The holiday season is a time for traditions, all the way down to the food on the table. If you want to have a healthier holiday season but your family is depending on you to make that family-favorite casserole or apple pie, don’t disappoint them by changing the menu.
Making simple substitutions in your family’s favorite recipes can make your holiday dishes healthier without sacrificing flavor.
Here’s our guide to ingredient substitutions you can use to make healthier holiday dishes.
Use: Canadian bacon, turkey bacon, smoked turkey or prosciutto
Use: Rolled oats or crushed bran cereal
Not: Bread crumbs
Use: Applesauce for half of the butter, shortening or oil the recipe calls for
Not: Butter, margarine, shortening or oil in baked goods
Use: Pureed avocado
Not: Butter (Generally one cup of avocado puree per one cup of butter works)
Use: Fat-free or low-fat cream cheese or low-fat cottage cheese pureed until smooth
Not: Full-fat cream cheese
Use: One can of drained and rinsed black beans in brownie recipes
Not: Flour (Use one can of beans for every cup of flour)
Use: Extra-lean or lean ground beef, ground chicken or ground turkey
Not: Ground beef
Use: Arugula, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, spinach or watercress
Not: Iceberg lettuce
Use: Whole-wheat pasta or rice pasta
Not: Enriched, white pasta
Use: Zucchini noodles
Use: Turnip or cauliflower mash
Not: Mashed potatoes
Use: Lettuce leaves
Not: Tortilla wraps
Use: Flavored vinegars
Not: Salad dressing
Use: Fresh or frozen fruit
Not: Canned fruit
Use: Greek yogurt
Not: Sour cream
Use: Herb seasonings (garlic powder, celery seed or onion flakes)
Not: Seasoning salt, garlic salt, celery salt or onion salt
Use: One-half the amount of sugar the recipe calls for, plus add vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon
Not: The full amount of sugar the recipe calls for
Use: Herbs, spices, citrus juices, vinegar
Not: Table salt
Some of these swaps may take some experimenting to get the ratio just right (particularly when baking), so try your recipe ahead of time to be sure you get it right.
Help keep those extra holiday pounds at bay by making these simple substitutions in your favorite family recipes.