Our favorite holiday recipes are often the ones that bring the most nostalgia. Perhaps it’s grandma’s apple pie, your mom’s scalloped potatoes, or your uncle’s steak tips. While there is a lot to be said for a little indulgence in your favorite comfort foods, it’s easy to tip the scales this time of year and lose track of your health goals.
Should you enjoy your holiday favorites? Of course. But if you want to find a healthy medium-ground, try some of the recipes offered here that are not only delicious but also packed with healthy ingredients. This way, you can have the best of both worlds – a nutrient-rich meal with some nostalgic treats mixed in.
Get 21 delicious holiday recipes here!
21 Healthy – And Yes, Delicious! – Recipes To Try This Holiday Season
Before we jump into the recipes, what exactly is considered healthy these days? There are so many diet fads that it’s often hard to track. Not to mention the fact that there seems to be solid research backing pretty much every diet, depending on how you look at it.
How do you sort through the noise?
When there is no agenda present, what most health professionals will agree on is that a healthy diet comes down to two things:
#1. A healthy diet includes foods that are nourishing to your cells and encompasses enough variety and pleasure that you can stick to it for the long run.
#2. A healthy diet is composed of real, high-quality, whole foods with limited processed foods and ingredients.
With that being said, I would add that in my years of working with people healing all kinds of ailments, cutting down on sugar as much as possible, as well as gluten, can have profound effects on health.
With that in mind, let’s dive into some delectable, delicious holiday recipes that you can feel good about.
#1 Stuffed Mushrooms
With just five ingredients, these simple stuff mushrooms will taste anything but simple. This recipe calls for Italian sausage, so make sure that when you’re in the store, you look for organic sausage free of nitrates and nitrites.
This is one app that you’ll want to make enough for seconds and likely thirds.
Recipe here: Five Ingredient Stuffed Mushrooms
#2 Prosciutto and Melon
Forma bit of a Mediterranean flair, add some prosciutto-wrapped melon to your appetizer lineup. This dish is incredibly easy to pull together (no cooking required), and it offers a light opener to the main attraction.
Be sure to look for organic prosciutto that has no nitrate or nitrites added.
Recipe here: Prosciutto and Melon
#3 Roasted Red Pepper Dip
Sneak some extra veggies into the day by preparing this tasty red pepper dip. Although it’s dairy-free, the raw cashews give it a creamy mouthfeel that replicates the rich texture of dairy-based alternatives.
You can serve this dip with chopped raw veggies or your favorite gluten-free crackers.
Recipe here: Roasted Red Pepper Dip
#4 Deviled Eggs
Eggs are considered the “perfect protein” due to their amino acid content and digestibility, making them an excellent appetizer to get your taste buds going without setting you off a blood sugar rollercoaster.
This particular recipe swaps out mayo for Greek yogurt, giving you a little extra protein punch. Feel free to add any additional spices to make the recipe yours.
Recipe here: Deviled Eggs
#5 Spiced Nuts
Spiced nuts are a perfect snack to have around the house during the holidays because they’re quick, tasty, and full of healthy fats. This particular recipe is sugar-free but packed with a blend of flavorful spices, including turmeric, cumin, garlic, paprika, and more. If you feel so inclined, you can add a touch of maple syrup or honey to the recipe, but you’ll get plenty of flavor without them.
Recipe here: Spiced Nuts
#6 Meatballs In A Sweet and Savory Sauce
While most meatballs contain breadcrumbs, this recipe omits the bread and dials up the seasonings for a flavorful gluten-free meatball alternative. The sweet and savory sauce is sweetened only with maple syrup, and you can switch out the soy sauce for tamari or coconut aminos.
Recipe here: Meatballs In A Sweet and Savory Sauce
Holiday Dinner Recipes
The main attraction of your holiday dinners must be show stoppers, which is why the below recipes are not only packed with nutritious ingredients, but they’re bursting with mouthwatering flavor.
#7 Classic Turkey Roast
No holiday season would be complete without a classic turkey dinner. This recipe by Paleo On The Go is AIP (autoimmune paleo), which means that each ingredient is carefully chosen to work for people with autoimmune diseases. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that around 23-50 million Americans have at least one autoimmune condition, which also means that even if you don’t struggle with autoimmunity, it’s very likely someone at your family holiday dinner table may.
Recipe here: Classic Turkey Roast
#8 Slower Cooker Ham
Have you ever tried to perfect a baked ham? This one can be just as tricky as turkey if you don’t know what you’re doing. That is unless you have a slow cooker.
Naturally sweetened with honey and orange juice, you’ll get that sweet and savory flavor we all know and love from a baked ham without any refined sugar or artificial ingredients.
Recipe here: Slow Cooker Ham
#9 Pot Roast
Here is another simple yet incredibly flavorful dinner option – slow cooker pot roast. This recipe by The Sophisticated Caveman omits the typical potato accompaniment and replaces it with carrots and parsnips, which offer more fiber and less net carbohydrates than white potatoes.
Recipe here: Paleo Pot Roast
#10 Sirloin With Chimichurri
Sirloin is a classic staple for the holidays; who doesn’t love a piece of juicy steak? This recipe includes chimichurri sauce, which not only offers a vibrant green addition to the table but gives your classic sirloin a hit of flavor that will certainly set it apart from your typical steak dish.
Not a fan of cilantro? You can skip the chimichurri and find another sauce that suits your style better.
Recipe here: Sirloin Steak with Chimichurri Sauce
Delicious Side Dishes
#11 Gravy (Gluten-Free)
Most people don’t realize that wheat flour is a key ingredient in most gravy, meaning the gravy you pour all over your holiday meal may be laced with gluten. But do you get the consistency and flavor of gravy without the gluten? Arrowroot flour.
