly.

6.      Bake for 45 minutes.

7.      Store uncovered for a crispy crust. If you prefer a soft crust, cover completely with saran wrap.

Enjoy the holiday season, one bite at a time!

Guest author, Maggie, truly is a self-described health nut and loves cooking up delicious healthy alternatives to traditional foods. Outside of the kitchen, Maggie is a writer for a discount socks supplier, specializing in athletic socks —which come in handy for her other passions, running and biking!

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