Holiday Recipe Ideas

Here are some holiday recipe ideas to make your feast a little healthier and lighter:

Consider these healthier appetizers:

  • Dips- when preparing holiday dips use a low fat Greek yogurt for the base- the extra protein will make it more satisfying and creamy with less fat.  You will find a variety of ideas on the Stoneyfield website:
  • Hummus is a great choice- high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats
  • Guacamole – fiber and healthy fats- raises HDL, lowers LDL, lowers triglycerides
  • With dips, choose vegetables or whole grain crackers instead of chips.
  • For cheese and crackers- make it a little healthier with whole grain crackers- Triscuits are a great choice.

Make your gravy a little healthier.  Instead of using white flour or corn starch to thicken gravy, use whole wheat flour or ground flaxseeds instead.

Make your holiday side dishes a bit healthier with these tips:

No holiday meal is complete without dessert. Here are a few tricks to pie crust healthier:

  • Substitute yogurt for some of the butter
  • Substitute some of the white flour for whole wheat flour
  • Substitute some or all of the flour for almond meal (since it has healthy fats, you won’t need to add anymore fat to it).
  • For the filling cut back on the amount of sugar suggested or use Stevia instead.  You can find a variety of healthier pie recipes on sites such as and

By Sheri Berger, RDN

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

By Sheri Berger, RDN

These days pumpkin spice is definitely the trend in food, beverages, candles, lotion, body wash, etc. – you name it!  The pumpkin spice food and beverage fad can be not so nice for your waistline if it is consumed with more sugar than spice!  A dose of fresh or canned pumpkin is an incredible source of vitamins A, B, and C as well as a great source of fiber, copper, and potassium.  When pumpkin is prepared in a healthy way, it can be part of a tasty and figure friendly feast.  To stay on top of your healthy weight goals during this splendid time of the year, steer clear of the pumpkin spice muffins, cookies, and pie and give these pumpkin treats a try:

Make a pumpkin soup.  Here are some healthy and easy recipes:
Simple Pumpkin Soup
Mayo Clinic Healthy Pumpkin Soup
Roasted Pumpkin Apple Soup

Roast your pumpkin seeds!  Pumpkin seeds are an excellent source of protein and omega 3 fatty acids.  A handful of pumpkin seeds and a piece of fruit (produce and protein) make an excellent late afternoon snack. See here for some creative ways to spice up your pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin Seed Recipe

Roast not only the seeds, but the pumpkin too.  Instructions here:
Roasted Pumpkin

Make it a healthy, energizing snack:
No Bake Pumpkin Bites

Make a homemade pumpkin spice latte.  Here is one of my favorite recipes (so much better than Starbucks):
Homemade Pumpkin Spice Latte

Make a pumpkin chili!  Here are some recipes:
Pumpkin Black Bean Chili 
Turkey Pumpkin Chili   
Pumpkin Chicken Chili     

Make a healthy pumpkin smoothie:
Pumpkin Oatmeal Shake 
Pumpkin Protein Smoothie (vegan)

Put it in your oatmeal!
Overnight Oats

I hope you find these tips helpful.  Have a great week!

Sheri Berger is a Registered Dietitian having completed her B.S. in Food/Nutrition & Dietetics and a dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago. Sheri has a diverse professional background that includes hospital and outpatient clinic support, preventative wellness programs, corporate wellness services, cardiovascular disease management, and working with seniors. Sheri enjoys engaging her clients in pursuit of their personal wellness goals and leading by example with her healthy lifestyle. Sheri has been certified in adult weight management since 2005. She belongs to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, California Dietetics Association, and the San Jose Peninsula District of the CDA. Sheri enjoys spending her free time with her husband and two daughters and she loves to run marathons.

Healthier Holiday Recipe Alternatives

By Katrina Vinson

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and every year I try to find recipes that are healthier alternatives.

Gravy is an absolute must at most dinner tables so why not try a recipe that is lighter, delicious, AND vegetarian (a bonus for the non-meat eating relatives). Now mash potatoes are by far my absolute favorite but I really wanted to cut back on the starchy dishes this year. So a great alternative is mashed cauliflower.  Cauliflower is also low in carbs option and is a cruciferous vegetable that is naturally high in fiber and B-vitamins. Enjoy!

Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy

1-2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 Onion, finely chopped
4 oz. mushrooms, finely chopped
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. chopped thyme
1 tsp. chopped sage
1 tsp. chopped rosemary
3 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2-3 c. vegetable stock


Heat olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until
beginning to soften. Stir in mushrooms and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add flour and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in 2 cups of vegetable stock and whisk to combine. Bring to simmer and cook for 5-10 minutes, until the flavors have melded and the mixture has thickened
slightly. If the mixture is too thick, gradually add more vegetable stock.

Serve warm.

Mashed Cauliflower
2 medium heads cauliflower, florets removed
6 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/3 c. milk
kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Chopped chives, for garnish
Butter, for serving

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook until tender, 10 minutes. Drain well, pressing with paper towels or a clean dish towel to remove as much excess water as possible.
2. Return to pot and mash cauliflower with a potato masher until smooth and no large chunks remain.
3. Stir in cream cheese and milk and season with salt and pepper and mash until completely combined and creamy. (Add a couple tablespoons more milk until you reach desired consistency.)
4. Garnish with chives, season with more pepper, and top with a pat of butter.

Funston, L. (2016). Mashed Cauliflower., recipes. Retrieved from cauliflower-
Miyashiro, L. (2016). Vegetarian Mushroom Gravy., recipes. Retrieved from gravy-recipe/

About the Author: 

Katrina received her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology and is a CPT through the American College of Sports Medicine. Katrina worked as a personal trainer for several years while putting herself through college. In addition to her 16 years experience in the health club and fitness industry, Katrina has competed in several sports including basketball, track & field, softball, and soccer at the collegiate level.