This recipe by Delicious Meets Healthy is essential to any healthy holiday meal; your guests won’t have a clue that it’s gluten-free.
Recipe here: Gluten-Free Gravy
#12 Buttery Mashed Cauliflower
Mashed potatoes are a Thanksgiving staple, but most people don’t realize how easy it is to switch out potatoes for cauliflower. Truly, you’ll be amazed at how creamy, and satisfying cauliflower can be as a stand-in. Of course, it’s also a lot lighter on the stomach and much lower in carbs.
This recipe doesn’t hold back on the flavor; with plenty of butter, sour cream, and garlic, your taste buds will be delighted with this switch-out.
Recipe here: Buttery Mashed Cauliflower
#13 Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprouts
Get your greens and fiber in with these tasty lemon garlic brussels sprouts. A combination of citrus, umami, and sweetness, even the pickiest eaters will be pleased with this twist on a classic dish.
Recipe here: Lemon Garlic Brussels Sprouts
#14 Grain-Free (gluten-free) Stuffing
I know what you’re thinking – how in the world could a grain-free stuffing taste good? The stuffing is all about the bread! Believe it or not, 40 Aprons somehow managed to put together a flavorful stuffing that matches the mouthfeel you’re looking for without adding any grains.
Packed with veggies and seasonings, this stuffing recipe omits bread and adds almond flour in its place. Does it still brown on top? Yes. Does it still carry the flavor of all of the veggies and seasonings? Yes. Is it going to make you wonder why you ever bothered with the gluten-filled version of this recipe? Absolutely.
Recipe here: Grain-Free Stuffing
#15 Pumpkin Biscuits
There is something very special about the quintessential biscuit basket on a holiday table. You don’t bake up biscuits for any old dinner; biscuits are a treat reserved for the holidays. Of course, they’re also highly refined with white flour and sugar, which means that if you’re trying to go for a healthier dinner table, biscuits don’t typically make the cut.
Luckily, Fed and Fulfilled created a pumpkin biscuit recipe that not only omits grains entirely but centers around one of the most popular flavors of the season – pumpkin.
Pull these beauties out of the oven and slather on a layer of grass-fed butter, and your dinner guests won’t know what hit them.
Recipe here: Paleo Pumpkin Biscuits
#16 Turnip Au Gratin
Skip the potatoes once again in favor of a lower-carb alternative – turnips. Sure, turnips may not frequently appear on your grocery list, but there’s no time like the present to try something new, especially when they’re swimming in a delicious cheesy mixture.
Potatoes au gratin is a holiday favorite, and this recipe will provide the same carby mouthfeel that makes it a staple comfort food, with less than half the carbs you’ll find in the potato version.
Recipe here: Turnip Au Gratin
No holiday meal would be complete without a few dessert options. This, of course, is where things can get really dicey when you; ‘re looking for healthier options – especially ones that are low in sugar.
Luckily, some crafty chefs have taken the guesswork out of better-for-you options when it comes to holiday desserts.
#17 Pumpkin Spice Cake
This pumpkin spice cake takes your typical pumpkin pie and elevates it to a whole new level. Sweetened only with maple syrup and honey, you can feel good about the ingredients in this tasty, festive indulgence.
Recipe here: Pumpkin Spice Cake
#18 Sugar-Free Apple Crisp
The Sugar-Free Mom nailed this one with a delicious apple crisp that’s free of any added sugar. Where does the sweetness come from? The natural sugar in fruit, plus a touch of erythritol and stevia, two natural sugar alternatives
Recipe here: Sugar-Free Apple Crisp
#19 Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies
Sugar cookies are a holiday staple. Whether you’re decorating them yourself, with friends, or enjoying them plain and simple, there is something very special about putting on some holiday tunes and baking up a batch of sugar cookies.
Of course, the one obvious downside is right there in the name – sugar. These sugar cookie alternatives suggest Truvia (a stevia brand), in place of real sugar. That takes the sugar content down to one gram – pretty impressive.
You can also use the icing recipe included and add different (all-natural) food dyes if you want to make your cookies more colorful.
Recipe here: Sugar-Free Sugar Cookies
#20 Sugar-Free Thumbprint Cookies
If you’re going down the cookie route, you have to add in some thumbprint cookies. The Sugar-Free Mom nails it again in this recipe that offers stevia as a replacement for sugar.
Recipe here: Sugar-Free Thumbprint Cookies
#21 Sugar-Free Peppermint Bark
A holiday dessert table is not complete without some peppermint bark. By simply replacing your go-to sugar with Lily’s sugar (sweetened with erythritol and stevia), you get the same taste, same texture, and same satisfaction with zero added sugar.
This recipe calls for microwaving the chocolate, but for obvious reasons (hello, EMFs), I recommend heating it over the stove instead of using a microwave.
Recipe here: Sugar-Free Peppermint Bark
Enjoying the holidays doesn’t mean putting your health on the back burner. In fact, this time of year can give you even more reason to focus on your health and well-being as you bring appreciation to all the wonderful things the holidays offer; friends, family, festivities, and whatever else the holidays mean for you.
It’s also an excellent time when you can positively influence the health of your loved ones by introducing them to foods and preparing dishes packed with both flavor and nutrients.
Of course, it’s also important that you make the most of this time of year and still enjoy a treat here and there, but there is no need to throw the towel in altogether.
Need some more recipe inspiration? I’ve got more recipes here!
Happy holidays to you and yours!