18 Healthy Holiday Ingredient Swaps

Turkey, Ham, Leg of Lamb, Prime Rib and Other Meat Swaps

Avoid letting meat take center stage at your holiday meals. Offer a variety of dishes featuring whole grains, fruits and vegetables. When serving meat, substitute lean cuts such as turkey breast, pork loin and ham in place of fatty cuts such as prime rib.

Gravy Swap

Instead of whisking corn starch into meat juices or thickening gravy with a roux, add white wine to pan drippings and reduce for a rich concentration of flavors.

More: 10 Ways to Make Your Holiday Dinner Healthier

Mashed Potato Swaps

Swap the traditional bowl of mashed potatoes, loaded with whole milk and butter, for mashed potatoes made with almond milk or broth (chicken or vegetable). You can also substitute half of the white potatoes with steamed cauliflower. Mash and mix.

Sweet Potato and Yam Swaps

Most people make their holiday yams candied, topped with marshmallows or whipped into a frothy casserole with pineapple. Preserve the natural sweetness of these orange-colored spuds by swapping sugary sides for mashed yams accented with a bit of cinnamon and toasted pecans. Or, serve up roasted, caramelized sweet potatoes.

Cranberry Sauce Swap

Trade the canned jelly for a zesty sauce that takes just minutes to prepare in the food processor. Combine one package of fresh cranberries with a whole orange (cut into chunks), a dash of vanilla extract and a drizzle of honey. Pulse into a coarse chop. This is delicious on top of cottage cheese the next day.

More: The Health Benefits of Cranberries

Green Bean Casserole Swaps

Replace the green bean casserole, popularized by a well-known soup company, with saut?ed green beans garnished with almonds. Add a few other vegetable sides to the buffet and people won't even notice the soupy classic is missing.

  • Sautee Brussels sprouts with garlic and finish with lemon zest, grated Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.
  • A rustic roasted vegetable medley combines the best of the fall harvest. Combine chopped parsnips, beets, carrots, yams and rutabagas with a drizzle of olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper, and roast until golden brown.
  • Roast a head of garlic and use it to top veggies in place of butter.

More: 8 Tips to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain

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